Fifty Shades of Grey

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 April, 2012, 12:00am


Fifty Shades of Grey
by E.L. James (read by Becca Battoe)
Random House (audiobook)

I was going to review the e-book version of E.L. James' first novel: after all, this steamy slice of flesh and fantasy was a hit online long before publishers and Hollywood snapped James up. Then I heard Becca Battoe's narration and was hooked - like a minnow on a sharp, rusty nail. It's painful listening, but such sweet sorrow. Anastasia Steele is a young, ambitious and virginal student with the sort of name even Jackie Collins would reject. A journalist on the student newspaper, she is asked to interview 'some mega-industrialist I've never heard of'. This is Christian Grey. Grey by name, Christian is an S&M god by nature. Having swapped some profound nonsense about art, they embark on an affair (rather than a plot) involving riding crops, masking tape, domination, submission and, er, love? The audiobook is worth a download because of Battoe's extraordinarily deadened LA narration. She reads James' breathless, libidinous but stolid prose with all the enthusiasm of someone reciting a shopping list she doesn't understand. It is silly, but for good fun it can't be beaten. Unless, perhaps, you're Christian Grey.