Nicholas Rance is Senior Lecturer in English at Middlesex Polytechnic and author of The Historical Novel and Popular Politics in Nineteenth-Century England and Wilkie Collins and Other Sensation Novelists: Walking the Moral Hospital.
Gr 9 Up-Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of a man who discovered how to give his evil side the freedom of independence from his conscience is read with asperity by Ralph Cosham. The rising tide of fear that Stevenson evokes in his characters-from the storytelling gentlemen through whom the tale is narrated to Dr. Jekyll himself as he realizes Mr. Hyde's overwhelming power-is fortified by Cosham's straightforward delivery. There is no need for voicing or special sound effects since the pace of the reading keeps listeners as engaged as does the author's carefully scripted scenes and dialogues. For all collections, both library and classroom.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Stevenson's pioneering psychological thriller was released in 1886, but unlike 1883's Treasure Island and Kidnapped, also 1886, where the story is propelled through action, this tale is dominated by talk. The dreaded Edward Hyde remains an elusive character, appearing quite sparingly. Very little actually transpires, and the eventual solution to the mystery and the revelation of Hyde's true identity unfurl through Jekyll's first-person narrative related after his death. Despite its brief length, the familiar story moves slowly. Stevenson's prose, however, is crisp, lush, and a delight on audio. VERDICT Oscar-nominee Ian Holm acts the story rather than reads it, providing a virtuoso performance that's a treat for listeners. The novel's brevity makes it prime travel fodder or for playing aloud in a classroom to students. Nice price, too.-Mike Rogers, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.