Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (Audio Book)

Title: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Narrator: David Barnes

Publisher: Librivox

First Published: 1886

Running time: 3 hrs 8 min 25 sec

Format: Audio Book

Rating: 7/10

Everyone has a dark side. Dr Jekyll has discovered the ultimate drug; a chemical that can turn him into something else. Suddenly, he can unleash his deepest cruelties in the guise of the sinister Hyde. Transforming himself at will, he roams the streets of fog-bound
London as his monstrous alter-ego. It seems he is master of his fate. It seems he is in complete control. But soon he will discover that his double life comes at a hideous price.

This is very cleverly written in such a way that the reader never knows more than Jekyll's friend, a lawyer named Richard Enfield; although it is told in the third person he is our representative within the tale. By using this ploy, Stevenson manages to keep the tension notched right up and spins the yarn so skillfully that, had the story not been so well-known, the revelations would be shocking (oh, how I wish I could have read this when it was first published!).

What is most surprising, at least to this modern reader, is the description of Mr. Edward Hyde - in film adaptations, he is continually depicted as a hulking figure of powerful physical presence, which highlights how little regard the film industry has typically shown to classic literature.

This is one of those tingling tales that should be told round the fire on a cold winter's evening, with the wind howling and the rain lashing...


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