Monday, January 23, 2017

Dante's "Divine Comedy": Audiobook Review

"You are not a child anymore"
If you could sum up The Divine Comedy in three words, what would they be?
Inspiring, instructional, immersive

What did you like best about this story?
This encapsulates through a clever three part (!) layering the Tuscan verse of the original, the pilgrim Dante in deft translation, and the recollections of the poet Dante. It refreshes even for veteran readers key themes and characters, and it moves along with momentum.

What do the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
The tender but firm teaching of Beatrice, the dignified guidance of Virgil, the plaints of the lost, and the praise of the purged and saved souls, all are given nuanced texture. The music is aptly chosen, the sound effects are convincing, and the scope of the otherworld in this audio rendering are evoked dramatically, but soberly and sensibly, clear of unearned emotion

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The gasps as Dante sees Christ, his struggles to comprehend the Trinity, and the final scenes as his consciousness blurs with the Beatific Vision are portrayed convincingly. Not an easy feat, given the limitations inherent in even a BBC radio drama's compressed format.

Any additional comments?
The humanity of the quest and nimble explanations of how God's will is enacted in his creatures caught or liberated here by grace. love,and by choice earns respect. Whatever your own views on theodicy, this thoughtful presentation rewards reflection. A set of masterful and insightful performances allow us to enter into the mindset of eight hundred years ago. (Audible US 1/18/17)

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