Although Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson grace the sleeve of this recording, and both their television dramatisation and the recently broadcast BBC Radio 4 adaptation are mentioned on the packaging, this is in fact a skilfully abridged reading of Olivia Manning's original text.
And what a triumph it is. Emilia Fox is an excellent reader (I look forward to hearing her read Lady Chatterley's Lover). She performs Harriet Pringle and Sophie to perfection, and her Yakimoff is quite brilliant.
Manning's fascinating and diverse cast of characters do make good television and radio, but her style and adventure (and sadness) are best served by her own prose and dialogue. I sincerely hope that Emilia Fox will record the other parts of this haunting trilogy, which I have long loved. Fortunes of War is without doubt a modern literary classic and this reading does it considerable justice.
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© 2008 AudioBooksReview
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