The Timothy Dalton Chat Group Presents
Excerpts of Timothy's Audio Book Narrations.
I would like to give all Timothy's fans and the readers of this website a very warm welcome to our excerpts of Timothy's Audio Book Narrations page, for which I would like to say a very special thank you to Stephanie who is the Associate Publicist at Macmillan Audio for very kindly getting in touch and then sending along three MP3 files of Timothy narrating some of Benjamin Black's latest release Elegy for April, along with Christine Falls and The Silver Swan. This is really exciting because this is the first time we have ever had Timothy narrating on our website!! I would also like to thank my husband Wayne who gave me a lot of help with putting the audio clips of Timothy on this page and getting them to play. This page will now be here always so I hope that you will enjoy it. :-) Love Deb.
Audio Clip Narrated by Timothy Dalton followed by a Review of Benjamin Black's Latest Release called Elegy For April.
Listen here for Timothy narrating Elegy for April.
Dalton Dazzles With This Reading - Audio Review by Gail Cooke, (TX, USA) April 17, 2010.
Perhaps best known to American audiences for his portrayals of James Bond in The Living Daylights and License to Kill, Timothy Dalton is a classically trained Shakespearean actor blessed with a resonant, deep voice. His enunciation is, of course, beyond perfection as are the nuances he brings to his audio performance. Now, give him a Dublin based story to narrate and you believe you've been transported to Ireland. As in Christine Falls Dalton delivers one more award worthy reading.
The third Quirke mystery from Benjamin Black, a pseudonym for Booker-Prize winner John Banville, is set in 1950s Dublin and traces the adventures and misadventures of Quirke, an alcoholic who recently dried out in a rather unpleasant clinic. But now he's back in Dublin and we know what he wants, "....a smoky dive somewhere.....and a tumbler of Black Bush in his fist, that would be the thing."
However, his daughter's best friend, April Latimer, has gone missing and is feared dead. April is a doctor, the product of a well-to-do family that is not enthusiastic about assistance from Quirke. So, our hero turns to a policeman friend, Inspector Hackett, and the two set about solving the case.
As a native of Dublin Black evokes the essence of the city as few can, and as an extraordinary writer he mirrors gloom, hopelessness, almost any emotion in a single beautifully wrought sentence.
ELEGY FOR APRIL is not to be missed.
If you would like to purchase Timothy narrating Elegy for April or find out further information about it you will find this information on the following websites:
Amazon.com Elegy for April
Timothy narrating the audio clip Elegy for April © Copyright Macmillan Audio - April 2010. All Rights Reserved.
Elegy for April Review © Copyright Gail Cooke - April 2010. All Rights Reserved.
Timothy Dalton once more.
Audio Clip Narrated by Timothy Dalton followed by a Review of Benjamin Black's Christine Falls.
Listen here for Timothy narrating Christine Falls.
The Mysteries of the Dead by KATHRYN HARRISON, Published: March 25, 2007
John Banville has chosen Benjamin Black as the pen name for a project that may be his own guilty pleasure - a classic, hard-boiled crime novel. More than a seamless performance in fulfilling the demands of its genre, Christine Falls is executed with what feels like authorial delight.
Mainstream literary novels succeed or fail on the strength of characterization, but noir fiction is less concerned with building complex and believable characters than with creating a medium in which murder and mayhem can thrive. Place is essential to noir, character less so. While the voluptuous atmospheric flourishes of Christine Falls suggest how much fun Banville is having as Black, they also provide the book's center of gravity, the force that holds all the other elements together. Sometimes they make an entirely adequate cast seem little more than perfunctory.
Picture above is of Dublin Ireland. © Copyright Airninja.
The novel is set in a dank and fog-draped 1950s Dublin that oozes existential dread from its very mortar; even the walls are "thick with many coats of a bilious yellow stuff, glossy and glutinous, less like paint than crusted gruel." Inanimate objects suggest the life, albeit repellent, that people lack: the sheet used to cover a corpse has "a human feel, like a loose, chill cowl of bloodless skin"; the "curved arms" of a chair seem "to tighten their grip on" its occupant. A "smoke-dimmed" pub invites a clientele composed not so much of human beings as of props conveying decadence and ruin: "a large, florid woman in purple," swilling stout, her smile "gapped and tobacco-stained"; her companion, "lean as a greyhound, with colorless, flat, and somehow crusted hair."
Fittingly, for a story with so ambivalent a life spark, the main action in Christine Falls begins "long after midnight" in a morgue, in "the shadowy dark of the body room." The reluctant, brooding hero, playfully named Quirke, makes a career of performing autopsies. He prefers the dead to the living - they're less withholding and commendably docile - and as Black (also playfully named) observes: "In the pathology lab it was always night. This was one of the things Quirke liked about his job."
Yes, dark it is, with the very occasional "beam of sunlight falling slantways" from above, for the less-than-acute reader who might need to be reminded just how shadowy a tale he is about to enter. This is a world in which light itself behaves peculiarly, appearing "to vibrate minutely, a colorless, teeming mist." From the beginning, things are not as they appear. While making a cursory examination of the most recent arrival, a young woman whose toe tag bears the name Christine Falls, Quirke notices "the dark roots of her hair at forehead and temples: dead, and not even a real blonde." It's a small observation, meaningless to the plot, yet it demonstrates the pathologist's unreasonably idealistic nature. Quirke is offended by even so small and inconsequential a lie as coloring one's hair. His expectations are sufficiently high to ensure that he will always be disappointed.
Quirke - whose tough-guy veneer covers the wound left by a tragic loss - becomes an accidental detective when Christine Falls's corpse disappears before he has a chance to investigate the cause of her death. Missing bodies are problematic, of course, but more perplexing and ominous is the fact that Quirke’s adoptive brother, Mal - pay attention to the names - who is also a physician, has tampered with her death certificate. Did Falls die of a pulmonary embolism, as Mal has recorded? No, she was a fallen woman. The mistress of a powerful man, Christine Falls died in childbirth, a turn of events that would present less opportunity for intrigue today than it does in the rigidly Roman Catholic Ireland of the 1950s.
Delving into hidden places - not just squalid neighborhoods but parts of the body only a scalpel can reveal - Quirke's inquiry into Christine Falls's death and the fate of her illegitimate child draws him further and further into the underworld. He discovers the kind of sordid corruption that such a cynical character might have expected - were he not, under all his stylized defenses, a damaged romantic. "I've cut up a lot of corpses in my time," he proclaims in true hard-boiled style, "but I’ve never found the place where the soul might have been." Perhaps not, but he was still looking. Isn't cynicism the flip side of sentimentality?
The archetypal noir hero, Quirke is a loner, a man with acquaintances rather than friends. When he needs information, he trolls a familiarly depressive dive called McGonagle's, where he drinks a great deal but is only rarely too drunk to penetrate criminal intentions or defend himself when attacked. Sleuthing shows him a world in which everyone has his price, with greed and corruption so pervasive that the most admirable men are merely those who have farthest to fall.
Unfolding in tandem with the mystery surrounding the death of Christine Falls and the disappearance of her child is the slow striptease of Quirke’s past, which has left him in a dark place, drinking hard, fascinated by "the mute mysteriousness of the dead. Each corpse carried its unique secret." Of these, none are more surprising than the one his departed wife, Delia, was keeping.
Quirke's grief, the force that drives his dark interests, has him completely in its thrall. "When Delia died," he knows, "an instrument that he carried at his breast, one that had been keeping him aligned and synchronized with the rest of the world, had stopped suddenly and never started up again." Like most examples of sentimentality, this feels not only like ersatz emotion but a veil drawn before an absence of feeling.
Because Quirke and his supporting cast are types rather than fully realized characters, they're immune to the kind of analysis, or significance, imposed on a Moses Herzog or a Rabbit Angstrom or, for that matter, a Freddie Montgomery, the protagonist of John Banville's novel 'The Book of Evidence.' But it's hard to dismiss what emerges as a particularly insidious strain of misogyny in Christine Falls - insidious because it masquerades as Quirke's concern for the fate of unwed mothers and their babies. The injustice done Christine Falls is revealed; the movement of the novel is from darkness into light; men in positions of authority are shown to lack the very morals they profess to uphold. But these corrections don't compensate for the fact that this is a story in which women die, seemingly a punishment not only for their sexuality but also for their gender. Arguably, they die of being female. Even Mal, a celebrated obstetrician entrusted with countless female lives, has a smile, "more of an undertaker than that of a man whose profession it was to guide new life into the world."
This doesn't make Christine Falls a less interesting book. Quite the opposite: it adds a sinister fascination to the adventures of Dr. Quirke that will be offset or magnified in the future. Black has a sequel in the works - more than one.
If you would like to purchase Timothy narrating Christine Falls or find out further information about it you will find this information on the following websites:
Amazon.com Christine Falls
Timothy narrating the audio clip Christine Falls © Copyright Macmillan Audio - April 2010. All Rights Reserved.
Elegy for April Review © Copyright Kathryn Harrison New York Times - March 25, 2007.. All Rights Reserved.
Kathryn Harrison's most recent book is a novel, 'Envy.'
As per the agreement for using the photograph of Dublin Ireland Airninja has asked that people link their website to them so here it is:
Timothy Dalton again.
Audio Clip Narrated by Timothy Dalton followed by a Review of Benjamin Black's The Silver Swan.
Listen here for Timothy narrating The Silver Swan.
The Silver Swan Review by Marilyn Stasio - The New York Times.
"Crime fiction is a good way of addressing the question of evil," according to Banville, who has now written a sequel, The Silver Swan, to the story he told in Christine Falls. But the study of evil is surely also the provenance of other sorts of literature, so there must be more to it than that. Something to do, perhaps, with the format of the crime novel, a solid structure built on the implicit promise that evil, once detected, can be contained before it destroys the society that let it take root.
Such a job calls for an honorable protagonist - someone just like Quirke, professionally implausible as a "hotshot pathologist" at the Hospital of the Holy Family in 1950s Dublin (where he hardly ever shows up for work), but superbly suited to the role of sleuth by virtue of his "incurable curiosity." That unquiet and inquisitive mind, along with a sense of responsibility to the dead people he meets on his autopsy table, got Quirke beaten half to death in Christine Falls. The same misadventure also caused serious rifts in his close and complicated relationships with members of the socially prominent family into which he was adopted as a workhouse orphan - something it really helps to know before picking up The Silver Swan.
"There was another version of him," Black says of his attractively flawed hero, "a personality within a personality, malcontent, vindictive, ever ready to provoke." Given to masochistic guilt and remorse for those sins (real and imagined) he committed in Christine Falls, Quirke tries to perform a kind of social penance in The Silver Swan by indulging a former college classmate's wish to avoid having an autopsy performed on his beautiful young wife, who committed suicide by plunging naked off a pier into Dublin Bay. That kindness is quickly retracted, however, after Quirke examines the body and suspects she’s been murdered.
If Quirke's brooding Irish soul and independent code of ethics make him exactly the kind of troubled hero the genre loves, Black has given himself plot headaches by meddling with some techniques of the trade he mastered so brilliantly in Christine Falls. Departing from the convention of allowing the reader to follow the story from the detective's perspective, Black runs Quirke’s private investigation on a parallel track with the victim's own story, told in intimate flashbacks. Despite the depth and sensitivity of the storytelling, the device distances us from Quirke's investigations and diminishes the analytic intelligence of his viewpoint - which is, after all, an essential element in the appeal of the detective story.
In this melancholy second narrative, Deirdre Hunt emerges as a clever and ambitious girl, desperate to become her own woman. Her imagination awakened by a bogus spiritual healer, she claws her way out of the slums and adopts a professional name, Laura Swan, when she opens a fashionable beauty shop with a flashy business partner. But that louche bounder, Leslie White, is such a phony, with his studied airs and transparent line of seduction, that his astounding success with all manner and class of women - Quirke's rebellious daughter, Phoebe, among them - reduces these otherwise interesting characters to idiots.
Black also seems trapped by the complicated family saga and intricate personal relationships that were integral to the plot of Christine Falls. What's a writer to do with all these fascinating people, few of them strictly necessary in this new novel, but some too deliciously wicked to kill off? His answer - to cram as many of them as he can into Deirdre's story - makes for such contrived situations and coincidental events that the characters themselves feel compelled to protest.
Make no mistake, Black is a grand writer with a seductive style, and the dark, repressive world he makes of postwar Dublin - when there's no shortage of religious brothers to run the workhouses or nuns to operate the convent hospitals - goes a long way to explain why everyone in this morally claustrophobic world is so sex-mad. But the conventions of crime fiction provide structural security for any exploratory attack on the subject of evil (or sin, as Black's characters are more apt to define it), and failing to take full advantage of that freedom is like traveling all the way to Ireland and neglecting to visit either a church or a pub.
If you would like to purchase Timothy narrating The Silver Swan or find out further information about it you will find this information on the following websites:
Amazon.com The Silver Swan
The picture on the right of The Silver Swan Audio Clip and Review, above, is also of Dublin, Ireland.
Timothy narrating the audio clip The Silver Swan © Copyright Macmillan Audio - April 2010. All Rights Reserved.
Christine Falls Review © Copyright Marilyn Stasio - New York Times. All Rights Reserved.
Marilyn Stasio also writes the Crime column for the Book Review in the New York Times.
A Biography of Benjamin Black aka John Banville.
Benjamin Black aka John Banville.
Benjamin Black, the pen name of acclaimed novelist John Banville, is the author of Christine Falls and The Silver Swan. Christine Falls was nominated for both the Edgar Award and Macavity Award for Best Novel; both Christine Falls and Silver Swan were national bestsellers. Banville lives in Dublin.
A Biography of Benjamin Black aka John Banville © Copyright Amazon.com. All Rights Reserved.
Picture of Benjamin Black aka John Banville © Copyright Amazon.com. All Rights Reserved.