Flush

Virginia Woolf, read by Eileen Atkins. AudioGO, library edition, unabridged, three CDs, 3.75 hrs., $49.95 ISBN 978-1-4458-4609-5
Narrator Eileen Atkins turns in a pitch-perfect performance in this charming audio production of Woolf’s biography of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s spaniel, Flush. The story uses the dog—one of the most famous animals in literary history—as a lens for understanding the travails of his owner, the romantic story of her courtship and marriage to Robert Browning, and the class system of mid-19th-century British society. Atkins adopts the proper tender tones in describing the blossoming relationship between Flush and Elizabeth, who feeds him delicacies from her own hand, but changes her voice to depict Flush’s fury at being displaced by the interloper Robert. Atkins also beautifully captures the sense of freedom—not experienced since puppyhood—Flush feels when he’s set loose from the confining parlors of Wimpole Street and moved to the sunbaked streets of Italy with the newlyweds. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 12/24/2012
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