Audiobooks

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The Independent Culture
Producer Julian Hale uses the two-hour, two-cassette set in a highly creative way in dramatising Icon's popular Beginners' introductions to key figures and big issues. Each of the first three titles - Buddhism For Beginners (with Saeed Jaffrey), Jung For Beginners (with Simon Callow) and Machiavelli For Beginners (with Derek Jacobi); all Icon Audio, pounds 9 .99 - is a compelling mix of biography, assessment, explanation and extracts.

But the real test comes with Postmodernism For Beginners (with Richard Appignanesi). "You have to be willing to join in the game," Michele Roberts says of the Postmodern novel. "Have your hand grabbed, be dragged into the maze, relax, tango, and be tickled". The tape, arch and ironical, works in the same way. "But how can Heisenberg be so sure about his uncertainty principle?" runs one aside. It's a more demanding listen than the others, but worth the effort to acquire a crude mental map of how Foucault and Fukuyama, cyberspace and counterfeit culture, relate. Don't despair if you think it's all meaningless twaddle, because the tape is sealed with a kiss. It concludes: "the only cure for Postmodernism is the incurable illness of romanticism".

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