Spoken Word

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Wise Children

Read by Miriam Margoyles

Chivers, 10hrs 30mins, pounds 15.99

MIRIAM MARGOYLES's unmistakeable Christmas pudding of a voice needs the right vehicle to do it justice. , by Angela Carter, narrated as it is by a fruity ex-music hall trouper, could not be better suited. But there is much more to her performance than like meeting like. She switches mood with consummate skill as the muddled genealogies of the aristocratic Hazards and the plucky Chances are revealed. For all the absurdities and tragedies, this is a joyful celebration of a household of women.

All Points North

Read by Simon Armitage

Penguin, 3hrs, pounds 8.99

AS AN admirer of Simon Armitage's poetry, and having read rave reviews of this prose book, I lost no time in ordering the spoken word version. But on listening I was disappointed. Objectively, I can tell that it is a marvellous word picture of his own north country; that by noting dozens of trivial little details as he travels across the Pennines, he has created a pointilliste impression of the surface of lives which hints at deeps below. If this were poetry, it might pass muster. But Armitage's voice is a real problem: it is flat, downbeat and agonisingly soporific.

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