George Eliot, read by Juliet Stevenson
This terrific recording of George Eliot’s enormous final novel restores a classic to us. Juliet Stevenson’s warm, intelligent voice lulls us out of our resistance to Eliot’s slow nineteenth-century pace, revealing anew the writer’s marvellous characterisation and her acute grasp of issues that still affect women.
Daniel Deronda is a patchy novel. One problem is the priggish hero, the Zionist sympathiser who later discovers that he is himself Jewish. The Jews Eliot creates are stereotypes; cunning, if warm-hearted, moneylenders like the extended Cohen family or high-minded religious zealots like the consumptive Mordecai.