the guardian Sat 17 January 2009
Yes, I too preferred the 1981 BBC TV version with Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder to last year's silly movie. The BBC's 1981 audio, read by Irons, unabridged and re-packaged, has been re-released, but for once I'm going to recommend this CSA Word abridgement simply because Jeremy Northam reads it so brilliantly. No crude Blanche/Samgrass caricatures, a heart-breaking Sebastian and beautiful flawed Julia, for once, sympathetic. JI is good, JN is the don.
the observer Sat 25 October 2008
It is curious that a novel about a group of deeply awful people should still fascinate. These Oxford wastrels - Sebastian Flyte, his ridiculous teddy bear and his effete hangers-on - are truly distasteful, yet the story enmeshes the listener. With the disintegration of the 'sinful' friendship between Sebastian and Charles, the destructive Catholicism in which the family is steeped leads inevitably to Sebastian's alcoholism. Elegantly structured, the story gradually forms a parable about the passing of an era. Jeremy Northam's narration brilliantly creates Waugh's self-parodying dialogue, but also allows the listener to feel the damage done to the outsider, Charles.