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Romeo and Juliet: A Novel cover art

Romeo and Juliet: A Novel

By: David Hewson
Narrated by: Richard Armitage
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Editor reviews

Editors Select, December 2016 - Just as Shakespeare borrowed from Arthur Brooke's The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet as a means to invent a unique dramatization of his own, author David Hewson uses this audio adaptation to explore and expand the various backstories of its characters - their grudges, fears, and motives - allowing previously minor characters to flourish and the stakes to reach an all new high. Actor Richard Armitage makes exhilarating choices in his narration: Juliet becomes a fierce heroine in the throes of an existential crisis; Romeo a soft-spoken emo poet; Mercutio a swaggering bad boy who'd be quite at home in a Guy Ritchie film; and Tybalt a slithering, blood-hungry goon. Taking Hewson's lead, Armitage is more than game to follow these characters to new and unexpected places. And, indeed, this story does not end quite like you'd expect. —Doug, Audible Editor

Summary

Exclusively written for Audible, only available in audio

"I think Romeo and Juliet is the greatest, most tragic love story ever told. What David Hewson did with this script is so exciting to me. I really love the fact that he followed avenues that Shakespeare suggested but didn't necessarily detail in depth. If you want to immerse yourself in a warm bath of Garganega and the heat of Verona and hear a brilliant story about a young woman who is challenging the restraints of her time, listen to this audiobook, which has romance, poetry, politics, and humor to spare." (Narrator Richard Armitage)

It's a story you think you know: the age-old tale of "star-cross'd lovers"; two families at war; a romance, so pure and absolute, fated for a tragic end. It's a story so thoroughly embedded in our culture, and so frequently retold. Yet, nothing captures the spark, the possibility, and the surprise of Shakespeare's work quite like this....

In Romeo and Juliet: A Novel, author David Hewson reworks and expands on the classic story so that it becomes something richer, something new and entirely its own. Much more than a simple love story, it is a brilliant examination of young versus old, hope against despair, and, for Juliet, the search for individual identity at a time when women were regarded as little more than chattel.

An original production commissioned by Audible, Romeo and Juliet: A Novel marks the second pairing of David Hewson and actor Richard Armitage, whose previous partnership resulted in Audible's 2014 Audiobook of the Year, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel. Hewson's talent for writing for audio is undeniable, and he finds his perfect vocal foil in Armitage, an actor of immense range and absorbing intensity. Together, they bring you a familiar story told in a surprising way - with an ending you might not expect.

Bonus: Audiobook includes an afterword written and narrated by David Hewson.

©2016 David Hewson (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Consummate actor Richard Armitage narrates this dynamic reimagining of Romeo and Juliet. It's an ideal construct for those reluctant to pursue Shakespeare. In addition to using contemporary slang, the author gives the followers of the Montague and Capulet families street cred: They wear red or blue feathers in their hats. Armitage makes even secondary characters unique, with Romeo's and Juliet's fathers sounding like the bitter old men they are. The standout is Juliet's nurse, who provides comic relief. Chapter transitions are faultless, and descriptions of people and places are stellar. Juliet's social conscience, specifically her desire to teach the peasants to read, adds further depth. Hewson boldly alters the story's conclusion. In an author's note, Hewson explains that Shakespeare was inspired by an Italian play similar to Romeo and Juliet. Hewson adds that to him the story is about the contrast between older and younger generations as they react to change." ( AudioFile Magazine)

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What listeners say about Romeo and Juliet: A Novel

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A new view on an old story that actually is very current...

This story is a lot about Juliet.
A girl, a young woman fascinated by what renaissance promises to bring. A teenager, much like we all were as teenagers or as our daughters are at that age.
Only by telling the story not in (of course very beautiful) verses, but in prose it nearly becomes a story of today. The last 500 years have not changed much in the feelings of teenaged first love. And as well not in the senselessness of many hostilities, be it in families, between counties or for what reason ever.
The message of this piece is so up to date.
David Hewson has found beautiful words, that serve the old story and at the same time bring it to our time.
Richard Armitage has again delivered a great piece of storytelling. Listening to him makes me often forget, that it's just one man narrating.
This audiobook is like some of my favourite books...destined to be listened to again...and again...

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7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

very gripping

great story and the last chapter was interesting. the discription wad great with minute details. the sound was ok . the book was not too long. just right

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1 person found this helpful

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a story i didnt want to end

What did you like most about Romeo and Juliet: A Novel?

everything it was so good

What did you like best about this story?

everything the voices the pronuncation

What does Richard Armitage bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

see above the beautiful voices . the expression in those voices

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

the whole thing was a moving experence the end made my eyes water

Any additional comments?

the most beautiful and epic storytelling . i love my audible books but this i listend to with my headphones on when i went to bed i didnt want it to end

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

charmed

charming. so vivid and beautifully crafted, both story and reading. recommend! you won't be disappointed.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful version

Not a rewrite or a translation of Shakespeare but a reimagining of the two tragic lovers. Beautifully read by Richard Armitage - in my opinion the best narrator there is.

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2 people found this helpful

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incredible!

This is such a masterly well-imagined and skilfully told adaptation of a tale you think you already know... so well written and wonderfully performed!

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4 people found this helpful

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the ending?

I really liked it. I am a fan of Shakespeare's work. Romeo and Juliet is a beautiful story.
The ending is somewhat so profound. The bringing the two families together. So sad at the ending!!!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful Version

Truly beautiful. I loved every minute of this well read version of a timeless classic.

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Romeo and Juliet the Novel

I highly recommend this, it is beautifully written and Richard Armitage narrates all the characters perfectly. The author has taken great care to research the period it was set in, customs, expectations, and the concerns of the day are addressed. I really enjoyed the characters and this I know will be a book I'll return to again and again.

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Beautifully performed by a master

I listened to Hamlet the novel and thoroughly enjoyed that, so I thought I would try a story I thought I knew very well. This was such a beautiful adaptation - thought provoking, historically interesting and with such insight into the relationships between the characters. The 'reader' was superb, his brilliant acting really comes into its own here.
I would like to have heard the end notes at the beginning, to be aware of the changes.

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4 people found this helpful