I listed to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as read by Eric Idle. I don’t think I can say anything new about the book overall: its fantastic inventiveness, its peculiarity, and its cruel streak are all much-remarked. So instead I’ll make a couple of comments about the listening experience.
Idle does a very enjoyable job generally, but I wish the producer had managed his volume better. Generally, when a character whispers on the page, the reader should not whisper, because it’s too hard for a listener to make out the words. (Ditto shouting, though that’s more a matter of sparing the listener’s ears.) Experienced audiobook readers manage the intensity of their reading rather than the volume, which works much better.
The other thing about listening is that it made me wonder where the book was supposed to be set. I’d always assumed it was in Britain, as Dahl was a British writer and it has that indefinably British air. However, though Idle gives Charlie and his family British accents, the money Charlie finds in the street is a dollar bill, and some of the other children have American accents. It’s a bit peculiar, though only distracting in the slower pace of an audiobook.
I don’t remember a thing about the sequel, and look forward to rediscovering it.