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1984 by George Orwell audiobook review – a starry cast drive this powerful dramatisation

1984 by George Orwell audiobook review – a starry cast drive this powerful dramatisation

Audible has been pushing the boat out lately with its dramatisations of literary classics, and this adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, marking 75 years since it was published, is a dark delight. Andrew Garfield leads a starry cast as Winston Smith, a worker at the Ministry of Truth trying to keep a lid on his frustrations with the Party, the ruling power that controls everything in the state of Oceania including what its citizens do, say and think. The omniscient Big Brother, voiced by Tom Hardy, keeps tabs on everyone via telescreens and brutally punishes dissenters, though this doesn’t stop Winston from purchasing a notebook to write down his illegal thoughts.

Cynthia Erivo plays Julia, who persuades Winston to take a trip out of the city and to the countryside where they indulge in some noisy alfresco fun that is best heard via the privacy of your own headphones. Meanwhile, Andrew Scott is quietly terrifying as O’Brien, an Inner Party member who tricks Winston into believing he is part of a revolutionary group called the Brotherhood. After exposing his wrongdoing, O’Brien spends months brainwashing Winston through acts of torture based on his private nightmares.

There are some good supporting turns from Romesh Ranganathan as Parsons, described as “a man of paralysing stupidity”, and Chukwudi Iwuji as the duplicitous Charrington, who rents out the room where Winston and Julia conduct their secret trysts. The score comes courtesy of Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and composer Ilan Eshkeri, and brims with melodrama and menace.

1984 is available via Audible, 3hr 27min

Further listening

Elliot Page, Penguin Audio, 8hr 23min
This episodic memoir by the Juno actor documents his early life, his meteoric rise as an actor and the acute gender dysphoria he experienced from the age of four. Read by the author.

The Twyford Code
Janice Hallett, Profile Audio, 11hr 28min
Thomas Judd narrates this unusual crime novel made up of the transcribed audio files found on the phone of a missing ex-convict named Steven Smith.

Source: theguardian.com