intense sensations

Perfect English Pronunciation

Posted on: January 6, 2015

ControlControl by Charlotte Stein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve mentioned somewhere in another book review that I regularly listen to audio books in order to improve my English. There’s nothing more embarrassing than mispronouncing a cool word dropped into a hot conversation. A mangled “progeniture” could have dampened the squib of many a top drawer English gentleman with whom I’ve mingled. Without the right guide, simple words like “taut” and “tighten” can prove an insurmountable obstacle to those of us from foreign parts.

So I am a target consumer of the latest audio developments from Amazon. And I was delighted by Amazon’s video for their Whispersync technology that shows an attractive woman reading and/or listening to a sizzling erotic book in bed, in the shower, in a meeting, at lunch, on the train, and, finally, in bed again. I was delighted not just by the technology but also by the choice of book. An erotic book. A literary erotic book. Not this one, by Charlotte Stein, as it happens, but it might easily have been.

What a ringing endorsement of my favourite reading matter! They have got it so right, I thought to myself. But of course they have got it right. For if anyone knows how technology has changed our reading habits, it’s those clever researchers at Amazon.

Let’s face it. One of the joys of a kindle and an iphone is being able to load it up with steamy texts to digest in private not just at home but at lunch, on the bus, on the train, at the doctor’s … everywhere!

But being sophisticated readers we do not want rubbish on our gadgets, do we? We do not want detritus.

And with Charlotte Stein’s gorgeously svelte novel we certainly do not get detritus. This book is sophisticated and elegant. It turns you on and gets you thinking at the same time. It’s light but it’s so cleverly light that it’s heavy, dark and deep.

I won’t summarise the story, since discovering the plot is one of the pleasures of the book. This is an author who knows how to take control. Her skill is quite thrilling. She unfolds the narrative with enviable panache.

How can you write a dirty story without being crude? you might ask. Well, but that’s just it. Charlotte is in control because while she’s clever, she is also crude. Compellingly crude.

So get under the covers with Charlotte, and on the bus and in the kitchen and in the bath. The audio book is available from Audible and, take it from me, every word is beautifully pronounced.


4 Responses to "Perfect English Pronunciation"

Hi Vanessa, I sympathise with your trying to get pronunciations correct, but don’t forget us English are also affected by our dialectic upbringing. As a Cockney I have often come up against so-called top drawer English,& those that would look down on your use of the language would not be classed as “gentlemen” in my world. I too have had to put up with the “snobs” who want us all to speak standard BBC English. Part of the charm of our language is the flexibility and constant growth. For me there is often nothing more erotic than English spoken with a foreign accent, and I am sure that you are no exception. Regional accents give colour to stories, could you imagine Alan Bennett with a posh accent! I do love your idea of listening to an erotic story on the tube, bus or somewhere like the Doctor’s surgery, letting my imagination run wild, putting people nearby into the characters could be real fun! Love it, I may even try that game out soon. Can I blame you if I get into trouble from smirking at the wrong person? ha ha

Blame me? How ignoble! I thought Cockneys were supposed to be loveable.


Your writing uses the language with such perfection-it is difficult to imagine that you are concerned your performance when speaking it. In my experience-much of the drivel of English is in the mouth connecting with the brain. The halting, “Yeah/No,” that litters use. Even the intelligent on the media, responding to every posed question with a, “So–delay,” then restating the question with, “what you’re asking is.”

I’m perfectly sure that if we were ever to meet, albeit unlikely, I live in rural Kentucky, I would delight in your use of the language.

Your “writing,” which I’m sure reflects your thinking, reminds me of Alastair Cooke, and modern word perfects such as, Ritula Shah on BBC R4 and BBC Washington Correspondent, Kim Ghattas.

You write with such beauty, I’m sure that would reflect in your speech.


Wow, such praise! I do not know those broadcasters by name but I do listen to BBC Radio 4. Sometimes I have to turn it off when they’re talking piffle but it’s generally very good. Thank you for commenting. I’m sure rural Kentucky is full of delightful language that is not to be heard on Radio 4.

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