Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Notes from abroad: Audiobooks

Have enabled me to reduce somewhat the weight of the suitcase I drag around with me on my periodic jaunts outside Guatemala.

The suitability of the narrator to the material and their ability to judge tone and pace, pulling the 'reader' along without the need for constant rewinds, are clealy of paramount importance in this medium.

The UK-based American actress Lorelei King was thus a fine choice for Margaret Atwood's entertaining and thought-provoking new novel The Year of the Flood.

Unfortunately, Ron Perlman's lugubrious intonation made the first third of Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro's The Strain indeed a bit of a strain to listen to, though his interest levels and mine appear to have perked up in the second half. (And the prose is anyway by no means as deft as Atwood's.)

Stephen Fry's narration of Chekhov's short stories is predictably charming, each one delivered with the beguiling turn of a masterful raconteur...and therein perhaps lies my only disappointment with these recordings, for whenever I read these stories myself, darker notes tend to come to the surface.

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