No Pink Ponies
I first read this book in 1963, and it was always a great favorite; the layers of Arthurian myth with White's dry wit and time-bending sensibilities as if Camelot were set in circa WWI Great Britain. This version is an admirable reading, Neville Jason provides finely-honed voices and the perfect slightly-ironic intonation that catches the tongue-in-cheek nature of this book. There is a chapter new to me, actually two. The "Mrs Mim" section was absolutely not in my edition, and features a wizard's duel between Mrs Mim and Merlyn. Reminds me of some other book about wizards I've read recently, can't think which one, though. And the Book of Merlyn is at the end, an addition to the version I read, advice to the king from his departing tutor. HIGHLY RECOMMEND this for the most enjoyable listening.
The reader, David Thorn, takes his time to evoke moods, gives each character a distinctive voice, and speaks with a classic English accent. I listened to the samples of other readers' versions. One didn't create distinctive character voices. Another's way of reading sounded almost like a sneer to me. A third, while avoiding both these problems, spoke at a pace that moved the story forward (resulting in a recording a full hour shorter than this one), but failed to linger long enough over descriptive passages to evoke the mood of each scene. Howard Pyle's book is a classic, the first modern (1883) attempt to bring the various Robin Hood ballads together in a single narrative, while preserving the feel of medieval prose--all the more remarkable because Pyle was American, not English. (Pyle is perhaps best-remembered for his painting and drawing. He taught and influenced several other classic illustrators in the "Brandywine School," including N. C. Wyeth. For "Robin Hood," he provided "medieval" pen-and-ink drawings and decorations, a perfect marriage of image and text.) This is a book I've loved since childhood, and I'm happy to find a reading that does justice to it.