I have listened to many audio books, including some done by celebrities. Some simply don't work in audio format IMO—Matthew Broderick's read of "The End Of the Whole Damn Mess" is bad, especially how he insists on emphasizing the word "caldera"—while OTOH Justin Long brings some interesting nuance to "Everything's Eventual". (And I adore Kathy Bates' take on "Chattery Teeth.") So I wondered how William Hurt, who clearly went to the same Odd Vocal Delivery school as Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Walken.
It so happens that for me, Hurt is absolutely perfect, at least for "Low Men in Yellow Coats". A slice of life piece almost as much as a horror story, Hurt's sometimes-odd inflections and pauses fit just perfectly to the odd subject matter of the story. And his mild changes of voice––especially for the character of Ted, for whom he puts on an exhausted, weary mien––are very effective.
I won't speak to the other tales, but as "Low Men" takes up such a big portion of this collection, I think it's fair to say I find it excellent. Not perfect––I haven't read a perfect King story yet––but damn fine.
Haven't read the print version.
William Hurt is the best. Stephen King is OK on his own, but when but back to back with Hurt the narration is disappointing.
The ending was heartfelt and touching.
William Hurt reads the short story so well. It's one of my favorite narrations. The book comes together so awesome with all the short stories. Stephen King is just so amazing. I like how there's hints of his other books in some of the stories.
If you're considering this book to get another look into the court of the Crimson King you may be better served by grabbing it from a library or used book store. Only the first story (Low Men in Yellow Coats) really matters if you have Midworld on your mind and the rest of the book is kind of meh.
Narration is interesting. I was worried, after listening to most of the Dark Tower all the way through, that William Hurt was going to take me out of the story due to his extremely recognizable voice. It wan't a problem thanks to Hurt's skill. He didn't need to do accents or voices, he just needed to act, and he did a great job.
Then there's Steve. I'm pretty sure I remember the original audio version of The Gunslinger being read by him and thinking he did a substandard job. King reads the middle 2 stories which, to me, were by far the least interesting anyway, and the problem is that's all he does. He reads. It's not great.
And the music. What maniac was responsible for a. Deciding this book needed music splattered all through it and b. Hired a band and composer to produce it? It's terrible, it has no place in an audio book, it doesn't even fit with the era or mood or time of day or anything. Before listening to the info at the end of the book I assumed they grabbed a bunch of royalty-free 50s and 60sish music and slammed it into the chapter breaks.
Pass on this if you're on a journey to the Dark Tower in favor of some other format.
This was a well thought out book in the sense that it told many stories that sometimes got me wondering what was exactly going on, but then you'd realize what the focus was and how it was coming full circle. A way to describe this book was a quilt of circles. Many stories blurred into one another coming to a final crescendo at the end - enough to make me tear up walking down 42nd street during rush hour in NYC. It is a memorable journey I am glad I experienced.
Yes, I am a Stephen King fan. I bought this audio book on cassette when it first came out years ago. I loved it then, and I loved it again now when I listened to it, years later. I love the melancholy feel of the stories, and I think William Hurt delivers the perfect tone to fit the bitter sweet emotion running through them. This is a story that will make you want to cry in places, laugh like a child in places, and have you empathizing with the characters all the way through. I recommend it to hardcore King fans as well as those who have never opened one of his books.
Not a horror story like so many of Kings books although there were plenty of horrible things that happened... A story of coming of age in a turbulent time.
Too hard to pick a favorite