This is a gorgeously written book, gorgeously read.
The Scooby Do cartoon voices really drain the life out of this groundbreaking but already sort of wooden story.
This is a prototypical Stephen King novel, with page-turning plot craftily told, well-realized characters, few slow patches. One of his better books. The audio narrator, however, is just barely tolerable. He gives a cheery kind of adolescent emphasis randomly to meaningless words and imagery, though he does seem to understand the flow of English diction. I don't know how much these narrators get paid, but for a best-seller like this it must be a fairly decent fee -- you'd think that for the money he could spend some time learning what regional accents that he has to imitate sound like. But in the case of the Maine accent, he has no idea, didn't bother to find out, & beyond the common knowledge that Mainers drop certain r sounds, he just completely, utterly made it up. I've never heard the word "knows" rhyme with "gnaws" in Maine or anywhere else, or heard the name Turcotte pronounced as Turkit; & while a Maine accent can sometimes show a similarity to a Bronx accent, this guy has it trickle off into a sort of vague Irish brogue sometimes. What a mess. Later in the book he gets completely confused between Russian, German and Schwarzenegger-like Austrian accents. I don't know Southern accents well enough to tell if he's pulling off Texan or pulling our legs on that too. It's hard to believe Stephen King himself would have signed off on this.
This is a great story. But the narration, by the same narrator for Stephenson's Anathem, is largely out to lunch, with sort of bearable goofiness through the narrative parts of the book, but painful in the dialogue. It is really hard to understand what motivates narrators to lay Scooby Doo cartoon voices on perfectly well-realized human characters. You could make a case that Stephenson's Snow Crash is sort of a cartoon-character like book. But Cryptonomicon has much more fully developed and fascinating intellectual and emotional layers and real people in it, and it's too bad the narrator was incapable of recognizing them, or unwilling to. I don't know if I'll listen to it again. I'll want to. But the echo of some the voices will make me hesitate.
The dynamics of the sound in this recording are dismal. The performance of Lady MacBeth is superb! The performance of MacBeth himself is extremely uneven, to say it as politely as possible.
This has an excruciatingly bad ten or twelve minute critical introduction. After that comes one of the creepiest well-known works of modern American fiction, read in a way that clouds but does not obliterate the tone and madness of the story. It's hard to understand why so many audiobook narrators read in cartoon-character voices. Oh well. The gist of Miss Lonelyhearts is here.
One of the great works of modern fiction in English, narrated by a reader who does not appear to understand the story. Seems to miss every irony.
This is another good book really poorly narrated. The half-enervated singsong of the narrator's voice seems intended to reflect the music of Faulkner's prose, but the effect is like singing Emily Dickinson's poems to the tune of The Yellow Rose of Texas - it just doesn't match the emotional tenor of the content. How do you square singsong with a text filled with words like "vicious" in the first half-hour? The effect is stilted and so distant from the actual content of the text that listening is a process of battling to filter out the narrator's voice. I gave up. This is the second $14.95 I've wasted on unlistenable narration in the last few months.
The narrative parts of this reading are more or less listenable, if too hip-whispery for my taste. But this also contains some of the worst guessing in the history of performance arts at what a Maine accent sounds like. Some characters sound like they're from New Orleans, others from Georgia, others from some dead zone between Brooklyn and the Bronx, others from San Fernando Valley. I had to give it up after about three hours. I'll buy the print book.
This is one of the great books of postwar American literature partly because of its clear, direct and evocative exposition of complicated ideas, and partly because it distills the essences of what was going on socially and philosophically in the 1960s and 70s - beyond and inside the hippie facades. High Quality book. The narrative to me is adequate except - as one other reviewer noticed & others weirdly missed - that the narrator blows out a bubble air at the end of about two-thirds of the sentences, varying in loudness and duration in a range that runs from distracting to irritating. Mixed quality narration.
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