Why did the publishers of this audiobook select a white man with a New York accent to read Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel about the antebellum South and its African-American characters? The narrator's voice is, unfortunately, uninspired and strangely out of sync with the novel itself -- which is dramatic, sentimental, and filled with rich and varied portraits of memorable characters. The reading captures none of this. *Uncle Tom's Cabin* is an astounding, provocative, and disturbing part of American culture (definitely worth reading!), here delivered by a monotonous, jarring, and poorly chosen narrator. Too bad! My advice: read the book on your own -- it's a long book but a quick read, or, select another audio-version, one by a narrator whose voice, tone, and mood match the spirit of Stowe's novel.
This recording of Ulysses is simply excellent. The male narrator reads exceptionally well what, as you'll see, is an extremely difficult text to read aloud (particularly the later chapters). He varies his voice in different ways for the many, many different characters, as well as imitates lots of different Irish, English, and American accents. Simply amazing! The female narrator who reads Molly's chapter is likewise fantastic -- particularly for a chapter of 50 or so pages which is printed with only 8 sentence breaks!
Ulysses is a demanding novel but definitely a rewarding one. This recording really makes it quite accessible. Some of the chapters, actually, are more compelling when heard rather than read from the page. As a first-time reader, I found it very helpful to go one chapter at a time, reading some outside material (like sparknote.com or cliffsnote.com) to help me as I went. TIP: get a copy of Joyce's "schema" for Ulysses -- it's a list of symbols, colors, settings, etc. for each chapter -- and is extremely helpful. Try googling it or looking in Don Gifford's *Ulysses Annotated* (schema items listed at the beginning of the notes for each chapter).
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