Definitely a better narrator. It's hard to tell how much the narration is affecting my enjoyment of the book, but it doesn't seem to be one of his best.
The other Holland books had a flair for creating really heinous "baddies" similar to his Robichaux series. This one seems bland in comparison. The other characters also seem to be uninteresting and predictable. Maybe not having Will Patton narrate is taking out some of the color. Come back Will!!
Being from Texas myself, I'm seeing details that don't reflect regional accuracy. There are no pine trees in this part of Texas, no "levee" on the river. Several other things that I can't remember right now.
This story is lacking some of the character development and color that makes Burke one of my favorite writers.
Sklar definitely needs some coaching on his regional characterizations. His southern accents all sound identical and aren't true Texas accents; he's giving us more of a generic Deep South flavor. His Hispanic accents sound more Puerto Rican or East LA than South Texas.
The most aggregious effect is when Sklar drops the final "g" off of EVERY word ending in "ing" in his approximation of southern dialect. Mixing in a few dropped "g's" gives us the idea. A constant use of this device is ridiculous and annoying. He does this even in the narration, which should be toned down somewhat to distinguish it from dialogue. Even in first person narration, voice characterization should be played more neutral than when characters speak.
Sklar had difficulty in pacing the text to portray the movement and mood of the scenes. His only method seemed to be in stretching out and elongating words for emphasis. When all words are treated the same way it creates a monotonous, hypnotic effect that distracts from Burke's writing. I found myself having to rewind requently to pick up details in detecting change in scenery or which characters are speaking. Listening to an audio book shouldn't take that much work.
Sklar has a deep, excellent voice. He needs some range and variability. Take notes from Patton.
Not really a question of which character is expendible - let's make them ALL more interesting.
We're missing out on the outrageous characters, cajun flavor and great narration in this recording.
Melissa Eccleston's attempt at a Russian accent sounds like someone with peanut butter stuffed in their mouth, vainly trying to escape it. So, I'm spoiled with Humphrey Bower's masterful narration. Anyone else would be a let-down. But do us a favor, let us down EASY.
For the first time since "50 Shades of Gray" I had to abort this one, unfinished.
Someone who can do ethnic accents without butchering it.
"perfect" = "pyurfect" ? Come on now, not at all convincing.
To get another book.
Bower, come back.
The Power of One, BC's first book. This one seems to be very much a revisiting of the same story. Social injustice, race relations, pets, bullying, befriending odd characters, the talented child that is innocent of his own gifts, doing right to those who have done you wrong. Courtenay's "Horatio Alger" plots all tend to support his thesis: the good boy overcomes the odds to become successful.
When Tom realizes who the faceless beggar is.
I think Whitethorn is a good one. Symbolic for Tom being a white boy in Africa, redolent of the brushy shrub that grows there.
Humphrey Bower puts so much into the voice characterizations. He's a master of dialects.
Definitely, but this was not his best work.
Bryce got us lost in the weeds of international politics and business history. It tells the story of that region of the world but was missing the usual Dickensian characterizations that I love. True, the "Persimmon Tree" needed a sequel, but it just seems like Bryce lost his story-telling mojo on this one.
Humphrey Bower is his usual superb best at accents of all sorts.
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