Shelly Frasier does fine: clear diction and slow pace, which are appropriate for more challenging prose. But why so many complaints about Hawthorne's language? "Thees and thous"? He was writing in the 1840s, not the 1600s (the era of the fiction, which he emulates in his characters' speech), so it's not that far from our own era. Or is this nation now only capable of reading TV GUIDE listings for the next JERSEY SHORE?
The narrator's performance was solid. Didn't overly color the text, which is good, but it did seem a bit too passion-less.
I love Haruki Murakami's A WILD SHEEP CHASE, Umberto Eco's FOUCAULT'S PENDULUM, and Tom Robbins's EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE BLUES and STILL LIFE WITH WOODPECKER. Now I realize they all can trace their DNA back to this novel. The conspiracy theory. The metaphysical detective story ... or the post-modernist style of wrapping a hidden history or a social commentary within the wrapper of a genre novel.
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