Elijah Wood’s performance is my nominee for the Narrators’ Hall of Fame. Wood’s unself-conscious reading doesn’t sound like a reading at all. He creates an entire world filled with people who cross class and color lines. His accents range from British to faux-British to all manner of regional affectations, twangs, and drawls. Wood’s delivery makes Mark Twain’s delicious wit and twisty language sound completely natural, especially as Huck invents plausible words to suit the moment. The journey down the Mississippi with Huck and Jim is pure pleasure, as the boy who won’t be "sivilized" and the runaway slave encounter scoundrels, slip out of scrapes, and invent outrageous tales. The listening couldn’t be better if Huck read the story himself.
Audible is pleased to announce the premiere of an exciting new series, Audible Signature Classics, featuring literature’s greatest stories, performed by accomplished stars handpicked for their ability to interpret each work in a new and refreshing way. The first book in the series is Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, performed by Elijah Wood.
Ernest Hemingway said, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn". One hundred years after its author’s death, this classic remains remarkably modern and poignantly relevant. In this brand new edition, Elijah Wood reads Huck in a youthful voice that may be the closest interpretation to Twain’s original intent. His performance captures the excitement and confusion of adolescence and adventure. Best of all, the immediacy of Wood’s energetic reading sweeps listeners up and makes them feel as though they’re along for the ride, as Huck and Jim push their raft toward freedom.
Stay tuned for more one-of-a-kind performances from actors Kenneth Branagh, David Hyde Pierce, Leelee Sobieski, and more, only from Audible Signature Classics.
Listen to more Audible Signature Classics.
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Mark Twain is one of my favorite writers. I've wanted to read this book for a long time. Listening to it in my car was fantastic.
Elijah Wood brings this story to life. His voice is exactly what one imagines while reading the book. It is spot-on. Makes this classic truly enjoyable and fun. Wish I'd had this option back in High School. I am truly impressed at Elijah's range and ability to "perform" this book.
The book has been reviewed a million times, so I have nothing new to add there. This review obviously focuses instead on Elijah Wood's performance. Sometimes I would get lost in just listening to Elijah's voice and performance that I would not be paying attention to the story. (I recommend Bronson Pinchot's reading of Twain's Chapters from my Autobiography. Similarly compelling!)
I highly recommend the audio. The audio by the man was great. The woman is okay but I just like the man's voice better. I am still listening but half way through the book.
The audio makes the story come alive.
Have not finished the book.
Strong performance, timeless story, unbeatable prose
Been a long time since I last read Huck Finn. It is certainly a scathing look at racism; but it is also a study in hopelessness. Published twenty five or so years after the end of slavery, Mark Twain paints a portrait of world that is unlikely to change. Hemingway once criticized the introduction of Tom Sawyer in this novel -- but without Tom Sawyer's character, the lesson in his absurd treatment of a freed slave -- would be lost. The book is packed with irony and humor and suspense but it is devastatingly sad.
I had never read this book before listening to the audio book (which is something I rarely do - I usually read the print version first just so that I don't miss anything), but this is such an incredible performance and such a wonderful book that I found myself paying closer attention and backing it up when I missed something.
Elijah Wood's performance is perfect - I can't imagine that there is anyone who could have done this better.
All around - this is a fantastic audiobook - a great story and a great narrator.
Elijah Wood did a great job as Huck Finn. Really brought the character to life.
I loved the way that each character had his/her own distinct voice. He really did a great job of speaking for the characters
Ghost writer of over 100 unpublished works...;).
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a picaresque work of American realism that gives us a glimpse of the antebellum south through the eyes of a brilliant satirist. Twain's characters, blissfully ignorant of their fallibility, are at once funny, frustrating, and sad.
Meandering down the Mississippi River, it may be easy to forget Twain’s warning at the beginning of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:
"Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."
Without taking it too seriously, it’s important to keep this in mind. By focusing too much on a motive or moral, one risks over-simplifying the work into a piece of propaganda. There’s a lot more going on here, and a patient understanding of human weakness is a subtle undertone too important to the work to be lost in a fury of moral indignation.
It is slightly more difficult to ignore the plot. Warning or no, it's hard to overlook the glaring inconsistency of the ending with the rest of the book. Twain goes so far as to conjure Dumas in his Count of Monte Cristo style escape sequence. Unlikely, contrived, and episodic as it may have been, the French masterpiece still stuck together better than the American.
But if we heed his warning, we can focus instead on scathing satire that sheds light on absurd logic and a value system almost too incredible to believe. Elijah’s narration is a superb transparent window through which Twain’s gilt-edged wit shines brilliantly. It was here that I found the most enjoyment, not in the "adventures" themselves.
Twain also kindly lets us know that there are a few different dialects used this book. This being the case, it must be very difficult to do a true narration. Now, I'm no expert on “Missouri negro” or “Pike County” dialects of the mid 1800s, so I can't comment on Elijah’s authenticity. However, I can say that they were entertaining and largely consistent throughout the work. Be warned, however, that there is a studied exactness in his cadence that tends to drag behind the narrative.
If you're a fan of the book, and are on the fence, I can tell you to buy with confidence. You'll love the audiobook! If you've never read it, it's still worth the credit to experience Twain through the voice of such a faithful interpreter.
I enjoy a novel that effectively encapsulates the social norms of the time without infusing them with modern sensibilities. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is just that sort of work. You really understand how and why people believed as they did and acted in kind. It is truly a masterpiece.
Wood does a phenomenal job as narrator. He is an accomplished actor and does not overly dramatize unnecessarily, which can bring a good novel to tedium. He switches from character to character with ease and seamlessly.
It might be shocking for modern ears to hear the language commonly used in the novel, but one must realize that people did indeed speak and think as such. However, the author successfully conveys to us that the only man of honor and scruples in the entire work is Jim, the escaped slave. That message transcends any previous disparaging comments and elevates his status in the reader's eyes. Even when they are behaving morally with good conscience according to the mores of the time, it is clear to the reader that Tom, Huck and the other characters in the novel are lacking in the moral substance. I believe that the author was trying to impress that point upon us.
What more can be said or written about Mark Twain? HUCKLEBERRY FINN is a great work, and many feel it must be taken far more seriously than TOM SAWYER. Indeed, Twain offers a scathing indictment of society through the eyes of his youthful protagonist.
Elijah Wood gives a solid performance, although there are simply too many characters (and accents) to deliver effectively. I found his southern "voice" considerably more convincing than his black speech, although Jim still has his good moments. Happily, Wood is more convincing with Huck, himself, and thus the overall effect is most satisfactory.
The ending of the novel will forever leave critics scratching their heads, uncertain why Twain wants the "games" at the end, why Huck suddenly plays second-fiddle to Tom, and how the author justifies the entire attempt to help Jim "escape" when he has already been freed. These are the inevitable problems of the masterpiece. For what it may be worth, I feel Wood makes the transition (beginning with Tom's entrance) as smoothly as the author could ever have intended it, and does a fine job drawing the reader into the implausible narrative Huck shares with us.
Twain will forever delight those encountering him (through whatever medium) for the first time. This Audible product is certainly a splendid place to begin.
"A great adventure story"
In its own right, this book is a simple, first-person adventure story and greatly enjoyable. Written in 1884, it incorporates the attitudes and culture of the time and as it is set in the deep south during a time of racial inequality, there are attitudes, expressions and words used that may shock or offend some people. This book is now a historical reference to a time gone by. The current debate regarding one US publishers decision to remove racial terminology from it has brought this book into the news for all the wrong reasons. People should be allowed to witness history unsullied by current obsessions with political correctness - witnessing both right and wrong is what educates us.
The narration by Elijah Wood is excellent. His youthful voice and excellent characterisation make this a great listening experience.
"a great reading!"
of course it's still 'huckleberry finn', a wonderful novel,alive with characters and colour and action.but this fine reading made it all the more enjoyable as the varying accents and speech rhythms are all part of the book's charm.
"Classic evocation of a particular era"
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a great evocation of a particular era in American history. The attitudes displayed, especially towards race and slavery, are shocking to modern ears and I had to keep reminding myself that the book was not only set, but also written in a very different time and place. I loved the variety of characters, all very real yet memorably larger than life, and I’m sure Elijah Wood’s expert narration was a major part of my enjoyment. His portrayal of all the dialects and accents was fabulous. I think even Dickens would have been proud of the King and the Duke! Having not read any Mark Twain as a child, I expect some of the excitement of the adventures was lost on me – I did get a little bored by the intricacies of the plot at Aunt Sally’s – but the major part of the book detailing Huck’s escape from his abusive father and his and Jim’s journey down the river had me completely hooked and even a little envious at times.
It's been a long time since I read Huckleberry Finn, and I had forgotten how much depth there was in the novel, and how much Mark Twain used it to attack the issues and attitudes related to slavery in the Southern States. The movingly, if unsentimentally depicted friendship between Huck and Jim, whom he helps to escape from slavery, and Huck's ruminations on how very sinful he must be to 'steal' Jim from Miss Watson are, even now, powerful indictments against racism.
Elijah Wood is an ideal narrator for this tale, which is, more than anything, good fun.
"Deep South in your ears!"
Brilliantly read by Elijah wood. Got the accent spot on i reckon. A little difficult to listen to in places and the language and wording drags a little but it's a classic book and thoroughly recommend :)
Absolutely wonderful. Beautifully narrated - a stellar performance by Elijah Wood who brought the story to life.
"Very Good Narration!"
It was very well narrated.
I have not but this one us very good.
For me it took 3 sittings, about 3 hours each.
Everyone should read this book ,
And Elijah Wood dose a fantastic job reading this book ,
I think people should listen to this .
"A slow, meandering journey"
The performance is great and really brings all the characters alive with their distinctive Southern voices. The story, however, and I feel churlish in admitting this, had me a little bored at times. This is one of those I wanted to read and thereby cross it off the "books to read before you die" and am glad I have...but equally am glad to have finished it.
"Elijah Wood is superb!"
Authentic, engrossing, nostalgic
Elijah's Wood's amazing variety of accents.
The drifting down the Mississippi past St Louis.
It made me think back to childhood when I last read this book, and reminded me what a great book it is.
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