This superb reading by voice actor Patrick Fraley is rich in the color and adventurous frontier spirit of the Mississippi River, capturing the world and people that Mark Twain knew and loved. Author and reader together provide genius-level storytelling that combines youthful escapades with an important social message.
(P)1999 The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.
"All modern American literature comes from [this] one book by Mark Twain....It's the best book we've had." (Ernest Hemingway)
Both this selection and Tom Sawyer, read by Patrick Frawley are unbelivably excellent and the best selections I have purchased in the past year since signing up with Audible. Patrick Frawley makes the books come alive. He does each character so individually that you'd believe different people were reading each part. Mark Twain would be real proud to hear this interpretation of his wonderful story.
This is surely one of the best, if not THE best, recording of "Huckleberry Finn" available. Fraley's narration is spirited, his command of the voices and dialects unfaltering; there is plenty of incidental music; and bonus of bonuses, it includes the famous "raft chapter" in its correct location. This is a chapter Twain deleted from the book before publication, largely for reasons of space, and published instead as part of "Life on the Mississippi." It was an unfortunate loss, because it includes not only some of the best tall-tale "trash talking" in Twain but one of his best ghost stories as well. Some recent publications of "Huckleberry Finn" have restored this chapter, but this is the only audiobook I know of that does so.
.. both the author and the narrator. Having fallen in love with the story as a child (not through the book, actually, but in a sharply abridged audio dramatization I had on cassette), Pat Fraley had a tall order ahead of him. His experience as a professional voice actor (and not just a narrator) comes to bear heavily in his very well-done and authentic treatments of each character voice. This is not a small point given how important the notions of dialect and character are to the reason this book is such a classic.
Fraley's ability to perform such distinct character voices with good separation (that is, the difference between two voices so that they don't sound at all alike) is truly remarkable. Given the vast number of real and wonderful characters in this great novel, turning in even a passable performance is an enormous task.
My only complaints about the effort are that in some places, Fraley's performances do not match (or even reach the depth of feeling) in some of the key scenes that I have etched in my head from audio dramatization from my childhood, but this is hardly an apples-to-apples comparison, nor even of any interest to you if you didn't listen to the recording I did several hundred times.
If you're not familiar with the work itself, it is an outstanding character-study (one of those characters being the society of the day) that surprised me with the clarity of understanding Twain must have had of the lives and stations of all of his characters to have captured them so well. The only comparison I can draw of my expectation is to think back to the very first dramatic stories ever filmed and how laughably they captured the essence of the characters in them-- the contrast is that Twain's rendering of his characters should still be teaching writers lessons today.
And if you're a severe reactionary that is going to be totally put off by "The 'N' Word", this is a classic best left for others to enjoy.
I have to reiterate the previous reviewer's comments. I've listened to over 25 fine books from Audible and this selection is by far the best. First, it is one of the greatest American novels ever written, by a master of the craft. Second, the narration in this version is so symphonic that it leaves all the other titles that I've enjoyed far behind. I think this is a great way to reintroduce oneself to this classic, historic piece of what is actually quite modern literature, and for the valuable perspective of how complicated "simpler times" could actually get.
Of course, any time that has Tom Sawyer in it is bound to get delightfully complicated...
Longtime Audible enthusiast!
It has been over a year since I have listened to this book, and I won't comment on the timeless classic wit of Mark Twain, as so many others have already done.
However, I want to tell you that the READER of this book is absolutely brilliant! Without question he is the best I have heard, and I have listened to hundreds.
One of Twain's trademarks is his use of regional dialect in his writing. If you have ever read Twain's written word, you will know that it isn't always the easiest to correctly interperet. Patrick Fraley absolutely NAILS it!
Even if you have read this book many times, the performance of this story alone is worth the price of admission.
The story of Huck Finn of course is about a (teenage?) boy in the mid-1800's who takes off down the Mississippi River on a raft in the company of a runaway slave, Jim. They have some adventures and Mark Twain's ingenious satire adds flavor to it besides. As for the reader, not only does he have the perfect voice for Huck Finn, but his ability to create different kinds of voices is phenomenal.
This is the most satisfying purchase I have made from Audible (besides Persuasion read by Gretta Scacchi).
I kept checking the credits to make sure that only one narrator was reading, Patrick Fraley has such a supernatural way of changing his voice. The voice he does for Jim is so completely different from Huck's voice that it sounds like two different readers. All the voices are fantastic. Patrick Fraley made me laugh out loud. The whole thing was delightful and I was sorry when it was over.
The only small thing I can think of is that the music isn't dead on to my taste. They do short musical interludes in between chapters, just a few banjo lines or whatever, which I think is a good idea, but some of the composition wasn't exactly right for me.
Overall this was a great listening experience. There are so many Huck Finn choices on Audible that I was worried I would choose the wrong one, but this was a real prize and I would recommend it to anyone.
Thank you Patrick Frahley (book reader) for bringing Mark Twain's masterpiece to life for me in a way that would have been impossible by just reading to myself. You did the many voices and characters with such perfection that I thought surely there was an entire cast performing; it was to believe you did them all! There is absolutely no doubt that Twain himself would have approved "most powerfully" of your performance.
The book itself is work of high perfection. I have been enriched by the experience. I feel like a time traveler to the pre-civil war south told through the eyes of an innocent (but in reality brilliant)boy of about 12 (Huck Finn). Forget all your sterotypes of any kind; here you will see that reality is more richly complex than any sterotypes. For although this is a work of fiction, there is real history here. You too will feel as though you are with Huck. How sad I felt when the book ended.
It goes without saying that the book is wonderful, but I am amazed at how much it is enriched by the great narration. I listened to it on a long car trip with my husband and 13-year-old son and we were completely engaged. I'm sure we'll listen to it again.
"Superb reading of Mark Twain's masterpiece"
Patrick Fraley's reading - or rather performance - of this masterpiece is utterly delightful. Particularly for British audiences, hearing Twain being read in the 'correct' accents is an even better treat than reading him. Fraley has a wonderful facility for bringing each character, even the minor ones, to life; and is a totally convincing Huck Finn. One of the best audio books I have heard. Pure, timeless entertainment (although you have to get used to the fact that the book is set in a time when slavery was regarded as normal - and then you realise how humane Mark Twain was).
"Brilliant but not PC"
Pat Frawley's performance of this book is outstanding. The story is simple, interesting and beautifully written. As a long time member of Audible I now have a collection of over 100 books, but this is the only book that I have listened to again immediately after the first listening. For the sensitive listener this book, published in 1884, is not particularly politically correct as the so called 'N' word is used 219 times. So don't be shocked.
Touching and captivating.
"Excellent reading of a classic adventure"
Nothing needs to be said about the book itself - a classic kid's adventure, but with something for a reader of any age, and ahead of its time with Huck's own attitude to race and individuals. But the reading itself adds tremendously to the book. The language and dialect comes alive in Patrick Fraley's excellent rendition. Thoroughly enjoyable.
"Not crazy about the reader."
The story and language themselves are great, of course, but I was less than impressed with the performance of the reader, unfortunately. He seemed detached from the story and the events, and it seemed to me he was forcing the accent and colloquialisms.
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