The Last of the Mohicans is a historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper, first published in January 1826.
James Fenimore Cooper (1789 - 1851) was a prolific and popular American writer of the early 19th century.
Please note: This is a vintage recording. The audio quality may not be up to modern day standards.
Although I think I could listen to the soft purr and swift precision of the narrator's speech for years on end, to my ears, he fails to render the dialog in this book authentically. Most of it is overwrought, sounding more like caricatures than characters. There's no evidence of an authentic accent in the Native American characters and, worst of all, Hawkeye, the central character, is performed as if he were some transplanted Cajun rather than a colonial American frontiersman. For an example of what I mean, listen to Raymond Todd's reading of The Deerslayer. To me he gets it right. Todd's dialog sounds more authentic and carries the story better. Mr. Oliver doesn't even approximate the characters' speech as the author renders it on the page. It ruined the experience for me. I downloaded a different version.
James Fenimore Cooper's books require a respect for the political tensions of an early formed nation and an appreciation for the racial and ethnic mix of people who were shaping it. Unfortunately, Jonathan Oliver seems to have little understanding of these subtleties. In his reading, he pauses in the wrong places, gives the wrong dialect to Hawkeye, and pays little homage to the Native Americans. He also mispronounces American place names. I gave up listening to him after Chapter Four and found another reader.
The narration was so bad that I couldn't understand what was being read. Might just be me, but I had to turn it off after 20 minutes of strained hard listening. Extremely frustrating, very let down.
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