Mark Twain's collection of lesser-known stories spans his career, showing a darker side to this popular personality. Most of these mysterious and melancholic tales focus on the theme of money while revealing a man who spent much of his life questioning societal norms. Jonathan Kent captures the shadowy spirit of these pieces and proves himself comfortable with Twain's vernacular. Though Kent could engage more energetically at times, his gentle and thoughtful voice gives the listener space to absorb Twain's ideas. Overall, this audiobook gives much insight into one of America's greatest minds.
This dark story, set in medieval Austria, hinges on unearthly and hidden mental powers. It also gives an insight to the author's psyche during his final days.
The other stories in this edition include "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg", "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", "The Story of the Bad Little Boy", "The Diary of Adam and Eve", "Edward Mills and George Benton", "The Joke That Made Ed's Fortune", and "A Fable".
©1996 Joss Recordings; (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.
Although this recording generally features a good selection of stories by Twain, the narration is mostly humdrum. "The Mysterious Stranger," which should be the highlight, unfortunately uses the 1916 version of the story, assembled from three other versions by Twain's literary executor, with significant cuts and additions by said executor. In other words, the version of the story presented here is not a version of the story that Twain himself wrote. Of course if the narration were better it would be possible to overlook that; but it's not.
(In the publishers' defense, it should be noted that the version they recorded is the one most frequently anthologized; and it does have some interesting features of its own. But the narration is just too bland.)
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