Winesburg, Ohio has the most memorable cast of characters in 20th-century fiction. Listeners will remember at least a few stories and their characters for the rest of their lives. Each of the 23 stories stands on its own. Each is also interwoven into the fabric of the book. Winesburg has a special glow, a grace, poignant feelings, and a magical quality. Winesburg moves forward in a cascading fashion to the final chapters with Helen White, the most beautiful and richest girl in Winesburg, and "Departure" with George Willard, the charismatic character instrumental to all the characters, who reveal themselves through conversation - or a lack of it - with George.
The primary characters in some stories become the bit characters in others, much as Tom Stoppard showed that Hamlet was only a bit character in the lives of the hangers on, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Winesburg avoids isms, making it a purely literary work. The only political comments involve characters talking to each other, not pushing political views. Winesburg is not narrowly realistic as in Dreiser's novels. Rather, Winesburg is broadly realistic, because it involves everything good and bad about people and their circumstances.
At first it seems that everyone is stuck in Winesburg. But as you listen, you will notice that most people have been elsewhere or are on a road from or to some other place, either physically or in dreams. The town is vibrant with the "moving on" of American life, both in the character's thinking and doing. For all of these reasons, these characters seem far more timeless than those of more famous 20th-century authors, such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dreiser, Lewis, or Faulkner. Those authors recognized this at some level and, with the exception of Fitzgerald, acknowledged that Anderson was the master from whom they learned. Jack Kerouac may have said it best: "Winesburg sticks to your ribs."
(P)2010 Christina Brown
It would be very hard to find a worse reading (of any book). (Well, some stuff on Librivox is pretty bad, but at least they aren't selling it...) The reader, Deaver Brown, occasionally adds additional words or simply replaces words with his own choices. And a huge chunk of the crucial opening story ("The Book of the Grotesque") is missing, leading me to believe that Deaver accidentally turned two pages at the same time without noticing his error. It is as if no one played it back even once before sending it to press. Lastly, probably the most embarrassing aspect of this reading is that the narrator slowly,carefully reads the *table of contents* and later painstakingly describes an *illustration* in the edition of Winesburg, Ohio that he happens to be reading. It's actually quite funny.
Actually: I've changed my own mind. Buy it anyway & treat yourself to a couple of laughs.
I have been listening to audiobooks for a long time now, but I'm not sure I've encountered such a graceless, toneless reader before. I can imagine that these stories would be engaging and memorable when read well, but this is an ordeal. At times the reader seems to lose his place, pause, then bumble on in a dispirited way. I didn't mind the 15 minute preamble, though it didn't tell me anything new about Anderson, but the reading itself... sigh... not too good.
The worst narrator in the world. Voice was bad, and there was an audible "click" like to a tape machine every several minutes... I am downloading another version, because I know the book is great... This should be removed from the list.
Deaver Brown had a few martinis and then set his iPhone up in a starbucks or maybe the back seat of an old car.. Seriously.. The audio quality is not even as good as an iPhone.. and the narration; he coughs, and mumbles and sort of drunkenly wanders atonally through the stories.. The book is great, but the technical issues of the recording remove any focus which you have on the literature.
My ears were in pain.
I could not listen to the story due to the poor narration.
I have enjoyed all prior narrators from my audible collection. I am not sure why this reading was not purged from the audible library.
The only character I would remove from Winesburg is the narrator.
The reader pauses in the middle of his sentences and present an awkward presentation. It is irritating and doesn't seem necessary given all the fine voice talent that is available.
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