Their Eyes Were Watching God, an American classic, is the luminous and haunting novel about Janie Crawford, a Southern Black woman in the 1930s, whose journey from a free-spirited girl to a woman of independence and substance has inspired writers and readers for close to 70 years.
What does Ruby Dee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
This classic take of love and self-discovery jumps off the page because Dee gives each character a unique voice, with vocal inflections that capture every moment beautifully. As a lover of Hurston's novel for many years, I had decided to listen to the work this time around rather than simply read it once again. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dee's reading of the work perfected the text. Simply lovely.
Brilliant, idealistic Esme Garland moves to Manhattan armed with a prestigious scholarship at Columbia University. When Mitchell van Leuven - a New Yorker with the bluest of blue New York blood - captures her heart with his stunning good looks and a penchant for all things erotic, life seems truly glorious...until a thin blue line signals a wrinkle in Esme’s tidy plan. Before she has a chance to tell Mitchell about her pregnancy, he suddenly declares their sex life is as exciting as a cup of tea, and ends it all. When Mitchell recants his criticism, his passion and promises are hard to resist.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
Meyler created the foundation for a solid (albeit, predictable) storyline; however, she never fleshed out the plot's potential because the characters she created were overtly arch-typical This is especially true with the boyfriend of the protagonist: whenever he emerged in the story I had to fight my desire to fast-forward to the next section of the novel.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
Wilds' limited vocal infection makes the story sound flatter than it actually is. The melodic ebb and flow of her interpretation fails to enhance The Bookstore in any positive way.
When Faye Travers is called upon to appraise the estate of a family in her small New Hampshire town, she isn't surprised to discover a forgotten cache of valuable Native American artifacts. However, she stops dead in her tracks when she finds in the collection a rare drum, ornamented with symbols she doesn't recognize and dressed in red tassels and a beaded belt and skirt, especially since, without touching the instrument, she hears it sound.
What about Anna Fields’s performance did you like?
Erdrich's style of prose isn't one that lends itself easily to a verbal interpretation, yet Field's does a wonderful job bringing Erdrich's vivid images, complex symbols, and ever-shifting narrators to life. I was especially impressed with her pacing (which allowed the listeners to absorb all of Erdrich's rich language) and her fitting pronunciation/inflection of the Native American Indian specific vocabulary. Simply put, it was lovely to listen to Field's interpretation.
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