Spoon River has 244 accounts of the lives of people in the town that explain its goings on over a couple of centuries. Each free form verse is presented as an epitaph of one of the citizens delivered themselves, often criticizing the words said about them on their tombstone or the monument or stone left above them.
The stories build on one another as well as reference various family members and others mentioned in other stories. Sherwood Anderson does a similar thing in Winesburg, Ohio where major characters in their own right become bit players in other people's narratives. It reminds one of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead where Hamlet is only a bit player in their lives. The interplay between successful and unsuccessful, those who think they are high born, as one successful man thought, but was actually the illegitimate child of an old woman who never got to nurture her own successful child. These interplays move the story forward as well as our hearts in reading them.
All the other recordings I ever purchased from Audible, whether I liked them or not, have been professionally performed. A low score usually denotes a performer who is not to my taste.
This performance was simply poor quality from all perspectives. The reader made numerous mistakes in inflection and even pronunciation. It was as if he was reading the work for the first time. The recording had background noise in many places and was generally of poor quality.
I spend $2 for this recording thinking that, despite many complaints in other reviews, it would at least be an ok listen as I looked for material for my daughter's competitive speeches. I compared it to the Libravox recording of this work. Libravox uses volunteers to record works in the public domain. They do a good job but it is a community work without sound rooms and expensive equipment. So the quality is only fair. I would highly recommend the Libravox recording over this one!
This is very much out of line with what I've come to expect from Audible. I have over 50 recordings in my library and none of the others have recording standards I would complain about.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about Spoon River Anthology?
The reader stumbled on words and mispronounced them. His performance was dull, without emotion, and halting.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Spoon River Anthology?
When I realized the performance would detract from the content of the book.
How could the performance have been better?
Maybe he should have looked up words he didn't know instead of making up his own way of saying them. For example: "upanishads" and "bhagavad gita".
What character would you cut from Spoon River Anthology?
The content was brilliant, but the performance was lack luster.
Any additional comments?
The price of under $2 was what drew me in.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
You will get more by just reading it aloud. The reader does a wonderful book a great disservice - hardly taking a breath between sections, reading poetry as prose and mispronouncing word after word. I was very disappointed. Even at the low price, its not worth it for the aggravation alone.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The poem are great. I have reads the book before. The reader on the other hand, slaughters it with his bored monotone voice. The sound quality is terrible and sounds as though it were recorded at a distance. You can hear the rustling of paper, which to me was a turn off and I loast interest.
What would have made Spoon River Anthology better?
I find the tone too pessimistic and depressing.
What was most disappointing about Edgar Lee Masters’s story?
Masters seems to be a misogynist with a very poor opinion of marriage, and family life in general.
Would you be willing to try another one of Deaver Brown’s performances?
No, I found his delivery flat and irritating. His performance, especially of the poems from the women's perspective, sounded to me like an aging English professor who couldn't care less about what he was reading.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Disappointment, as a good friend loves this work, and so I had high hopes. Poetry is not my favorite genre anyway- this was definitely not the work, nor the recording, that would change my mind.
I just finished working on a theatre production of this book, and I love the individual stories. However, the narrator for this audio version sounded as though he were bored and was hurrying through the material. That's a shame - it deserves so much better.