Thursday, August 16, 2007

A little background information would be helpful

I finished The New Policeman last night, and was not surprised (but nonetheless disappointed) to find the back matter that was included in the U.S. print version had not be included on the audio version. This audiobook was produced in the U.K., and Recorded Books just re-packaged it. I found the back matter very helpful when reading this book because it included a glossary and some additional information about the music. I think a U.S. listener might have found that information equally helpful.

However, we don't judge audiobooks by what they don't include. We judge them by the skill that narrators have in telling the story -- how they vocally depict emotions, create individual characters, vary their pace of reading to reflect the story's plot. Of course, there's a certain amount of personal preference involved (my already acknowledged enjoyment of an English accent), which is why there are nine of us on the committee.

And this narrator didn't seem to have the level of skills we want to see in a "select" audiobook. While she had a lovely Irish accent, she read mostly at a fast and very fast pace. Her characters seemed to only be defined by pitch -- high for children (utterly wrong for a story about a 15-year-old boy), medium for women, and low for men. Her German (Irish-German) accent was nearly unintelligible. And while the music was a delightful enhancement of the printed book, it wasn't enough to overcome the narrator's flaws.

No comments: