Thursday, June 28, 2012

Audiobook Week: What Makes a Good Narrator?

Who are your favorite narrators and why? What do you look for in a narrator? Have a preference between male or female narrators?
Alternate suggestion: Narration preferences – single narrator, multiple narrators, full cast, etc.

The more I listen, the fewer favorites I seem to have.  You know that trope about the book you are reading/writing now is your favorite.  With a few exceptions, I feel that way about narrators.  When I don’t like a narration, the next book of theirs has to be pretty darn intriguing for me to listen to that person again. 

Here’s some favorites from the last few months (add these to the ones I mentioned in Monday’s post):  Christopher Evan Welch, Jenna Lamia, Katherine Kellgren and Will Patton.  Then there’s my main narrator man, Dion Graham (Voice of Choice 2012 – yay!).  I feel connected with Dion because I championed him (much earlier) in my blog and he was so gracious and reached out to me.  Not in a million years would I pick up Miles Davis’ Autobiography to read, not in a million years.  But with Dion Graham reading it, I’m going to give it a try.

I don’t need a narrator who turns on the fireworks with legions of character voices – although it is a vastly entertaining feat worth mentioning, particularly if they are all human! I’d much rather hear the emotional story of each character – through timbre, pausing and pacing, a voice that changes with what is going on in the novel. 

Here’s what I said about Charles Leggett reading A Pale Blue Eye: “There is an underlayer of unexplained grief.” About Simon Prebble reading one of Anthony Horowitz’s teen novels:  “He can infuse some serious schlock with true emotion: I suffer listening to Prebble read Horowitz.”  Jenny Stirlin reading Doomsday Book: “Sterlin is riveting, with a voice full of compassion and tension.” And Dion Graham, reading Peace, Locomotion: “You can hear the undercurrent of laughter or sadness every time Lonnie signs off his letters.”

I can nothing but admire people who can deliver these vividly real emotional arcs using nothing but their voice.  Bravo!

No need to answer the other parts of this question – I’ll listen to ‘em all.


Laurie C said...

I've listened to the Anthony Horowitz Gatekeeper series on audio and the author has left readers hanging waiting for the next and final book. Maybe I only liked them because of Simon Prebble!?? It's possible!

Jen (Devourer of Books) said...

Dion Graham has a really lovely voice.