Monday, April 12, 2010

Audio books - it's all about the reader/narrator/performer

I'm currently listening to Clive Cussler's Atlantis Found, read by Michael Prichard.

And I must say its hard slogging.

Michael Prichard has narated most of Cussler's books, and he, as a narrator, is about as good as Cussler is a writer. Lousy.

(Yes, Cussler is a lousy writer. He's got a great formula, a great "schtick", but his prose is soooooooooooo horrible...)

I like to read bits of Clive Cussler's books. The openings, which from Raise the Titanic onward, deal with historical artifacts being found and hidden away. Then, in the present day, Dirk Pitt (and other of Cussler's heroes like Kurt Austin) has to find these artifacts in order to save the world.

I'm working on a book about the search for Atlantis, and I had remembered enjoying much of Atlantis Found, and so I decided to give the audiobook a try.

But Prichard's narration is so dry and uninflected and uninspired that I'm about to give up on it, as soon as he gets beyond Cussler's interminable prologues and gets started with dialog between the various characters, to see if he tries doing any different accents or some kind of acting, to distinguish the characters.

If you want to listen to an audio book to learn how it should be done, check out the books read by Robin Bailey. (You may have a hard time, my collection of his audiobooks has come from libraries, who de-accessioned them. A pity.) Bailey, who died a few years ago, read several Agatha Christie books, a couple of Ruth Rendells, and a few Catherine Aird's. And his voice was an instrument. No matter how dull and boring a prologue or somethign could be, Bailey could make it sound interesting. IT's like that old cliche of RIchard Burton being able to read a phone book and make it sound interesting. I don't know if Burton could do it, but Bailey definitely could.

Each character has its own accent, female characters have higher voices than male characters, and the narrator, 1st, 3rd or impersonal, also had an inflection. You never got bored listening to Bailey read a story... but this Prichard guy... his monotonous voice just goes on and on and on....

Having said that, don't forget to buy the book and audio book from to support this site: ; )

Here's Robin Bailey's work. You might be able to find them at your library...

And he's gotten to the dialog... and its just as bad. Argh. I've got to turn this off. Once you've heard someone good, like Robin Bailey, you can't listen to this low-grade stuff.

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