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Since my retirement I have been on a quest to read at least one book from each of the acknowledged "great authors." I tried listening to Joyce's "Ulysses" but had to give up. It was just too far out for me. Then I tried this version of "Portrait" and was delighted. It was a wonderful listening experience and I see now why Joyce is considered one of those greats.
A word or two about the narration... I especially liked this book because the narrator was very good and...He did not use an Irish accent.
There seem to be strong feelings among Audible listeners about reading non-American books with or without a country's accent. As an American , I like books read with an American voice. I don't think this is being jingoistic. It's just for me, I find that an Irish, English, French etc. accent gets in the way of the meaning. I like books read to me the way I would read them myself, and I certainly would not try to put on an Irish accent to read an Irish book, a French accent to read a French book etc. They may give a sense of authenticity but, for me, they also interfere with the meaning.
This is obviously an opinion and I know many people feel the opposite way.
So..bottom line.. I commend Audible for offering two versions of this book - one with an Irish accent and one without to satisfy both sides of the "accent debate."
21 of 22 people found this review helpful
This is the finest audible book I have listened to so far. Joyce excels at evoking characters through their conversation, and at expressing philosophical ideas. His storytelling is engaging, humorous and clever. I did weary of his extended descriptions of Catholic beliefs, just as I wearied of the extended descriptions of cetology in Moby Dick.
This is also the finest narration I have listened to in an audible book. Some narrators imagine themselves as performers and contrive distinct voices for each character. Yet none of these "performers" is in fact a great actor, and it is often painful to listen to them -- particularly to their attempts at imitating female voices.
In contrast, Jim Killavey uses three or four slight alterations of voice to distinguish characters in a way that is both unambiguous and unobtrusive. It is a true pleasure to listen to his narration. His pronunciation is clear and precise, as is appropriate for reading a work of literature. I was taken aback on a few occasions by his pronunciation of certain words (e.g. in-'die-sees for indices, sloath for sloth, fair-'rool for ferrule, 'poig-nant for poignant, and 'die-iss for dais), but this is a minor issue on the whole.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful