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This audiobook is a perfect example of how to artfully narrate a classic, and I was delighted to see it offered on audio. The reader gets the accents right, can pronounce everything he has to, and more importantly hits the perfect tone, not overacting the dialogue or injecting pathos, which lesser readers would be tempted to do. Instead, there's a restraint to the narration, which makes the few places where he does indulge a character voice, such as the super-bad King Barlo in the "Esther" story, all the more impactful. I found myself easily slipping into Toomer's imagistic trance, not pulled out by any affectations of delivery. Bravo Sean Crisden!
It should be noted that this is a complex, experimental book that rewards rereading. I'm not sure if listening is the way to go if it's your first time through, but as someone who has read and reread this book over the years, I loved hearing this audio version. It took me deeper into the text that reading alone has. I found the reader especially good with the poetry, where again the reader resisted over-emoting. The last section, Kabnis is a bit plodding, as it is written like a play, and the narrative doesn't always flow. But this is no fault of the reader; it's the text as Toomer wrote it.
Too often, classic, challenging works are severely botched in their audio versions. I hope producers and actors will follow the example that this one sets.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Toomer's CANE contains some of the most musical language in Black lit. So musical in fact that Gil Scott-Heron put it to music in the late seventies. This reader erases every trace of music from the text. It's virtually unlistenable. I don't imagine I'll buy anything else read by this narrator.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful