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By Doug D. Eigsti on 02-23-15
Christopher Aruffo Speaks With Poe’s Voice
I am reviewing this entire series narrated by Christopher Aruffo: Volumes 1 through 13
Some of the volumes have been grouped together. It is therefore possible to acquire all 13 volumes contained in just 7 different audiobook titles.
Since Edgar Allan Poe is such a familiar figure of American literature I will focus my attentions on the quality of this particular audiobook production. The sound is clean and pure. The occasional sound effects are appropriate and enhance the enjoyment of the stories. The pronunciation leans toward the British occasionally, as is justified by the characters, but Christopher Aruffo’s voice is resoundingly American.
Christopher Aruffo has a fine and versatile voice. His rendering of these Poe stories is wonderful and urgently demands your attention making it difficult for your mind to wander. Aruffo’s ability to voice different characters makes me wish that Poe had constructed his tales utilizing a larger cast of characters and with more dialog. I had always enjoyed the stories of Edgar Allan Poe but now that I can hear Christopher Aruffo narrate them I find that Poe makes more sense. It seems that it takes a faithful and entirely devoted rendering by a scholar such as Aruffo to get inside Poe’s head and then voice them for me in order for me to fully appreciate Poe. I do think that Aruffo deeply understands Poe at a level that only someone fully immersed in Poe’s oeuvre can hope to do. I even found that the many articles included in this collection were made enjoyable—even artistic—by Christopher Aruffo’s sublime delivery.
The HIGHLIGHTS of this collection include the following:
Poe’s Erueka (Collection 5) reveals that Poe was up to date with the latest scientific discoveries of his day. In it he expounds at length upon the nature of the universe and the primary forces that affect it. It is less dated than I would have supposed considering its nineteenth century origin. Poe calls this a prose poem and wished for it to be judged by the standards of poetry.
In “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” (Collection 10) Aruffo gave me such a shock in delivering the voice of the mesmerized M. Valdemar that I had to go back and listen to it again to hear what was being said. Here Aruffo enhances the impact of Poe’s story even beyond that possible from the printed version.
When reading “The Tell-Tale Heart” (Collection 11) it is clear that Christopher Aruffo is in danger of succumbing to the insanity of Poe’s main character. This is perfectly done.
Any fan of The Raven will find their understanding and appreciation of the classic poem by listening The Philosophy of Composition in Collection 4. This very technical essay will help you understand that this masterpiece was approached in a very careful and mathematical fashion. The result achieved was exactly the one designed. The famous poem is not included in this collection but extensive excerpts, given for example, make it seem as if Aruffo has read the poem.
Christopher Aruffo’s voicing of the title character in “Hop Frog” (Collection 12) is wonderful. I remember reading this years ago and not really getting the point. Now that Aruffo has read it to me, I can say that it is one of Poe’s most entertaining stories.
“The Cask of Amontillado” (Collection 7) demonstrates Poe’s great sense of timing. Also here Aruffo is spot on in his rendering of the tricky pacing. Here also is a fine chance for his to display his knack for character voices, since much of the story is told through a dialog between the main characters.
“The Oblong Box” (Collection 6)somehow manages to be simultaneously surprising and inevitable. And hearing Aruffo adds some heightened drama.
Bottom line: I recommend that anyone desiring to cultivate their appreciation for the works of Edgar Allan Poe obtain this quality edition by Christopher Aruffo