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Clinch allows Kings of the Earth to unfold by jumping back and forth in time, with all of the characters adding different dimensions to the story by sharing their various perspectives. This writing style gives ample opportunity for vocal talent to shine. The listener comes to know crusty Vernon (Marks); Audie, the simple-minded middle brother (Wilson); and Creed, a fellow who remained trusting and innocent despite having left the farm once for a short stint in the military (Smith). Donna, the sister who escaped the farm and became a nurse, voices her anxiety and exasperation at the literal filth of her brothers’ existence. The condescending, obnoxious tone of Donna’s son, Tom, is heard as he congratulates himself for his ability to operate his marijuana production right under his “ignorant” uncles’ noses. After vivid descriptions of the brothers’ lack of personal hygiene, listeners will wish that they could jump into the book and give the hapless Creed some much-needed advice as he earnestly talks about preparing to court a local waitress.
The “star” of the story is gruff but caring neighbor Preston Hatch (Strozier). Without pretension, Hatch is the know-it-all who has never entertained the fact that he might not know it all. His need to opine on everything from the stubbornness of mules or what keeps marriages strong to the best places for Sunday dinner give the book many humorous moments. Listeners will eagerly await Preston’s next pearls of wisdom. Those tangential digressions, though, do not distract from Preston’s deeply rooted sincerity for the well being of his simple neighbors and his passionate fury at how the naivete of Creed Procter has been exploited.
In Kings of the Earth, author Jon Clinch weaves a sensitive story of how three brothers living in quiet, albeit dirty, simplicity can be manipulated by the modern world. Narrator Richard Poe then leads the cast of talented actors as they give depth and personality to the book’s small town folks, the lives they chose for themselves, and their confrontation with the grit and grime of reality. Carole Chouinard
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Carolyn on 07-17-10
Jon Clinch is a master. He, and all who helped adapt this book for an ensemble cast must be commended. The narrators (actors) brought memories of the excellent radio programs of my youth. Words brought to life. I would recommend that before you listen to Kings of the Earth, that you use a search engine to find the story of the Ward Brothers near Syracuse NY. These brothers were the inspiration for Kings of the Earth. Jon Clinch took a real life mystery and transformed it into a first class detective yarn. Congratulations Jon Clinch.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Denise Ryan on 09-26-13
Clearly I'm no learned critic. I found this story of poverty and filth and death terribly depressing. There were few characters to like and no excellence to be achieved. Lots of plodding through a painful and dreary existence. Ugh. No light at the end of this tunnel.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful