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The narration sucks and yeah this story hasn't aged well. It's an incredibly unconfortable listen
I first bought McTeague as a used book around 1980 because I had read that a great silent film that I had yet to see, Greed, was based on it. It took me a while to get around to reading it, but when I did it grabbed me from the first page to the last. The movie based on it is also great, by the way, which is especially surprising considering how severely cut it was by the studio. I had checked off and on all these years for an audio version of the book, so needless to say I was pleased to see that one had finally been recorded.
As expected, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story is very dark but frequently very funny. It added to the experience that I listened to most of it in San Francisco, which is where the novel takes place about ten years before the big earthquake of 1906. I was already somewhat familiar with the narrator, Wolfram Kandinsky, and always thought he was pretty good. At the beginning, I found myself wishing that a reader with a more spellbinding voice had been chosen for this book. However, that thought soon went away because Mr Kandinsky is an excellent actor. He's great with all the various characters and the variety of accents. He is also impressive at depicting emotion. Don't miss the wonderful scenery-chewing moment he gives Trina in the latter part of the book. You'll see what I mean when you get to it.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed this book years ago; was fortunate enough to have seen the silent movie; and had been looking forward to having it read to me. I have listened for less than 20 minutes so far and find that it has been absolutely ruined by the narrator to the point where I'm just going to go find a print edition. I can take a so-so narrator if a book is good, and even an over-the-top one. I could probably even put up with this reader's grating voice and missed emphasis on words and punctuation, but I just can't deal with his weirdly sarcastic tone. Frank Norris wrote this as social satire; his characters let you know that as they emerge; it doesn't need someone's heavy-handed interpretation. Be warned.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful