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While (as the book's ending will show -- no spoilers here) the decision to have the story read in a female American voice is logical, the actor chosen here is not an ideal choice, as she clearly has a much smaller personal vocabulary than the author. She constantly mis-stressed and mispronounced words (steepled, basso, Hades, concupiscence, mountebank), substituting more familiar ones in some places ('connection' for 'contention', 'slivers' for 'silvers', etc). Surely one of the jobs of those at Whole Book Audio should be to ensure that the performance represents the book accurately, otherwise one might as well get a free LibriVox recording. I have decided to write this review (something I rarely do) because I have noticed the same fault on too many of Whole Book Audio's other recordings, and they really need to improve this aspect of their business (the second narrator in David Mitchell's "The Bone Clocks" was a particularly egregious example).
"Golden Hill" is set in New York City of the early 18thC and includes a cast of characters with a variety of accents, some of which the reader executed more successfully than others, with her attempt at Scottish sounding very East European. "Golden Hill" also includes brilliant set-pieces of performance within the novel: a Sinterklaasavond feast, Bonfire Night ("Pope Night"), and the performance of a play. In the last of these, it is central to the plot that two of the characters are much better actors than the others, but the reader was unable to portray the differences between the terrible acting and the great acting, flattening them out to much of a muchness.
I've focused on the performance here because I found it detracted from my enjoyment of what, had I merely read it in my head, would have struck me as a well written, entertaining, and unusual story. Until a better recording is produced, I recommend buying the book and reading it yourself!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
The narrator mangled the story..She mispronounced lots of words which became annoying especially in such a literary book. For example Colley Cibber was Poet laureate and the target of Pope's Dunciad so this would have been easy to check even if the narrator wasn't familiar with English Literature. She said his name several ways, all of them wrong. The producers should have checked that Borges understood what she was reading and she should have checked the pronunciation of unfamiliar words, even when these were quite simple like "wanly". Unfortunately it really spoilt it for me.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful