Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mark Twain - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Audio)

Title: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Author: Mark Twain

Narrator: Annie Coleman

Publisher: www.
librivox.org
First Published: 1884

Running time: 10 hrs 42 min 6 sec

Format: Audio Book

Rating: 6/10

Synopsis:
'You don't know about me, without you have read a book by the name of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", but that ain't no matter.' So begins, in characteristic fashion, one of the greatest American novels. Narrated by a poor, illiterate white boy living in
America's Deep South before the Civil War, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the story of Huck's escape from his brutal father and the relationship that grows between him and Jim, the slave who is fleeing from an even more brutal oppression. As they journey down the Mississippi their adventures address some of the most profound human conundrums: the prejudices of class, age, and colour are pitted against the qualities of hope, courage, and moral character. Enormously influential in the development of American literature, Huckleberry Finn remains a controversial novel at the centre of impassioned critical debate.

Review:
I downloaded this one from Librivox and it's read by a regular punter called Annie Coleman, so it's not a professional recording, but she does a not-too-shoddy job of it, complete with the different dialects for the various characters. Obviously, Twain wrote it in such a way that the accents are written almost phonetically, but it certainly helps with the atmospherics if the reader can get them right too! I'd never
realised before that this is actually a children's book, and this is made very obvious from the tone of writing, but it was an engaging enough tale to keep me listening.

I found it quite disturbing that the main forms of entertainment for ordinary Americans in the South during this period included cruelty to animals, feuding, rubber-necking at folks who had been shot in the street, and hunting down runaway slaves to collect on the reward money. It also distresses me that there was ever a time and place where it was normal to believe that for a person of colour to be free and able to do as they pleased was just plain wrong - it made me sick to the stomach to hear of it! On a lighter note, Huck struck me as a very likeable, amiable character who just accepted everything that came his way, yet was smart enough to know when someone was taking him for a fool!

It all got a mite predictable by the end, almost like Twain realised he'd been going on forever and decided to wind things up as quickly as possible, but there were a few laughs in there too. All in all, it was fun to listen to, and although I realize I’ve come to it backwards, I’ve decided to try The Adventures of Tom Sawyer too.

3 Comments:

Blogger em2histbuff33 said...

Did you know that many of Mark Twain's books are available online free like
The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc is available online here

3:06 am  
Blogger The Book Fiend said...

Yes, but thanks for mentioning it for others. I actually got my audio book free from Librivox - they have hundreds and hundreds of classic, out-of-copyright books just ready and waiting for download. :)

10:57 am  
Blogger em2histbuff33 said...

Thanks for letting us know about Librivox, it is a great site.

2:11 am  

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