Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Hazard of Audiobooks

Shortly after John Updike's death in January of this year, I decided to pay homage to one of my favorite authors by (re)listening to the quartet of Rabbit novels: Rabbit Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit is Rich (1981), and Rabbit at Rest (1990).

Initially, I was disappointed to discover that the compact-disc version of the audiobooks features a different reader.

What happened to Michael Prichard? I wondered. And who is this Arthur Morey guy anyway? I asked myself.

Someone who quickly won me over with the voice he created for Harry Angstrom, a pitch-perfect blend of the whiny and the cocky.

I'm currently listening to short stories by William Faulkner. The monumental, 25-disc set features 6 readers, including Arthur Morey. Unfortunately, I can't listen to any of the stories he narrates -- the dialogue in particular -- without thinking that Rabbit Angstrom has run to Yoknapatawpha County. And in a few conversations, it's as though Webb Murkett has joined him. Then the recollection of Rabbit's lust for Webb's wife Cindy gets me all confused. (When she stands, the backs of her thighs are printed in squares and her skimpy black bathing suit bottom, still soaked, clings in two arcs a width of skin below two dimples symmetically set in her fat like little whirlpools; the sight dizzies Harry. From Rabbit is Rich, page 63.)

Such is the hazard of audiobooks.

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