For those of you that may not know, I’m a subscriber to Audible, entitling me to an audiobook of my choice each month. This month though, I’ve ended up with two…
After all the hype surrounding the film, I chose The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort. It sounded like an intriguing story, based on a real events, and through it I hoped to get a better understanding of quite how we’d arrived in this dire financial mess. Going in I knew that Belfort may not be the greatest writer and it proved to be the case. Sentences clunked and there were plentiful cliches but I could overlook these as he detailed his excessive and ultimately horrific lifestyle. He became a narrator who loathed himself but compelled you to challenge him, to like him, to forgive him.
I couldn’t though forgive the narrator of this particular audiobook. Clearly a decision had been made to attempt to ‘perform’ the book, to highlight the speaker at each point, a perhaps unnecessary choice when Belfort writes ‘He said’ or ‘She said’ after every line if dialogue. The speech is actually quite clearly signposted for any audio book listeners.
Instead, we had the high pitched voice of Belfort’s toxic wife, his child’s gurgling and finally an attempt at the voice of Belfort’s Southern black maid. As the stereotype unfolded, I quickly reached for the Stop button.
After returning the book, I chose carefully. I wanted a well- written, crafted book with an audio narrator I could trust. Step forward Robert Glenister narrating The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, or JK Rowling to his friends. Not only has this turned out to be a very well paced and entertaining read, with plennty of mystery and entrigue thrown in, Glenister has made this book come alive, with a thoughtful and restrained narration. Yes each character has their own voice, but none are as toe-curling as those found in The Wolf of Wall Street. I will probably return to Belfort’s book at a later date, but that will be a paper only read, while I am only a few hours in to Rowling’s latest, I’m already trying to sneak in as much listening time as possible.
Has an audio book narrator ever ruined a title for you?