Speaking in Bones AudioFile Best of 2015 Mystery & Suspense
While actress Katherine Borowitz listened to audiobooks with her children when they were younger, she admits that she doesn’t listen to them herself because she’s easily distracted. “I know people listen in their cars, but I don’t know how they do that.” On occasions when she has listened, she says, “I’ve been known to pull over to the side of the road when there’s an interesting moment.” A two-time AudioFile Earphones award winner, Borowitz has provided listeners with many of those distracting moments herself.
It wasn’t her intention to become a performer, although performing came naturally. As a child, she and her sister sang harmony. “She was 4, and I was 6. Apparently, we were adorable.” But performing was just a sidelight and not a major concern. “I was serious academically.” She double-majored in linguistics and music, earning her Masters in Education, specializing in reading and reading disabilities. Her interests lay in discovering the differences between learning to read and learning to speak.
Eventually, Borowitz realized performing was more in keeping with what she wanted to do. She got her first audiobook job narrating Maeve Binchy’s TARA ROAD. “I had just done an Irish play at the McCarter theatre in Princeton, New Jersey, so my Irish accent was really good at that moment.”
To prepare for narrations, she reads the book as many times as possible. Her scripts are “really marked up with nuts-and-bolts details” that help her keep characters and voices straight. “I could never do a cold reading of the book! With Kathy Reichs, I’ve got to look up hundreds of words. I’ve got to sound like an expert on all this scientific stuff. I want it to roll off my tongue. Only in that way will the reader follow what’s going on. Not to mention the accents!” Once in the same book there were French-Canadian and North Carolina accents, “and then, a part of the book took place in indigenous communities in Guatemala!”
However, Borowitz rarely marks performance ideas until she’s in the moment and actually performing them. “I leave that pretty much up for grabs. I don’t have time to fully inhabit each of these characters as if I were playing one of them on stage. I’m a believer in ‘less is more.’ It’s challenging to delineate those people without making the mistake of overdoing a stereotype.” She strives to make the choices that are as close to the author’s original intent as possible.
What is she working on next? “I don’t know,” she says. “I’m looking to the stars.” We can’t wait to see what the stars reveal.--S.J. Henschel
[DECEMBER 2015/JANUARY 2016]
© AudioFile 2015, Portland, MaineUpdate 2015— Narrating audiobooks is a natural for Katherine Borowitz. In addition to her training as a classical actor at Yale, her curiosity about how people communicate with language was put to work while earning a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics, and two Masters Degrees, in Education and Fine Arts. But Katherine is no academic. She has worked on and off Broadway, in film and television. From her first audiobook job narrating Maeve Binchy’s TARA ROAD, she was smitten with the recording process. Her one foray into children’s literature, Lois Lowry’s GATHERING BLUE, was especially meaningful, as she recalled the immediate satisfaction of sharing beautiful stories with her children when they were young. She’s also enjoyed an ongoing relationship with the books of Kathy Reichs, narrating nine in all, including the AudioFile Earphones Award-winner, DEADLY DECISIONS. Returning to narrate the voice of Temperance Brennan in 2014 and 2015, she most recently has recorded four new titles, including SPEAKING IN BONES and the novella, BONES ON ICE. She says that the joy in doing these books is meeting the challenge of inhabiting the many rich characters in Reichs’s stories, as well as describing the technical and often gruesome forensic details unflinchingly. And then there's the sometime Montreal setting, which provides the opportunity to speak her second language, French. Borowitz is the kind of natural reader with a perceptive grasp of the author's intent and the skills to capture the characters' idiosyncrasies with simple shifts of voice and tone.
2001 Narrator Yearbook-- Even with a busy film (2000 and None) and TV (regular appearances on “Law and Order”) career, Katherine has caught the narrating bug. After completing her first audiobook, Maeve Binchy’s TARA ROAD , in 1999, Katherine expressed sheer joy in the project. Since then she’s had a chance to narrate several books by mystery writer Kathy Reichs, DEATH DU JOUR and DEADLY DECISIONS , which won an Earphones Award. She seems to be a natural reader with a perceptive grasp of the author’s intent and the skills to capture the characters’ idiosyncrasies with simple shifts of voice and tone. This year Katherine delighted in performing Lois Lowry’s GATHERING BLUE , matching the author’s dispassionate tone and yet bringing the characters alive with perceptive understanding. She’s creative when needed and insightful to the author’s tone. -- 2001 Narrator Yearbook
Photo courtesy of narrator
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