Book pak Books on Tape 1998
CS ISBN 0736640746 $40.00 Five cassettes
Wideman's story has multiple narrators, each telling a story set in a different period, and it's not always clear which character is narrating: the black preacher fleeing plague-infested Philadelphia; the South African villagers killing off their cattle to keep Europeans away; or the contemporary young black man trudging up a hill to read the manuscript to his father? The prose is rich and the characters authentic, but the audio form makes the story even harder to follow. Howard Weinberger succeeds in capturing the essence of the characters as he picks up the cadence of their language and dialogue. But asterisks marking sections within chapters (found in the novel) aren't present here, and the shifts can leave the listener adrift among the many tides of this complex work. Perhaps this would be most meaningful after multiple hearings--or after reading the book. It's certainly an important book, but difficult to adapt to audio. M.A.M. ©AudioFile, Portland, Maine [Published: OCT/NOV 98]
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