"The Wake" is one of the most incomprehensible of classic novels, so not even a bravura performance like this one can clarify the language and story. The very useful companion booklet by Naxos provides some orientation, but the listener really needs a working knowledge of French, Italian, German, Latin, various pidgins, Irish history, the geography of Dublin, and Roman Catholicism, for a start, to follow along easily. Having a copy of the book open while listening would help. But Barry McGovern, who narrates most of the audiobook, and Marcella Riordan deploy a marvelous repertoire of voices and accents, including some singing, so that the experience of listening does not require any (or very much) understanding. You can think of it as an opera in a language with which you are not familiar. Moments of clarity come and go, but, in general, you are merely submerged in a world of great accomplishment and beauty. D.M.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine [Published: JULY 2021]
Trade Ed. Naxos AudioBooks 2021
DD ISBN 9781781983669 $58.00
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