Digital Download Harper Audio 2009
DD ISBN 9780061806186 $14.99
This collection of unpublished essays and stories is a real find for Twain lovers; even the pieces left incomplete are amusing. John Lithgow doesn't make the mistake of trying to imitate or channel Twain, à la Hal Holbrook. On the other hand, he doesn't quite have the cadence or lilt or tone that would fit Twain; there's something too dry or stiff or abstract about his reading. Still, it's clear, energetic, and well paced, and his comedic timing is (no surprise) excellent. He brings out, subtly but plainly, Twain's use of irony, exasperated satire, and joshing. He shines when there are characters to play, though one piece, in "black" dialect, is rather painful. Overall, a fine reading of a batch of hidden treasures. W.M. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine [Published: NOVEMBER 2009]
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