Retail pak Simon & Schuster Audio 1998
CS ISBN 067158121X $25.00 Four cassettes
To listeners' good fortune, author Edward Ball narrates as well as many top professionals. His delivery of this fascinating volume, although abridged, offers rewards that the printed version does not. Ball belongs to Southern gentility, a family ensconced in South Carolina since colonial times and once slave-owning plantation farmers. Driven partly by morbid fascination, he traces the descendants of his family's slaves, some of whom turn out to be kin. His account of his search and discoveries is part history, part detective story focusing on the human consequences of "the peculiar institution." All this another reader could have given us with equal clarity and aplomb, except for one thing. In his otherwise Apollonian delivery, Ball gives us the tone of voice, the expressive cadences of his interviewees, thus rendering subtleties of attitude he alone can give us authoritatively--and only in the telling, not the writing. Director Karen Fillman deserves kudos, too, for helping her reader do justice to this true tale with intimacy and taste. Y.R. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award ©AudioFile, Portland, Maine [Published: OCT/NOV 98]
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