For this assignment, I read/listened to Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. I don’t have much experience with audiobooks, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from trying it out, other than the obvious. However, I’ve found that I really enjoy “a-books” and that I am able to visualize the story much differently in my head when listening to the words as opposed to reading them with my eyes out of a book.
The production values are rather flawless in my audiobook. The voice actor (Christian Rummel) has many other books available on Audible and when I Googled him I learned he is a professional actor, namely a voice actor for video games like Call of Duty. As I listened, I kept thinking how if it were me narrating, I would surely breathe through my nose too hard or cough or anything of the sort without realizing, however this voice professional did not. So obviously, there was some scrupulous editing in the background because there is zero percent chance he was able to read through the entire novel so flawlessly.
The style was my favorite part. He very actively did “voice characterization,” bringing to life the very dry, lax subtlety of the story in a very dynamic way. His voice would change believably between characters of the same or different gender. Even though that while “occasionally readers are themselves celebrities (for example, James Mason or Jeremy Irons reading Lolita) whose name recognition promises to boost sales ,” the voice actor in this case is very dedicated to working almost exclusively with the audiobook medium and takes his work very seriously. While it will probably never bring him fame, it is funny that I never thought of reading audiobooks as a profession worth pursuing, but I am really impressed with what I heard in this book in terms of the scope of this blog’s requirements.
The conversational nature of the book is not lost within this audiobook, to say the least. All the while, all the actor’s different voices would stay consistent with each character throughout the book, and apparently he has a very convincing and impressive registry of individual Californian voices/accents. The characters sounded like I’d imagine the author imagined them. Everyone is so lost in this story, so detached, and the voice actor really and truly personifies this.
I don’t have the text nearby, so I couldn’t compare if every word is the same, but from what I remember when I read this book, it is not abridged or changed from the original. The author writes in a very lucid, conversational way and I would imagine it would have been a good experience for the actor bringing the audio of this book to life.
As far as what I experienced, I didn’t realize I would be so gripped to listen. It really drew in my attention more than I thought it would. I first imagined I would be easily distracted but this was not the case at all. It was very easy to get caught up in imagining the playout of scenes of the novel in my head as I listened. Perhaps even more so than when I read without audio. Definitely food for thought about the medium as a whole. If I could enjoy literature even more than I already do by tweaking how I obtain the narrative, then sign me up.