Review of audible book ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ by James Joyce

This is the finest audible book I have listened to so far. Joyce excels at evoking characters through their conversation, and at expressing philosophical ideas. His storytelling is engaging, humorous and clever. I did weary of his extended descriptions of Catholic beliefs, just as I wearied of the extended descriptions of cetology in Moby Dick.

This is also the finest narration I have listened to in an audible book. Some narrators imagine themselves as performers and contrive distinct voices for each character. Yet none of these “performers” is in fact a great actor, and it is often painful to listen to them — particularly to their attempts at imitating female voices.

In contrast, Jim Killavey uses three or four slight alterations of voice to distinguish characters in a way that is both unambiguous and unobtrusive. It is a true pleasure to listen to his narration. His pronunciation is clear and precise, as is appropriate for reading a work of literature. I was taken aback on a few occasions by his pronunciation of certain words (e.g. in-‘die-sees for indices, fair-‘rool for ferrule, and ‘poig-nant for poignant), but this is a minor issue on the whole.

(This review is posted at Download A Portrait of the Artist)

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