March 19th, 2011


Patrick x2

I’m “rereading” the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. The quotes are there because this time, I’m using the audiobook version, narrated by Patrick Tull. This rendition has received praises, and I thought it just the thing for a long plane ride (I was right). I’ve reached book three, H.M.S. Surprise, and noticed something peculiar.

For the first two volumes, Tull didn’t do a lot of voice acting. He used a slight Irish accent for Steven, and a little bit of the cockney where it was needed, but the entire thing was understated, yet wonderfully successful at carrying the nuance of the original text. If I had any complaint at all, it was that the reading was a little bit slow, not that I was in any hurry. But other people apparently were, because in this book, the narration is sped up significantly, really quite rushed, to the degree where pregnant pauses sometimes miscarry. Also, there’s a lot more voice acting, which wouldn’t bother me much except he changed Jack’s accent—after two books! That’s like, I don’t know, watching a show on TV and have them switch the guy who plays a main character while pretending nothing ever happened. This is a bit disappointing, and if book 4 is in this style too I might continue “on foot”, i.e., reading the rest myself.

By the way, if you haven’t read any of this series, you should give it a try, it’s fantastic. It begins with Master and Commander and goes on a ways.