Monday, September 24, 2007

The Author's Voice

As I said a few posts ago, I'm rarely thrilled by readings of fiction by actors, who have a tendency to 'do' characters' voices, while self-consciously imposing their own (often pretentious) voices on the 'narrative'. There's a strange effect: characters and 'narrative' become separated in a weird literalness, when together they ought to form one organic narrative voice.

This morning Radio 4's Woman's Hour featured Edna O'Brien, whose The Country Girls is currently being reissued. Now, Edna O'Brien does not have a young woman's voice. It was perhaps one of the most moving things I have heard: a palimpsest of storytelling which no young actor, attempting to approximate the voice of the young naive narrator, could ever have achieved.
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