The Commoner

John Burnham Schwartz, Author, Janet Song, Read by
John Burnham Schwartz, Author, Janet Song, Read by , read by Janet Song. Random House Audio $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7393-5873-3
Reviewed on: 03/31/2008
Release date: 01/01/2008

Schwartz's novel of the young woman, not of royal heritage, chosen to marry Japan's crown prince after WWII, is a delicate portrait of a simultaneously blessed and circumscribed existence. The book is written in the first person, making a female reader the obvious choice, and Janet Song rises to the occasion. Song's voice—hushed, placid, deeply gentle—lends a minimalist beauty to Schwartz's novel. Song thankfully skips the accents and stylized voices, choosing to emphasize a careful, vigorous reading that conveys a (perhaps stereotypically Western) sense of Japanese calm. The result is a deeply soothing reading. Simultaneous release with the Doubleday/Talese hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 22, 2007). (Jan.)

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