The Song of the Lark

Willa Cather, read by Christine Williams. Blackstone Audio, library edition, unabridged, 12 CDs, 15 hrs., $118 ISBN 978-1-4417-2437-3
Cather’s semiautobiographical bildungsroman about the evolution of an artist revolves around young Thea Kronborg, who leaves smalltown Colorado for Chicago in order to realize her dream of becoming a trained pianist and piano teacher. But her tutor, Mr. Harsanyi, soon discovers Thea’s talent for singing and persuades her to pursue that path. Along the way, Thea is championed and romanced by Fred Ottenburg, the rich heir of a beer magnate. Christine Williams is an able reader: her narration is clear and clean, though a little dull. More problematic is Williams’s rendition of Thea, which feels flat. Additionally, the narrator’s speech becomes breathy during emotional moments (e.g., a kiss)—a tic that affects every character, even the males. As such, it is often difficult to distinguish vocally between Thea and her beau, Fred. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2012
Release date: 02/01/2012
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