AN UNFINISHED LIFE
Release date: 09/01/2004
Audio reviews reflect PW 's assessment of the audio adaptation of a book and should be quoted only in reference to the audio version.
A sober reading by Amendola and Marx fits the slow pacing of Spragg's newest offering (following The Fruit of Stone ), which uses spare, beautiful language to tell a tale of hardship, resentment and reconciliation in smalltown Wyoming. Both veteran narrators give strong performances, though Amendola does a better job than Marx in personifying the book's more idiosyncratic characters—such as the crippled cowboy, Mitch, or the spunky, nine-year-old Griff Gilkyson. A few aspects of the production seem out of sync, however. For one, the ominous music that introduces and concludes each disc is too heavy for the subject matter. It conveys a sense of impeding doom that would be more appropriate in a thriller or even a tale of imminent tragedy, rather than this ultimately hopeful story of tried but tender human relationships. The decision to use two readers also seems unnecessary, as the unpredictable shifts between narrators at chapter breaks shake the listener out of the story. Overall, the recording would have benefited from a simpler approach, but it still offers a stirring look at the importance of individual conflicts and emotions. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Forecasts, Aug. 9). (Sept.)