cover image Candles Burning

Candles Burning

Tabitha King, Michael McDowell. Blackstone Audiobooks, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7861-6543-8

MacDuffie reads this Southern gothic tale, which King completed upon her friend McDowell's death, with a honeyed Alabama drawl that rapidly grows tiresome. She puts so much effort into each word that the audiobook becomes more a personal performance than a reading of the book. Her voice, by turns exaggerated and grating, spills over the book's words, drenching them in a faux-folksy charm that overwhelms the authors' narrative. MacDuffie is technically accomplished, but her reading is simply too much, taking center stage when it should be content with remaining dutifully in the background. The result is attempted Faulkner or Tennessee Williams, more suitable to the stage than to the reading of a novel.