The Mission Song
John Le Carre, , read by David Oyelowo. . Hachette Audio, $39.98 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59483-566-7
Bruno Salvo, the illegitimate son of an Irish missionary father and a Congolese mother, is one of le Carré's most interesting lead characters—and one of the most difficult for an actor to bring to life using just his voice. Fortunately, Oyelowo, a veteran of everything from televised comedy to live Shakespeare, has the ability to quickly catch and transmit to listeners the many elements of Bruno's essence in this moving and surprisingly amusing audio version of arguably the author's least typical novel. Oyelowo never falters in presenting the many other characters who flesh out the story, from the Roman mentor who shapes the orphaned Bruno's future as a professional interpreter of African tribal languages to the British intelligence agents who eventually recruit him. Oyelowo positively shines with recognizable truth as he shrewdly recreates Bruno's growing awareness of the power this knowledge gives him—personally, politically and socially. It would be difficult for any other actor, even one with more star power, to take Bruno Salvo into film or television without us hearing Oyelowo's voice in our heads while we watch.
Reviewed on: 12/04/2006
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