Sunday, April 14, 2013

James Joyce's Dubliners - new audio production

Last year's book for One City, One Book was James Joyce's Dubliners, a collection of short stories set in Dublin in the early 20th century. Wonderland Productions created an enjoyable audio walking-tour based on the book. They've now adapted that as an audiobook featuring ten of the stories from Dubliners.

As a collection of short stories Dubliners is well suited to audio adaptation. Most of the pieces are about 10 to 20 minutes long, with the exceptions of Grace (2:56 minutes) and The Dead (46:16 minutes). I jumped straight to my favourite piece, the wonderful Counterparts. The other stories on the three CDs are The Sisters, An Encounter, Eveline, Two Gallants, The Boarding House, A Little Cloud, and A Painful Case.

The greatest strength of the production is the quality of Joyce's writing, but the voice acting is also good throughout and in some places excellent. Barry McGovern shows great versatility and skill; I particularly liked his Old Cotter and the old man in An Encounter. In addition to speech, music and other audio effects are used well. I've only one quibble: although it's standard practice for young boys' voices to be portrayed by adult female voice actors I don't think this worked perfectly in this case; in contexts such as animations the visuals immediately inform the audience that the character is a boy, but that doesn't apply here.

Conclusion: Wonderland Productions' audio adaptation of Dubliners provides an enjoyable new way to appeciate Joyce's collection of short stories. If you like the book - or are looking for a gift for a fan of Joyce - I'd recommend it.

The CDs sell for €19.99. The total playing time is 2 hours 55 minutes. Wonderland have also recorded a video clip of a scene from Counterparts for Storymap,


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