Sunday, December 11, 2011

Haunting on Audio

It's telling that Bag of Bones is the only one of his novels for which King himself has done the reading on the audiobook version.  The decision is a testament to King's fondness for this particular book; the fact that Bag of Bones is presented as the first-person narration of a Maine writer of best-selling genre fiction also suggests a close affinity between King and his protagonist.  No doubt King would be the first to admit that he is no Olivier, but he does a fine job here of bringing his cast of characters to life (I love the raspy croak he employs to deliver the villain Max Devore's dialogue).

The audiobook uses subtle sound effects to reinforce the tension and terror of select scenes; even more hauntingly, it interpolates performances of the songs and lyrics of Sara and the Red-Tops (the fictional group so central to the plot of the novel).  Perhaps the most delightful element of the 20-CD set, though, is the lengthy interview with King at the end.  In this segment, the author recounts how he came up with the idea for his ghost story, and also shares his thoughts on Gothic fiction, succinctly positing that "the basis of the Gothic is secrets that are kept combined with appearances that deceive."

I encourage both longstanding fans of Bag of Bones as well as those new to the book to double their pleasure by listening to the audiobook while reading the text of the novel.  I've done so twice already within the past few years, and each time I've come away with a deeper appreciation of just what a deftly structured and beautifully written narrative this is.

No comments: