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March 10, 2005

Review: Tishomingo Blues

Tishomingo Blues

The audio edition of Tishomingo Blues is just another reminder of how a really good performer can elevate an audio book. I've been really lucky lately, for the most part, in the narrators of the books I've listened to during drive time¹.

The story is classic Leonard -- high diver Dennis Lenahan gets into all sorts of trouble after he witnesses a murder. Enter the Dixie Mafia, Detroit gangs going franchise in the rural South, a risk-taking casino manager, and of all things, Civil War battle re-enactors, and you have this sort of popcorn mix that only Leonard can serve up. It's completely light fair, excellent for the drive -- but I'd probably never actually sit down and read Leonard any more.

Part of the reason is that even now, only a week or so after I finished it, the book is completely fading from memory. I feel this way about a lot of popular novels, when I read them -- they just don't sick with me. Compare that with All The Names² -- written by a Nobel prize winner, it's still sticking with me, haunting me after the same amount of time.³

That said, I'll remember Muller's performance for a long time, and mourn the loss of his talented readings. His voice was extraordinary. If you're going to be in the car for around 7 hours any time soon, this is a great way to pass the time. Just don't expect to be able to say much about it later.

¹Extended footnote: In this particular case, the narrator's story is a bit of a tragic one. In 2002 this reader, Frank Muller, was in a very bad motorcycle accident which has left him badly damaged in eyes, speech patterns, short-term memory, focus, and lucidity. It's very sad -- he may very well be the best audiobook narrator I've ever heard. He is perhaps best known for his narrations of Stephen King's Dark Tower series -- and indeed, King commemorated his work in the Afterword of one of the recent updates to the series.
²Review forthcoming.
³I almost don't want to discuss the book -- it's somehow highly personal.

Posted by Brett Douville at March 10, 2005 11:06 PM

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