A Reader’s Respite has a love-hate relationship with famous actors who try their hands as audiobook narrators. For every narration we love, there are at least two that are disasters because – let’s be honest here – acting a role in front of the camera is vastly different from interpreting the nuances of a novel with only your vocal inflections.
When we heard that the latest much-hyped novel from David Vann, Caribou Island, was being released on audio narrated by Bronson Pinchot, A Reader’s Respite stopped dead in our tracks.
Bronson Pinchot? You do know who Bronson Pinchot is, don’t you?
Any self-respecting child of the 80’s knows Pinchot as Balki Bartokomous, the Balkan immigrant who stole the 1980’s sitcom, Perfect Strangers. And while we recognize the enormous disservice we do by pigeon-holing an actor (he has, after all, appeared on Broadway and in many notable dramatic roles over the years), it was our teen-crush on Balki that led us to promptly cancel our library hold on the hardcopy of Caribou Island and download the audio version instead.
A Reader’s Respite would be lying if we didn’t admit that a small, deviant part of us was hoping to hear Pinchot read Caribou Island in his Balki voice. (Thankfully no one allows us to make editorial decisions in this regard.)
Instead, Pinchot delivers a subtly stunning performance with Vann’s novel….not an easy task when you consider his dark novels are often favorably compared to that master-of-depression, Cormac McCarthy.
This isn’t Pinchot’s first rodeo when it comes to audiobook narration. He also performed Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War (Karl Marlantes) last year and What is Left of the Daughter (Howard Norman), amongst others.
A Reader’s Respite, for one, is very thankful that Pinchot has leant his considerable talent to audiobooks. Even if he doesn’t read in his Balki voice, his narrations are not to be missed.