Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thirteen Moons

On Monday I listened to this audiobook for eleven hours as I drove from Virginia to Alabama. I had checked the book out of the library before I went on my trip, so I switched from audio to paper when I got home and finished the book reading it instead of listening to it.

I really liked it. I'm glad I bought the audiobook, glad I checked the regular book out of the library, and am contemplating buying the book to keep and re-read sometime.

I don't know that I'd have read it if I had not begun by listening to it. I'm very particular about audiobooks as a rule, and usually will not listen to them. However, Will Patton's voice was perfect for this story, and I was a captive audience with 750 miles to fill. I'd listened to 2/3's of the book by the time I got home and started on the paper copy. By then I had to find out what the ending would be. But at the same time, that ending was coming at me too fast. I began slowing down, absently measuring the amount of story left with my fingers as I read - now only an inch left, then 3/4's of an inch, then 1/8 of an inch, then the final pages.

Usually I avoid Southern fiction. I'm a Southerner, and I know the people and the places, the freaks and the misfits that much of Southern fiction depicts. I'm not that crazy at seeing the weirdness paraded about, nor the ho-hum "we are here in the South doing nothing but living and scratching our hound-dog, Ol' Blue, occasionally." Frazier told a good story about Will, from his childhood as an orphan "bound out" to act as shop-keeper at a frontier outpost during the early years of the U.S., to his last days as an old man during Reconstruction.

The stories within stories were entertaining, and the main story was neither outlandish nor soporific (although a cranky reviewer at the Washington Post would disagree with me - Jonathan Yardley did not like this book - and I got a kick out of his review!) Now I rather wish I'd listened to the entire audiobook - Will Patton's reading was that good. Maybe someday I'll listen to the entire book, but until then I'm savoring this one as the most satisfactory read I've had since The Thirteenth Tale, although the two books are nothing alike.

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