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Poe: A Life Cut Short

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An audio read for me, unabridged in 6 disks.

 

This is my first audio biography, and my first encounter with Ackroyd. I wasn't too impressed although until I read the Amazon review (1 star) and it's comments I wasn't sure if this was down to the content or the reader. I now believe it may have been both!

 

It was read by William Hope whose Canadian accent didn't quite make sense with Poe's voice.

 

By the time I was 3 disks in, I could see what would happen next, Poe would get drunk, lose his job, lose a family member to TB, miraculously come into a sum of money, enabling him to get a job when he would get drunk and the cycle would repeat. I can see the benefit to telling a biography chronologically, but maybe when this is all that seemed to happen there could have been more interesting ways of telling it!

 

Poe does seem to have achieved quite a lot in his short life (he was 40 at the time of his death) but I didn't really get any sense that Ackroyd cared.

 

I particularly welcomed the extracts from Poe's works which were included, I really wanted to sit up and pay attention at these points, rather than the rest which just washed over me, as I waited for those beautiful words "End of Disk".

 

Finally, there were some problems with the recording on the CD I had (tested on 3 CD players so it was the disks not the car!). On disk 2 and disk 6 the last few seconds of each "invisible index" track marking were cut off, often mid word! Very irritating when it marked the end of a chapter. I woudl find that Poe was "incredibl..." or "there was a return to..." and I guess I'll never know what!

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There's been a lot of Poe programmes on Radio 3 lately - a mixed bunch of anecdote and personal reflections, always too brief. Like the book and your experience with the recordings - an opportunity cut short.

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