Gransnet forums

Books/book club

Audio Book Narration

(4 Posts)
Early Wed 06-Oct-21 18:13:47

I’ve just finished listening to an audio book that I didn’t enjoy. Much of my dislike was to do with the characterisation and plot but a good deal was to do with the narration: a female reader making a poor fist of a variety of male voices.

It occurs to me that this happens a lot: a female reader trying to read male dialogue in a male voice and a male reader trying to read female dialogue is a female voice. Too many American male readers make female characters sound like Marge Simpson. One of the few females to read well in a male voice (imo) is Juliet Stevenson.

When I read a book, I’m not reading dialogue in my head in different voices and trying to differentiate between female, male, old, young or effect different accents, yet the meaning is clear even when there are no speech tags. So why is it necessary in audio books? Would it be easier on the listeners’ ears if the reader only used her or his natural voice?

Anniebach Wed 06-Oct-21 18:35:45


MamaCaz Wed 06-Oct-21 18:37:37

I agree too.

Early Wed 06-Oct-21 19:40:12

Thank you Anniebach and MamaCaz. Not just me then!

Having grumbled about this, I've just started listening to Leo Tolstoy's Kreutzer Sonata (currently a members' freebie on Audible). It's read by Simon Prebble whose voice I like. He's reading dialogue between a group of characters on a train which includes one woman (at the moment). He's differentiating slightly between the voices but it's subtly done and pleasing to the ear.

Any recommendations for readers who do get a nice balance would be much appreciated.