And the saga of my conflicted feelings for audiobooks continues. With a highpoint, admittedly, but conflicted those feelings still are. I spend a lot of time in front of screens for work, reading documents etc., my eyesight has suffered this year and since I, for some odd reason, cannot bring myself to cancel my audible subscription, I’ve decided to try listening to audiobooks before bed. And boy does that work! 15 minutes in and I’m fast asleep! It stretched out my “reading” time for this considerably, especially since I was actually curious about what happens next and had to rewind to the point I drifted off at quite often.
The premise seems simple enough, a man lives in a giant labyrinth of halls, some of the lower ones flooded, some of the upper ones high in the clouds. He shares that house with thousands of statues, each depicting various mythological creatures, but also normal animals and people. There’s one other living person and 14 skeletons he takes care of and treats like living people, while he fishes in the sea and talks to the birds. I won’t say much more about the plot, I think the less you know the better, but it’s a beautiful story about loneliness, reflection, gratitude, microcosms and what’s really important in life. There’s also a darker side to it, one that shows its face quite ingeniously through the innocent narration and left me shivering at points, so be aware of that.
The audiobook is read by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who does a marvellous job. Judging from the few audiobooks I’ve listened to so far, it seems to me that there are basically two main approaches to audiobook reading: reading the book like a presenter would, a bit detachedly, or reading it more like a play and acting it out more. Both styles have its merits and I guess it comes down to the listener’s preferences. Ejiofor does the former, but still brings life to the characters and as I’ve said before, his velvety voice put me to sleep better than any sleeping pill ever could.