Blind for one day (2 of 2)



I am thinking about audio books, something that I do not really understand but is rather fashionable these days. I am thinking about Stephen King’s Rose Madder, in which the main character Rose McClendon escapes from her abusive husband and finds an unexpected career in reading for audio books.

“Your voice is absolutely wonderful!” [the person who discovered her talents] told her. “Low but not drony, melodious and very clear, with no definable accent – I knew all that at once, but voice alone means very little. You can read, though! You can actually read!”

“Of course I can read,” Rosie said. She didn’t know whether to be amused or exasperated. “Do I look like I was raised by wolves?”

“No, of course not, but often even very good readers aren’t able to read out loud – even if they don’t actually stumble over the words, they have very little in the way of expression. And dialogue is much tougher than narration… the acid test, one might say. But I heard two different people [in your reading of the dialogue]. I actually heard them!” (p.102)

Later in the book, Rose receives another compliment: “You have great voice management, but the absolutely incredible thing is your breath control. If you don’t sing, how in God’s name did you get such great control?”

“A nightmarish image had occurred to Rosie then: sitting in the corner with her kidneys swelling and throbbing like bloated bags filled with hot water, sitting there with her apron held in her hands, praying to God she wouldn’t have to fill it because it hurt to throw up, it made her kidneys feel as if they were being stabbed with long, splintery sticks. Sitting there, breathing in long, flat inhales and slow, soft exhales because that was what worked best, trying to make the runaway beat of her heart match the calmer rhythm of her respiration, sitting there and listening to [her husband] Norman making himself a sandwich in the kitchen and singing…in his surprisingly good barroom tenor [after beating her up].” (p.182)

There is always light at the end of the tunnel.


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