Putting the Audio in Audiobook

While we’re on the topic of the ways performance can fundamentally change how we process the meaning of an artistic text:

This concept seems highly relevant to audiobooks, no?

When reading a book in print, as much as layered writing can be open to multiple interpretations in terms of how it resonates, the reader is still beholden primarily to their own interpretation of the unadorned words on the page, guided by suggestive indicators in the writing.

But in an audiobook, the narrator commits to one reading of the text. As much as their layered performance can open up different interpretations, a listener’s understanding of the novel still becomes conflated with the orator’s chosen line deliveries.

How a reader engages with a book boils down to their own direct relationship with the author’s textual voice, whereas the audio of an audiobook acts as a subjective intermediary, altering the relationship between the two.

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