Last night I finally finished listening to the Audible version of Herman Wouk's classic, War and Remembrance.
This was my third time through the two-volume series (beginning with The Winds of War), but my first listening experience. I began the saga early in 2016, and mainly listened while traveling: on airplanes, trains, and automobiles. It was 102 hours of my life unbelievably well-spent (transatlantic travel helps). What can I say, other than this is easily one of my very favorite works of fiction? But it isn't really fiction, is it? Wouk has managed to plug his characters into living, breathing history; the times, places, characters, and events all happened precisely as he narrates them. When the time comes for my girls to learn about the world catastrophe of World War II, I am not exaggerating when I say that no other curriculum is necessary.
Upon completion, I spent a bit of time trying to find contact information for the man who so expertly brought it all to life: Kevin Pariseau, the reader. I couldn't find anything, other than he is a stage actor still working and doing voice-work on the side. I wanted to write him a letter of thanks, so I guess I'll just blog it.
Kevin, sometimes I can tell when an audiobook reader is just doing it because it's a job. Puts food on the table. I get it. In this case, I cannot imagine the work that went into reading aloud for a finished product of 102 hours. You must have really wanted to do this. And it shows. Your pacing is perfect; no rushing to get the thing done. There are a multitude of characters speaking plain American English, yet somehow you manage a different tone and inflection for each one, lovingly maintaining it with incredible consistency. I know who is speaking without you telling me. And that's just the Henry family. Your British accents are diverse and perfect; the German and Russian (in original form as well as accents), superb. And that's not to mention your singing from time to time, especially Udan's haunting Yiddish dirge in Theresienstadt: chills. And tears.
Kevin, I've long-since written Mr. Wouk to express my thanks for his marvelous historical testament. But now I thank you. Thank you for your sheer excellence. What an accomplishment! Your recordings will remain a treasure in my household, for we will always seek that for which Mr. Wouk wrote the volumes:
You have helped me to remember. Thank you.