The Grapes of Wrath is one of the best audio adaptations of any classic and is worth listening to or collecting for the serious audio-book-phile.
Written by John Steinbeck in 1939 The Grapes of Wrath is counted by most literary figures as one, if not the greatest of all American novels. The Grapes of Wrath is a story about the Joads, a poor sharecropper family who are forced to leave their home and hearth in Oklahoma to find sustenance in the west.
Set during the great Depression in America’s “Dust Bowl”, the novel has been dubbed as “the great American novel”, because of its vivid portrayal of the transformation of the whole nation. The Joads’ journey, which is filled with numerous trials and tribulations, is the perfect metaphor that brings out the tragedy of human poverty, humiliation and struggle.
Steinbeck’s classic tale is perfect for audio book lovers who want to indulge in serious and meaningful fiction. Many different versions of the Grapes of Wrath audio books are available from different publishers. However, the most popular one is the 21 hour long unabridged version of the novel, which has been skillfully narrated by Dylan Baker.
Dylan Baker narrates the text through creating different voices for different characters. While this makes some of the characters come virtually alive, it fails to impress the listeners in the case of other, especially female characters. However, the music, tone and the accent present in the narration more than make up for any shortcomings that might have been there and the book is an extremely good “listen”.
Baker’s narration of the controversial yet classic book is extremely engaging and poignant. The master storyteller is able to bring out the nuances that shade the novel to perfection while sounding concerned and emotional, rather than pedagogical, while discussing the downtrodden condition of the poor in
America in the 1930s and raising serious questions about justice, governance, power and the building blocks of a capitalist society