Review Blog

Aug 20 2009

Short Stuff by Mark Stevens

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Louis Braille Audio, 2009.ISBN 978174212. 4CD's, lasting 4 hours
Working Title Press, 2008
Mark Stevens' short stories are brought hilariously to life by the clear, funny voice of Don Bridges. I loved the coach in the first story, with reminiscences of Michael Caine coming through. The reader gives each story a different ring through making it memorable and inviting the listeners to stay for the whole CD.
In the first story, Henson longs to be a professional soccer player, and his time with the local soccer team is just his training time on the way to fulfilling his dream. Often his coach has to interrupt his dreams about his prowess. But on the Saturday that his team is about to win the local cup, his team taking on the Carver Hill mob, he wakes to a cloud hanging over his house. A few metres above his head, the cloud has a message and he feels impelled to ring the phone number emblazoned thereon. The Indian accent on the end of the phone line tells him to meet him outside his front door, and when he opens it he finds Finnias. From then on the laughs come thick and fast, as Fininas calls another person to log the incident with Geraldine the cloud.
Don Bridges' wonderful voice takes on the young Henson, the amiable Finnias, Amos the coach, various friends and family, beautifully. He modulates his voice to enable all listeners to hear the difference between the different people and the passages linking the conversations. His voice contains an undertone of humour which suits the style of the text, and his clear voice allows the listener to hear every word. As a filler in a classroom, as a start to the day, a lunchtime activity, or to borrow and take home to listen, for parents taking the kids on a trip, whatever the need, audio books like this are invaluable.
Fran Knight

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