Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Fox

The Fox

AuthorArlene Radasky

This was my second experience of listening to an audio book downloaded in podcast format. My first experience had been wonderful and I had high hopes for The Fox.  It started well: the story alternating between modern day Scotland and the people of Scotland at the time the Romans occupied Britain, i.e. my present and an area in which I have a lot of interest.

Although I had issues with the way The Fox was transcribed to audio by the author, the storyline created enough curiosity for me to continue listening on my commute to and from work. By about episode 9 of The Fox, however, I had found it too slow; seemingly dragging on for ages. Unlike my previous experience of a book in podcast format, I had to force myself to listen to the remainder of this podcast book - even though I barely managed to remain tuned in - just in case the story and/or the reading of it picked up. I am not sure there was a climax, or which part was intended to be the climax: the event in the past; or the connection in the future. The story seemingly just drifted off and faded.

The Fox centres around two characters, really: the modern day archaeologist, Aine, and a Pictish[?] woman Jahna, both living around Fort William. Jahna starts as a young girl, living with her clan, when a stranger arrives to join their community, Lovern, who it seems has the skills of healing. Jahna sometimes has visions, which link Aine to her along with a group of foxes. Aine is working in the area where Jahna's clan once lived, trying to get funding and help for a dig that seems doomed, as the owner tries to sell the land from under her ... and so the story goes.

The audio broadcast of The Fox was peppered with pauses in strange places causing a stilted flow - having not read the book (only have a .pdf) I cannot comment on written punctuation, but the spoken punctuation was awkward, jarring at times. The author continued to pronounce one of the main character's name, Aine, incorrectly: rhyming it with "aim", rather between "AHN-yuh" and "AWN-yuh" and I wish Ms Radasky had refrained from using accents for certain characters, in particular the one used for Mr Treadwell which was very muddled indeed. This is just a sample what irked me about the storyline, historical details and the audio translation, I am loathe to provide more as it's probably a personal thing; others may not have the same quibbles.

I am sorry to say that as the episodes came to a close, I was utterly disinterested in the characters, any resolution to their problems, and indeed hearing the author's rendition of the same. I'm afraid I won't be recommending this book in future.

Rating: 2/5.