This makes me happy partly because of how fitting it is. A book like The House at the Edge of Night, which draws inspiration from a tradition of oral storytelling as diverse as Dickens, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and some man at the local bar, is meant to be 'heard' or 'listened to', even if the only voice narrating is the one in the reader's head. And it has also got me thinking about what it means to 'read' a book. In a world where books are constantly lamented as being at risk of extinction, I find it oddly comforting to think that someone could be accessing The House at the Edge of Night through a bookshop or free at a library; through printed pages, on an e-reader, a computer or a smartphone; in US English, British English, Russian, Czech, Danish or translated back into Italian - and, now, also, on a CD, read aloud. Which, in a way, is the oldest way of reading a story of them all.
Last month I was invited to do an interview for a magazine called AudioFile about the audio book. It brought up some interesting things: the oral storytelling tradition, what makes a good narrator for a cross-cultural novel which draws on more than one language, and my own long-standing love of audio books (which mostly has to do with being a teacher, a two-hour commute and insomnia, but is no less heartfelt for all that!). If you want to read more about how a reader can also be a listener, and how the audio book version of The House at the Edge of Night got made, the full AudioFile interview is here. And I also wrote an essay for the Books on Tape blog over the summer, which you can read here.
That's all for now, but thanks, audio book listeners, for surprising me over the last few months by embracing the book!