Thursday, July 31, 2008

"The Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs

Source: Literal Systems
Length: 24 min
Reader: Ray Gere

The story: In a small village, an elderly man, his wife and their son are visited by an old family friend, a major in the British Army just returned from a tour of duty in India. During their conversation, the major mentions the Monkey's Paw, a talisman he owns, that is alleged to grant its possessor three wishes. Although the major tries to destroy the artifact, the old man convinces him to give the Monkey's Paw to the little family. The major agrees, but with the warning that no good will come of it.

Probably among the most famous short stories in the English language, "The Monkey's Paw" is a staple of literature textbooks. It's not hard to understand why. Even though I could still hazily recall the basics of the plot, the telling of the story held me spellbound. Even if you've heard this old gem before, it's worth dusting off to admire its sparkle.


The reader: Mr. Gere's reading of this story brings out the suspense of the text. He has a rich, melodious voice that is pleasing to the ear. As the tension of the story builds, the foreboding is reflected in Gere's reading, but without overdoing the spookiness into campiness. The recording is clear and high-quality. Overall, this is the work of a talented storyteller who is working with good material that suits his style.

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