Saturday, May 14, 2011

"The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe

Source: Telltale Weekly (mp3)
Length: 18 minutes
Reader: Alex Wilson

The story: Along with "The Most Dangerous Game", which I reviewed last week, this story had a great impact on me as a young reader in school. The story, for those few not familiar with it, is a first-person account of a man who, despite his protestations of being sane, murders an old man. Within a week after first reading it, I had borrowed an anthology of Edgar Allan Poe stories and started reading my way through them.

One of the things that grabbed my attention about this story was the scraps of detail he throws out in a otherwise vague story. The sharp picture of how carefully he sneaked into the old man's room is sharply contrasted with the sketchy outlines of who the narrator is and what relationship he has to the old man. I think what is most scary to me is that the narrator has no apparent motive. I can usually sleep soundly at night because I know there is no one who rationally would want to kill me, but the thought that I might be awoken in the silence of midnight by someone with no reason is chilling.

Rating: 9 /10

The reader: Coming from a site called Telltale Weekly, the reading of "A Tell Tale Heart" must be top-notch. Performing an unreliable narrator, particularly one who is insane, is a difficult task, since it's so easy (and fun for the actor) to go overboard with the lunacy. Alex Wilson gives a chilling performance as the narrator, laying a veneer of sanity over the madness within. The recording is well produced and available for free in several different formats from the Tell-Tale Weekly website linked above.

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