Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Wondersmith by Fitz-James O'Brien

Source: Maria Lectrix (Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 )
Length: 1 hr, 32 min
Reader: Maureen O'Brien

The story: On a back street of 19th century New York stands an odd shop labeled simply "Wondersmith." No one is quite sure what is sold there, though beautiful toy figures are arranged in the shop window. Deep within the Wondersmith store, a secret meeting is held shortly before Christmas to devise a plan to use children's gifts to advance a nefarious plot.

"The Wondersmith" is the type of racist and formulaic tale that sold lurid dime novels in the mid 1800s. The villains are evil gypsies intent on murdering Christian children. The heroine is perfect and noble as she is beautiful. Yet, despite these tropes, the story is exciting and chilling. It's easy to see why such stories sold so well to a public in search of Christmas entertainment.

Rating: 7 / 10

The reader: As the host of the Maria Lectrix podcast, Maureen O'Brien has years of experience in telling stories. Her podcast is focused on Catholic religion, but she also reads stories and books only tangentially related to religion. The archive features large number of stories, novels and religious nonfiction. All this experience shows in her reading of this story. She has a warm, expressive voice that she modulates for the different characters. She slightly alters the text of the story to replace a misused word, but otherwise the story is complete and unabridged.

photo by geekygirlnyc via flickr. Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives. 

1 comment:

Noel Jigeum said...

The summary is interesting. Sounds so mysterious. Well I wont waste time Im going to listen to it.