Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (for the narration)
Date Read: March 30 to 31, 2015
Read Count: lots
Recommended for: fans of the show Sleepy Hollow
So good. Haunting and whimsical. Tom Mison has the perfect voice and intonation for this story (because he is Ichabod Crane). Although the story is told in third-person, Mison remains in character from start to finish as the Ichabod Crane he plays in the show. So if you like him in the show, then listening to him read the story is exactly like having Ichabod recount the story of his life in Sleepy Hollow. What’s unique about Mison’s narration is that he presents Icabod as a layered, nuanced character who is full of wonder and ahead of his time. As a character trapped in his time, Ichabod must abide by society’s prim and proper lifestyle, but what he really wants is the freedom to explore. So Sleepy Hollow suited him just fine. It’s a small secluded town full of mystique and “alleged” hauntings. Everything about the locale and history interested him and brought out a sense of wonder.
What I like most about Mison’s reading is how close it is to how I see Ichabod Crane. I’ve always imagined him as a bumbling professor from the backwoods with a morbid youthful glee that’s at odds with Washington Irving’s stiff, puritanical writing style. There’s just something about the character that’s curious and mischievous, but that side of him isn’t shown much due to the prudish writing. At the beginning of the story, Ichabod was a learned man of logic and science, though not entirely adverse to witchcraft or the supernatural; he was, after all, full of wonder and ahead of his time. When the natural and the supernatural coalesced in Sleepy Hollow, however, he couldn’t separate fact from fiction and thus began to lose that sense of wonder. It’s one thing to believe in the supernatural and entertain the idea of facing it head on while never encountering it directly; it’s another thing to see it for yourself and having it shatter your romantic illusions. The change is subtle and gradual, but deeply felt in Mison’s narration. And for that, five stars.