Read by Laurel Lefkow & Trei Taylor
Gertrude Stein’s pioneering triptych Three Lives portrays the lives of three working-class women in the fictional American town of Bridgepoint (Baltimore). A progenitor of the ‘stream of consciousness’ technique later adopted by Joyce and Woolf, Stein takes us into the minds of three distinct women, who are each trapped in their societal positions. ‘The Good Anna’ follows a stern but kind German immigrant, ‘Melanctha’ the tragic life of an African-American woman of the same name, and ‘The Gentle Lena’ a dreamy and unopinionated servant whose passiveness becomes her undoing. The non-linear narratives, with their syntactical repetition and de-emphasis on plot, were unique for their time and owed much to the author’s friendships with the artists Cézanne, Picasso and Matisse.
Running Time: 8 h 49 m
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Digital ISBN: 978-1-78198-400-0 Cat. no.: NA0536 Produced by: John Foley (‘The Good Anna’ and ‘The Gentle Lena’) and Aubree Wisley (‘Melanctha’) Edited by: ‘The Good Anna’ and ‘The Gentle Lena’: edited and mastered by Andrew Riches. ‘Melanctha’: edited by Bob Evoniuk, mastered by Andrew Riches BISAC: FIC004000 BIC: FC Released: June 22
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Laurel Lefkow and Trei Taylor share the narration of this story collection with equal skill. In each of the three stories, Taylor or Lefkow delivers a portrait of a life. In ‘The Good Anna’ and ‘The Gentle Lena’, Lefkow offers confident, precise performances. Her voice and pace are consistent and easy to follow. In ‘Melanctha’, Taylor shows similar talents; her voice is beautiful and alive with emotion. Stein’s style may work well for some listeners, but others may find that the works drag. Details are often minute and repetitive, and even the most skilled narrator might struggle to keep listeners engaged. Nonetheless, this production could serve as an accessible introduction to Stein.