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Death on the Barrens

A True Story of Courage and Tragedy in the Canadian Arctic
Written by: George James Crinnell
Narrated by: B. Jay Kaplan
Length: 5 hrs and 52 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Set in the remote arctic region of Northern Canada, this book takes listeners on a harrowing canoe voyage that results in tragedy, redemption, and, ultimately, transformation. George Grinnell was one of six young men who set off on the 1955 expedition led by experienced wilderness canoeist Art Moffatt. Poorly planned and executed, the journey seemed doomed from the start. Ignoring the approaching winter, the men became entranced with the peace and beauty of the arctic in autumn. As winter closed in, they suddenly faced numbing cold and dwindling food. When the crew is swept over a waterfall, Moffatt is killed and most of the gear and emergency food supplies destroyed. Confronting freezing conditions and near starvation, the remaining crew struggled to make it back to civilization.

For Grinnell, the three-month expedition was both a rite of passage and a spiritual odyssey. In the Barrens, he lost his sense of identity and what he had been conditioned to think about society and himself. Forever changed by the experience, he unsparingly describes how the expedition influenced his adult life and what powerful insights he was able to glean from this life-altering experience.

©1996, 2005, 2006, 2010 George James Grinnell (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Fidge
  • 04-06-16

Just horrible

What I was hoping for: a gripping tale of adventure and adversity in the Canadian wilderness.
What I got: writing at a high school level, full of pretentious quotations and philosophy.
And the narration! It would be comical if I hadn't shelled out money for this book. Not only is the narrator unable to properly pace his reading, he actually mispronounces words! Two examples: the gun WHALES of the canoes and he REGALED (as in the Queen) instead of reGALING someone with a story. Unbelievable
I am annoyed that Audible would even offer this for sale. The writing is sophomoric and the narration is so laughable I can't listen to another minute - even in the car.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jacqueline Kennedy-Green
  • 21-01-16

Narrator ruins a good adventure story

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I wanted to hear the story, so yes.

What other book might you compare Death on the Barrens to and why?

Not sure at the moment.

How could the performance have been better?

This performance was the worst I have ever listened to. Think back to grainy science films that you watched in grade 5. A tone so monotonous that it was very difficult ascertaining where, for example, a character's quote started and ended. I literally had to force myself to listen as I was interested in the story but kept losing the thread of it in this uninspired narration.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

As long as it wasn't narrated by the same guy, absolutely!