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Publisher's Summary

Letters from Hawaii contains a collection of letters Mark Twain wrote for a newspaper publication - from a long, turbulent journey to the island to his encounters with the islanders and the myriad Englishmen who have taken up residence on the island. These letters are sure to be an entertaining and well-written account of the humorous encounters and scenic adventures that Twain experienced on his journey to Hawaii.

©2015 Misson Audio (P)2015 Mission Audio

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  • mjhnsn
  • 15-06-17

for twain completists

I've been meaning to listen to 'Letters from Hawaii' since getting a taste years ago when I listened to Norman Dietz's reading of 'Roughing It,' which included some excerpts from 'Letters from Hawaii.' I waited till the unabridged version was available since abridged versions are so...last century. So what can you expect in this unabridged version that's probably been cut from the abridged version? I can only guess (since I haven't listened to the unabridged version), but here goes: Twain spends a lot of time writing for the moneyed commercial interests back in 1860s San Francisco and thus you're going to hear some arcana about the economics of steamships, whaling ships, and the sugar cane industry. In one of the longer letters, he also tells the story of the clipper 'the Hornet' that sunk near the equator and saw part of its crew wash ashore on the Big Island 43 days later.

So is the unabridged version worth it? My guess is that it's only worth it if you're a Twain fan and you have qualms about saying you've "read" a book when you only listened to the abridged version.

As for Robin Field, I couldn't stand him at first. Primarily for the lip smacking (which thankfully abated after a few minutes). Having appreciated Grover Gardner's and Norman Dietz's manful Twain readings, I wasn't about to accept Field's interpretation of Twain's sly humor by affecting a sort of feigned geriatric absentmindedness (Twain was 31 when he wrote 'Letters' after all!) Now, all that said, sped up to 1.25x and after the lip smacking was over, I settled into the narration and didn't mind it all that much.

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