Title: Unfamiliar Fishes
Author: Sarah Vowell
Narrators: Sarah Vowell (with Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, John Hodgman, Catherine Keener, Edward Norton, Keanu Reeves, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph, John Slattery)
Genre: Nonfiction; History
Audio: 7.6 hours
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
I have been meaning to read Sarah Vowell for a long time. I have had my good friend Lisa’s copy of The Partly Cloudy Patriot for AGES. So when I had the opportunity to listen to her newest book, Unfamiliar Fishes, I took it.
Unfamiliar Fishes is the history of Hawaii from the time the missionaries arrived in the early 1800s through annexation. From plate lunches to infertile monarchs, Vowell covers it all. And makes you laugh throughout.
My conclusion is that Vowell is a very good narrative nonfiction storyteller. And while I really had no interest in Hawaii’s history, she made me interested. But I struggled with the audio. I think it is partly my fault. I wasn’t really in an audiobook mood when I started. And then I must have listened to it on shuffle for awhile because things kept repeating. And I was distracted by the many characters narrated by many people and the music (I still heart you Grant Lee Phillips) and I honestly didn’t think that Vowell was the best narrator for the story. Sure, she captures her dry tone and sarcasm perfectly (since she wrote it) but her voice was hard to listen to for long periods. I recommend the book but I recommend reading this one in print.