Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood

By: Mark Twain
Narrated by: Elijah Wood
Series: Twain’s Tom and Huck, Book 2
Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 11-09-10
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

I was looking for something to read that I hadn’t read or listened to when I found this version of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), narrated by Elijah Wood. I had read a lot of Twain’s works including “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” as well as many of Twain’s later works which were very different in tone and subject. Somehow, though, I had never read Huckleberry Finn. It just slipped through the cracks.

I had already downloaded a copy by a different narrator when I saw one, narrated by Elijah Wood. The reviews were excellent. Many thought is was the best reading of Twain’s work ever. And it was as good as the reviews said it was, a nearly perfect narration.

This one was “paid,” but with all the discounts I’d accumulated, it cost me $0.49. Even on a bad month I can usually afford half a dollar.

I had forgotten what a good author Twain (Clemens) was. It has been more than 50 years since I last read any of his books, though I remember them well. Twain was the first author who had a uniquely American “voice.” His writing was wildly popular, at least for the first half of his career. After his wife died, his writing got a lot darker, sadder and less popular.

Since I read his books originally, I’ve traveled long and far through many genres. I was also feeling uncomfortable about the language used in his books, but I should not have been. He wrote the way people talked then — and sadly, many still do. A couple of times, the author creates a character who stands up and says what Twain thought.

Suffice to say that this is a remarkable narration of a remarkable book. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” supposedly takes place decades before the Civil War, although Twain wrote the book about 50 years later during the mid-1880s. In many ways, this was the true beginning of American literature, fully breaking away from English literature.

Ernest Hemingway said that: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” A hundred years after its author’s death, this classic remains surprisingly modern and relevant. Elijah Wood reads Huck’s adventure in what may be the closest interpretation to Twain’s original intent. His performance captures the “sound” of the language of those times, but also the confusion of adolescence and the discovery of an original moral center.

If you have never read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” read it only as a school project, or read it years ago — this is a really top-notch project from Audible. It is well worth the listening.

Categories: #Books, Audiobook, Book Review

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20 replies

  1. I’m very familiar with this reading, as I listened to, almost, the whole thing playing from you guys open bedroom door last week . Hope you step well.., I had a rough night!


  2. Certainly a Classic. I’ve missed out on a lot of them.
    Though I’ve seen a couple of movie versions of Huck, I wonder how a modern day interpretation might do things? I’m certain past interpretations had some censorship.

    “NARRATION by ELIJAH WOOD”. Interesting.

    This is the kind of thing I like to have in my car when I’m driving around.


    • It was a really excellent reading and surprisingly, language notwithstanding, it didn’t sound old fashioned or out of date. Maybe it SHOULD have, but didn’t. I always used to listen to audiobooks in the car. Now they don’t offer a CD player in cars, so I can’t. But we don’t drive much these days anyway, so I listen at home.


      • Marilyn, I have a USB slot in my. Maybe you do too?
        It’s very possible you can get any Audio and download it.
        I download a lot of stuff off the net (Mostly YouTube).
        I can convert any Video very quickly with AVC Converter –
        who have a Free version.


        • Audiobook products are HEAVILY protected. They are NOT fooling around.

          There ARE a few other recordings but most of them aren’t very good. The other competing company’s products were absorbed by Audible. EXCEPT for Books-On-Tape who went back to producing books for the blind. All the other groups were absorbed by Audible.

          The good thing is that Audible gives a lot of products away for free or for short money and free to libraries, hospitals, etc. I signed up with them in 2000 — years before they became part of Amazon — and I still have the same deal I had with them in 2000. They grandfathered me and have stuck with it for 23 years. Who else would do that?

          Fighting copyright battles is for people with a whole lot more money than either of us have. I’m not sure it’s worth it.


  3. Hi Marilyn, I have read Huckleberry Finn a few times, but I have never listened to it as an audio book. I have also read Tom Sawyer a few times. They were both childhood favourites of mine. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.


  4. I never get tired of this story of Huck Finn and the other adventures of Tom Sawyer!


  5. I read this about 10 or 15 years ago – although I had read “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, this was the first time I’d read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. I have to say, Mr. Clemens was genius at satire. As to language, the use of “the ‘n’ word” was needed for the satire to work – Putting that word in Huck’s mouth and yet seeing that Jim has become the only real father he had ever had, well, you have to have that extreme hate to go against the love that had grown between them for it to work.
    Anyway, I typically don’t do audio books, but this sounds like it could be a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ever once in a while Mr. Clemens stands up to a crowd and explains that southerners are totals cowards and will only kill people in the dark while they wear masks. There was a section I read to Garry. I guess he needed to speak up, so he invented ONE character who showed up to say his piece. Unfortunately, many of the people he’s writing about haven’t changed much. I don’t know what they says about Americans.

      The Elijah Wood reading is very good on a lot of levels. I don’t know how I missed reading it sooner. I just never got to it I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think I’ve read this one. Thanks for the recommendation

    Liked by 1 person

    • What is particularly interesting to those of us with kids is the confusion and conflict Huck feels about what he has been “taught” is right and what he “feels” is right. Ultimately, he says he doesn’t care if he’ll be damned — the official right thing feels all wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

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