Last week I was lucky enough to play my Irish whistle at a gig where people danced with abandon and seemed to enjoy the music. How much better does life get, I wondered? But then, a couple of days later, I came home to a find a parcel, which contained the new audio book edition of If You Were Mine. I had almost forgotten it was in the pipeline, so its arrival was a genuine thrill. I didn't listen to the recording straight away, just appreciated the beautiful new cover design. But eventually I slipped the CD into a player and was immediately enchanted by Jane Nolan's amazing reading of the text; her beautiful clear voice, and perfect diction, brought every word alive. It was a strange thing, to be listening to my own words spoken by someone else; up until that moment, the book, with all its different voices, has been completely confined within my own head.
A professional reading by a skilled actor brings a whole new dimension to the writer/reader relationship. According to the high falutin theories I have been reading lately, there are at least three possibilities for the interpretation of a text: first, the text represents the intent of the author; second, the text takes on a life of its own beyond the author's intent; third, there are as many possible meanings to a text as there are readers, because each reader brings their own history and perceptions to the page. You pays your money and takes your choice.
Personally, I have never been quite certain of where I stand on this particular debate. There are ordinary books that never seem to push beyond the intention of their author while others seem to change a little each time you read them. I'd like to think that the books I've written might take on a life of their own in the world, and perhaps they will. The point is that writer and reader are separate, only connected, in some weird way, by the words on the page. All I can say is that tuning in to the talking book seemed to add a whole new layer to that difficult- to-pin-down, reader/writer relationship.
If You Were Mine is published by Louis Braille Audio as an unabridged audio book. Jane Nolan is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and has worked in theatre, film, television and radio. In 1998 she was the recipient of the Green Room Award for Best Actress for her role in Faith Healer and in 2006 she was an Award Nominee for her performance in The Winter's Tale. Her television credits include MDA and Blue Heelers.