The Crock of Gold

Naxos. Mar. 2023. 5:46 hrs. ISBN 9781781984376. $17.50. F
One of Irish writer Stephens’s three original novels, this work was written in 1912 and is available through a new Naxos recording. Comprising six parts, the novel follows a philosopher seeking Cáitilin Ni Murrachu, the most beautiful woman in the world, who was rumored to have been abducted by the god Pan. Veteran Irish narrator Gerry O’Brien provides expert characterizations for the characters—the philosopher, his wife Cáitilin Ni Murrachu, and two gods. Listeners will delight in O’Brien’s lively tone and will likely appreciate hearing his accurate pronunciations of Irish words and names. Although the philosophical nature of this novel may have some questioning the overall plot, Stephens’s lush descriptions of nature make for a peaceful listen. This ground-breaking work showcases the relationships between men and women, humans and gods, and fantastical creatures like leprechauns. Running throughout all six books is the question of what makes women beautiful and what makes people happy.
VERDICT Although this 1912 novel offers phrases and ideas that may seem out of sync with modern times, listeners will relish the opportunity to ponder life’s questions while enjoying elaborate descriptions of the Irish countryside, read in O’Brien’s lilting voice. An excellent addition to any audio classics collection.
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