Friday, January 31, 2014

K-PAX by Gene Brewer (Audiobook Review)

Audiobook Reviews from Audiobook-Heaven

K-PAX by Gene Brewer cover image
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by Gene Brewer
read by Tom Casaletto

2004 Brilliance Audio
6 hours 34 minutes unabridged
Genres: general fiction
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews

  3 out of 5 haloshalohalohalo

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Imagine a time and space traveler from another planet. One that looks human and exemplifies the ideal world he comes from, a world free from human nature's greed and cruelty. That creature would be "prot", as he calls himself, the newest patient at the Manhattan Psychiatric Institute.

Prot seems to know more than he should about faster-than-the-speed-of-light-travel. And besides drawing constellations as viewed from K-PAX, the name of his home planet, "prot" can describe its orbit around double suns in unpublished detail. Who is "prot" and where did he really come from? Why does he have the ability to cure severe mental cases? And to disappear at will? And to charm everyone he comes into contact with?

Bizarre delusion or reality? Listen in as a psychiatrist who specializes in delusional behavior documents his sessions with the man from K-PAX.

(P)2004 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: While trying to help a purse-snatching victim to her feet in New York’s Grand Central Station, a man is detained by police. Having no ID and giving rather odd responses to the officer’s questions, he is taken in and later turned over to the Manhattan Psychiatric Institute, where he becomes a patient of Dr. Gene Brewer.

This is a very unusual man. You see, he claims to be a visitor from the planet K-PAX, which resides in the constellation Lyra as seen from Earth. He calls himself prot (K-PAXians don’t typically capitalize individual names) and further asserts that he traveled here on a beam of light. Prot proves to be reasonably intelligent, possessing a good general knowledge of many topics with the exception of astronomy, about which he knows a great deal, enough even to get earth astronomers greatly excited.

Dr. Brewer understands that this man has gone through a very traumatic event to have established for himself such a detailed psychosis and his job is to break through the prot persona and get to the real man inside. But prot’s alter-ego is so utterly convincing that even the doctor begins to wonder.

So here’s what it boils down to: I picked up this audiobook because I love the movie. I first saw the film several years ago and it has remained a favorite of mine. Actually, I only recently discovered that the movie was based on a novel and that’s when I went looking for it. Overall it’s a good book but I like the movie much more. The book is written in the form of Dr. Brewer’s journal and session notes so we get all the detail with none of the drama or flair that the movie provides. It comes out kind of like a non-fiction book. However, if you’ve never seen the film then you may get more out of the book. I gave this one 3 halos out of 5 but honestly if I didn’t love the movie so much I would probably have given it only 2. Give it a try and see what you think.

Narrator Tom Casaletto did a good enough job in his reading of K-PAX. Nothing special really, pretty much a straight forward reading. Just like the novel itself, Casaletto’s reading had little drama or flair to it but I suppose you might say that’s exactly what the book called for. His narration matched the writing. I didn’t find much info on Casaletto when I searched the internet but he is apparently an actor and has narrated quite a few audiobooks.

FILM ADAPTATION: As I mentioned above, I first saw this movie several years ago and I love it. It’s one of those I like to watch again every so often. The lead roles of prot and the doctor are played by Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges (a couple of my favorites) and I thought they both delivered great performances, outshining their written counterparts by far. If you’ve never seen this one I highly recommend it. While I gave the book only 3 halos, I would easily give the movie 5.

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Special thanks to source for this review copy. Audiobook review by Steven Brandt. This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook. Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.

1 comment:

joni said...

Isn't that odd? Movies usually don't do the novel justice but in this instance as I imagined, it's kind of hard to gather all the light refractions in words.

Great movie that really gets you believing. Loved it!