My only experience with Kate Mulgrew, prior to listening to this audio book, was in her role as Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager. It's odd, looking back, that I almost never watched Voyager because Mulgrew's voice irritated the hell out of me. Needless to say, I got over it, and I became a big fan of Star Trek's first female captain.
I haven't seen or heard from Kate Mulgrew since the Voyager TV series ended. (I have some vague idea that she's on a new series "Orange is the New Black", but I haven't seen it, so... whatever.) Until now.
NOS4A2 is a rare example of how a good, (maybe GREAT), story can be made even better with quality narration. I loved this book, back when I first read it, (click HERE for my review). But I truly believe that Kate's voice as Charlie Manx, (and Maggie Lee, and Bing), adds a level of depth to this book, previously not reached. (Even considering the mispronunciation of Haverhill-it's not Haver-Hill it's Hay-vrill.) Ms. Mulgrew NAILS Charlie Manx's evil way of speaking-free of most contractions and unfailingly polite. Manx is a perfect gentlemen, as long as you ignore the fact that he steals children and he steals from them. (What, exactly, he steals from them, I will leave for you to discover on your own.)
Kate's performance of Lou, one of the main characters, has also added depth to this wonderful, big lug of a man. Starting his sentences so often with the word "Dude", (which Ms. Mulgrew turns into "Duuu-de"), just brings home his innocence and willingness to do whatever he can for his common-law wife and son. I loved this character and I love him even more now that he was given a "real" voice in this audio book.
Maggie Lee's horrible stutter is also brought home by Kate's gravelly voice. Between Joe Hill's wonderful writing and Ms. Mulgrew's kick-ass voice, I feel that Maggie is the most realistic and sad character in this story. Her suffering and attempts at hurting herself somehow became even more poignant when I was listening to this tale, rather than reading it.
This has never happened to me before, but I'm giving the audio of this book one star more than I gave the book itself. Listening to this story brought to it an entire new level of understanding and empathy for the characters. Prior to listening to NOS4A2, I didn't think that could be done. Now I know I was wrong, and I also know that re-reading a book via narration can actually enhance the experience. Bravo to both Joe Hill and Kate Mulgrew for the hours of pleasure that is the audible book NOS4A2!