Monday, January 14, 2008

Tappan's Burro by Zane Grey (audiobook read by Christopher Lane)

Zane Grey is all right. He's not one of my favorite authors (he tends toward passages of overlong description), but he tells a good story with interesting characters. So, when he appears on an audiobook like Tales from the Old West, Volume Two, with other authors I like (especially Max Brand), I don't skip him like I've begun to do with Louis L'Amour (who, these days, I find rather dry).

Tappan's Burro isn't going to make anyone a Grey fan, but it might make someone interested enough in seeking out more. Tappan is a lonely prospector who has two things in life: an instinct for finding gold, and his loyal burro, Jenet, who even saved his life once. But, when a woman comes into the picture, certain things are forgotten....

Grey draws a portrait of true loyalty in Tappan's Burro. Jenet is like you wish your dog was, loyal to a fault. Tappan even says about her, "It takes a person to be faithless."

Christopher Lane gives a solid reading of a nicely short novella (only two discs of the anthology's total of 13). The only part I'm not sure about is the ending — is it supposed to be a happy one? Perhaps it is, just not for whom we expect. There's a price for disloyalty that, just maybe, can never truly be repaid.

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