Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Let Me Weesper In Your Eeeer, My Leettle Flower

Yesterday, at 11:30 a.m., I started reading Lynn Viehl's (aka, PBW) If Angels Burn. Finally at around 1:15 a.m., I had to put it down even though I only had about 50 pages left because I knew if I didn't get some sleep I'd be kicking myself. Wow. What a great book! I'll finish it today and give it the detailed kudos it deserves tomorrow.

Since I enjoyed the book so much, I checked out the website PBW had designed to support what looks to be at least a trilogy (hopefully more) in this new Darkyn series. It's a very well-designed site with a handy message board where readers can ask PBW questions about not only this book but others she's written or just general writer gabbery.

The reason I bring this all up - and the topic of today's blog - is because of something I found on the website. Under the Books section is an audio excerpt from If Angels Burn. I decided to give it a listen, and in doing so, two things caught my attention. First, the excerpt is read by a male actor. For some reason, I found that this didn't work for me - I think I would have prefered a female reader. Have no idea why this is. Perhaps because the heroine in the book is the more compelling character for me, the scene is told from her point of view, and I guess I just expected a female voice.

Second thing, it really brought home to me the accent that the hero, Michael Cyprien, has. He's French and therefore (duh) has a French accent. PBW alludes to this in the book, of course, so I knew this to be the case. But since she doesn't inject all of Michael's dialogue with phonetic French junk (which would be annoying in the extreme), I kind of just forgot all about it. Until I heard the actor using a French accent.

Here's the thing. I don't personally find French accents very sexy or appealing. Or rather, I don't find them *sexier* than, say, an Italian accent or a Spanish accent or a Greek accent, for example. I know that the idea of a sexy French aristocrat murmuring bon mots in the ear of the heroine is supposed to be knee-melting, but not so much for me. Funny thing is, I took French all through high school and into college, and I love the sound of the language. I just don't find it especially sexy. Maybe it's because I always picture Pepe Le Pew crooning his love words to the poor unfortunate lady cat with the stipe of white paint down her back.

Honestly, I find British accents sexier. Give me Colin Firth over Gerard Depardieu any day of the week. This applies to any variation on English - Irish, Scottish, Australian. (Except not Canadian. Sorry friends to the north.) Listening to Jude Law speak is pretty much a guaranteed heart-pounder for me. Watching Alfie was an auditory orgasmic experience.

Another language that I've found surpisingly sexy is Croatian. In the ER episode Secrets and Lies, Goran Visnjic recites a scene from Hamlet in Croatian, and I just about fell off the sofa. Yeah, sure, the guy himself had a lot to do with it, but I never imagined Croatian to be a sexy language before that moment.

As for American accents, there are certain ones that work for me and others that don't. A sexy Texan drawl or a smooth Georgia twang is definitely intriguing. But god forbid the hero have any kind of New York accent. Reading Suzanne Brockmann's Prince Joe was a mixed bag for me - the hero, Joe Catalanotto, was certainly written as a sexy guy. But throughout the book Brockmann reminded me that Joe had a definite New York accent that if I could actually hear I'm sure would grate on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard.

(Sorry to any New Yorkers out there who I might have offended. It's not personal, just that a strong NYC accent rubs me wrong. If it's any consolation, I also cannot stand a strong Chicago accent and have instructed my family members to shoot me dead if I start saying anything remotely like the guys in the old SNL "Da Bears" skits.)

So I guess I'm saying that once a writer has established that a character has a particular accent, perhaps it is a very good thing that she doesn't constantly remind the reader of it, just in case the reader has a different personal preference. In the case of If Angel's Burn and hero Michael Cyprien, I'm just conveniently forgetting that he has a French accent, which is not hard to do since what he's saying is far more intriguing than how he's saying it.

As for myself, I have no accent. Really.

No comments: