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  • Writer's pictureToby

Caricaturized again

The image to the left is a good representation of the audio sample I heard for Dark Roux (launched 3/2). It's innocent enough, seeing something and trying to replicate it with the tools and abilities at hand. But unlike the child in the picture, the person who read my book for over 14 hours to Audible did not take the time to better understand the context of culture the novel was set in.

It's hard to name all the things I felt as I listened. The first was amusement. (How did someone hear that voice in their head?) The second was shock. (Did they intentionally step into stereotypes?) The third was anger. The reasons here are many, but the main one is set in not understanding that this is what I wrote the novel for in the first place: to get past Cajun caricatures. I am glad the sample did not include parts in Louisiana French. I couldn't hear my home's language so thoughtlessly butchered that way.

But maybe the worst feeling I feel is a touch of powerlessness that turns into apathy. Kind of like, "Well, there it is again." If y'all need someone to help you hear the characters, I'd be happy to call you and do a reading. Or maybe you come come to one I'm at soon.

Edit: The voice actor responded to a recent Twitter post from my publisher to share how much the book meant to them as it is something their family is going through. I am very happy they connected with the book in this way. I would love to have a conversation over a bowl of jambalaya or cup of thick coffee so they could hear what a real Cajun accent, and our French, sounds like.

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