Here’s a great reading by Garrison Keillor of George Orwell’s essay “A Hanging.” It’s an audio produced for Lapham’s Quarterly, a magazine of history and ideas. Keillor’s voice, his inflections, riveted me to the 10 to 15 minute reading , stopping me mid-multi-tasking to devote my attention to it. A must listen.
For dog lovers, there’s an all-at-once delightful yet shocking scene where a large wooly dog gallops playfully toward the prisoner.
The essay begins …
“It was in Burma, a sodden morning of the rains. A sickly light, like yellow tinfoil, was slanting over the high walls into the jail yard. We were waiting outside the condemned cells, a row of sheds fronted with double bars, like small animal cages. Each cell measured about ten feet by ten and was quite bare within except for a plank bed and a pot of drinking water. In some of them brown silent men were squatting at the inner bars, with their blankets draped round them. These were the condemned men, due to be hanged within the next week or two.”
This post was changed 5.30.11 and 10.3.11 to update the URL to the audio.