There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to dual narration, where two narrators trade off telling the story. Think of it like improv. One person starts a scene, and the next person adds to the unfolding story without negating their partner’s contributions during the continuing conversation. It’s much the same with audiobook narration. One narrator tells the story from their character’s viewpoint, and the other narrator builds upon that, providing a complementary perspective without disrupting any of the power or point of view of the first narrator. There’s great artistry involved in this production choice.
Take, for example, YOURS TRULY by Abby Jimenez, narrated by Kyla Garcia and Zachary Webber. Not only do the narrators have to voice their characters—Briana and Jacob—distinctly, but they have to voice each other’s characters in a way that creates a cohesive listening experience. If that weren’t challenging enough, this audio includes epistolary sections which add another layer of complexity to their narrative proficiency.
SOLOMON'S CROWN features narration from Ben Allen and Steve West as 12th-century rulers King Philip of France and Richard of Aquitaine, the future king of England, respectively. In a dual narration that focuses on two legends of European history, Allen and West balance their characters’ physical and political power with the more sensitive dance of their romance.
Dual narration provides listeners with additional perspective, yet care must be taken to complement the other narrator’s performance. Teamwork makes the dream work with narrators Keylor Leigh and Malik Rashad in Kristina Forest’s neighbors-to-lovers story THE NEIGHBOR FAVOR. Not only do both narrators have to convey the beginning of the story via emails—not easy!—but they manage to preserve both characters’ different but equally intense emotional journeys. And let’s pile on the praise for their consistently awesome secondary character voices.
In EMILY WILDE'S ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF FAERIES, narrator Ell Potter voices Emily Wilde, a folklore scholar who gets more than she bargained for on a remote island filled with magic. Lucky for us, Potter’s narrative creativity extends to supernatural beings! Narrator Michael Dodds voices Wendell, a mysterious colleague, and helps anchor a story brimming with surprises. And did I mention that the story unfolds in the form of journal entries? Potter and Dodds get extra gold stars for working with this narrative format.
In a story full of reinventions, GEORGIE, ALL ALONG, narrated by Amelie Griffin and Alex Kydd, introduces Georgie, whose life is in flux and who feels like a mess, and Levi, who is emotionally distant. The narrators make it work by meeting their characters where they are as they begin to bridge the distance through dialogue, self reflection, and the items on Georgie’s bucket list.