Author: Washington Irving
Provided Synopsis: In the secluded Dutch territory of Sleepy Hollow, nebbish schoolmaster Ichabod Crane competes with the town hero for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel, the 18-year-old daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel’s farm one autumn evening, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, an apparition said to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper snuffed out by a stray cannonball during the Revolutionary War.
Review: Can you believe this was my first time reading this short story? Well, it was, and because I had seen the cartoon version numerous times during my childhood the actual tale was far from what I had expected. For one, Ichabod Crane was different from the versions I had been exposed to; I was surprised by his lust for wealth, which could have easily made him an anti-hero.
In addition, I was also surprised with extent of description within the story. Food is something that is spoken of quite meticulously, I would have been bored/skimmed during those parts had I not been simultaneously listening to an audiobook. The descriptions that did work for me were those pertaining to the imagery of the characters, with Ichabod in particular being very easy to visualize due to Irving’s words. Otherwise, this was a work so focused on description and not enough on telling a story.
The most exciting part is when Ichabod encounters the Headless Horseman on his way home. For this section alone I would recommend the audiobook narrated by Tim Mison for the way he made the scene truly come alive. I was thrilled with the ending and wished the final ride had been longer.