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August/September 2020

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August/September 2020 n 27 UNIVERSE OF TWO Stephen P. Kiernan Read by Cassandra Campbell Cassandra Campbell gives a stellar per- formance of this audiobook, set mainly in 1940s Los Alamos, New Mexico. The story is loosely based on the life of 19-year-old mathematician Charlie Fisk, who played a crucial role in the design of the detonator for the atomic bomb. The point of view alternates between Charlie and his sympathetic wife, Brenda, a musician. The sensations of their heady romance are superbly captured by Campbell. She clearly delivers complex scientific terminology and philosophical discourse while creating a vibrant portrait of the increasingly tense atmosphere at Los Alamos as "the gadget" is being developed. The distinctive accents and speech patterns of the mostly male scientists, who come from several nations and all over the U.S., are expertly rendered by Campbell. M.J. Harper Audio 15.25 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9780063016019 $29.99 REDHEAD BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD Anne Tyler Read by MacLeod Andrews Tyler's latest audiobook is a small novel about Micah Mortimer, a bach- elor fussbudget in his mid-40s who is reevaluating his life. Although narra- tor MacLeod Andrews has a tendency to replace commas with periods when introducing dialogue, he gives the diverse cast of characters unique voices. Micah, the youngest child and only son in a family with four older sisters, has a detached tone. He sounds patient with the tenants of the apartment building he manages and with the clients of his Tech Wizard business. Andrews also captures the admiration and amazement of the Travel Gods who live in Micah's head and compliment his every move while driving. Brink, the young man who appears at his door thinking Micah is his father, sounds like the floundering, frustrated teenager he is. This is a small novel with a big heart. N.E.M. Random House Audio 4.75 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9780593170731 $35.00 (also DD) Books on Tape Library Ed.: DD ISBN 9780593170755 $66.50 STRANGE HOTEL Eimear McBride Read by Eimear McBride Award-winning author Eimear McBride introspectively delivers her emotionally charged novella about a middle-aged woman who frequents hotels. In a stream-of-consciousness style, McBride introduces listeners to an unnamed female character who checks in and out of hotels in different places around the world—such as Avignon, Austin, Auckland, Moscow, and Oslo—to run away from a past she only vaguely men- tions. To cope, the unnamed character indulges in casual sex with men and smoking. The narrative is complex, but McBride's indulgent tone, modulated voice, and on-point pacing carry it for- ward and make it appeal to listeners' emotions. This poignant story of love, loss, and self-exploration will linger in listeners' minds. A.C. Macmillan Audio 3.75 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9781250757487 $19.99 LITTLE EYES Samanta Schweblin Read by Cassandra Campbell Narrator Cassandra Campbell portrays a cast of characters from around the world in a work of speculative fiction that addresses the ubiquity of technology. Virtual pets, called "kentukis," allow a stranger from somewhere else in the world to control everything the pet sees, while the owner can choose how much or how little to share. Campbell's narration is immersive. The listener feels transported from Spain to Sweden and to Brazil as she seamlessly slips between the third-person narrative and the dialogue, using accents and inflec- tion to reflect locale and, more importantly, the age of the characters. This story encour- ages listeners to grapple with how they themselves use technology. A.R.F. Penguin Audio 7 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9780593211410 $17.50 Books on Tape Library Ed.: DD ISBN 9780593211427 $57.00 THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB'S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES Grady Hendrix Read by Bahni Turpin There's an air of disquiet in Bahni Turpin's charming Southern drawl in this edgy story about darkness that lurks where we least expect it. Patricia Campbell is the devoted housewife of a neglectful husband, the mother of ungrateful teen- agers, and the tired caretaker of her ailing mother-in-law in a town where her only excitement is her book club. Turpin's narration captures the building chaos in Patricia's subdued and superficial life as Mrs. Savage chews off her ear (liter- ally); a soft-spoken, unassuming stranger moves into the quiet town; and the gen- teel members of the book club, called Belles, turn into a sisterhood of vampire slayers. Turpin's delightful rendition of the ensuing gore, crisp expletives, and eerie suspense of this horror story, which touches on themes of gender, class, and race, makes for an enthralling listening experience. M.F. Blackstone Audio 13.75 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781094136943 9780593170755 (also MP3, DD) Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781094136936 Fiction A stellar performance. Tune into our quick daily podcast audiofilemagazine.com/podcast BEHIND THE MIC

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