December 2013/January 2014

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Fiction NIGHT FILM THE TRUTH Marisha Pessl Read by Jake Weber Michael Palin Read by Alex Jennings Jake Weber is an inspired choice to narrate Marisha Pessl's dark and utterly addictive new novel. He is at home in the noir, able to treat it as if the nightmarish confusion in which protagonist Scott McGrath finds himself is utterly real to him—and to make it real to you. Weber's pacing is impeccable, his characters distinguished so subtly that you can't even say how you knew that was, for example, Hopper speaking, but you unfailingly do know. Pessl's plotting is intricate and gripping as McGrath is helplessly compelled to pursue the truth about the "suicide" of Ashley Cordova, gifted daughter of a maker of cult horror films, who may be just eccentrically private, or maliciously manipulative, or actually demonic. Trust me: You'll care. B.G. Middle-aged, washed-up environmental journalist Keith Mabbut gets the assignment of a lifetime—write a tell-all book about a reclusive activist. Mabbut travels from England to India and back again in search of answers, all while dealing with his own family's upheaval—his wife's seeing another man; his daughter's involved with a troubled Iranian dissident; he's estranged from his son; and he's harboring romantic feelings for a former co-worker. Narrator Alex Jennings spans continents with a variety of European and Indian accents—always subtle, never caricatures. Jennings expertly puts the story first, a clever and enjoyable meditation on the publishing world, big business, liberal values, and the consequences of discovering "the truth." J.M.D. Random House Audio 23.25 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9780307932655 $50.00 (also DD) Books on Tape Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9780307932679 $50.00 (also DD) Tantor Media 8.75 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781452616094 $39.99 (also MP3, DD) Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781452646091 $83.99 BABAYAGA Toby Barlow Read by Dan John Miller Toby Barlow's novel manages to tie together Russian folklore, witches, p h a r m a c e u t i c a l s , a n d C o l d Wa r espionage. And it all makes perfect sense! His efforts are greatly enhanced in the audiobook version by narrator Dan John Miller, a vocal chameleon who, without losing a beat, transforms from a Russian crone (a babayaga, or witch) to a Parisian beauty, a confused American hero, and an effete snob. Miller also makes female voices perfectly believable. The writing in this work is outstanding. All the disparate elements come together for an inspired plot that would be damaged if one were foolish enough to say anything more about it. M.S. Tantor Media 14.5 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781452615875 $39.99 (also MP3, DD) Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781452645872 $83.99 Dan John Miller is a vocal chameleon. 30 I AudioFile/ THE FOUNTAIN OF ST. JAMES COURT; OR, PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS AN OLD WOMAN Sena Jeter Naslund Read by Barbara Caruso, Cynthia Darlow In this novel-within-a-novel both stories feature creative, thinking women: present-day writer Kathryn and eighteenth-century painter Elisabeth. The choice of two narrators for this title is delightful because both Barbara Caruso and Cynthia Darlow bring their considerable talents to their roles. The contrasts in characterization enliven the back-and-forth nature of the story. Pitch, tone, diction, and accent cue the listener as to which of the enigmatic women's lives is being depicted at any given point. Caruso's rendition of an eighteenth-century French accent is evocative without being overbearing or overdone. This engaging story is given new dimensions by the diversity of its narration. M.R. Harper Audio 15.75 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9780062295651 $27.99 WHO ASKED YOU? Terry McMillan Read by Terry McMillan, Phylicia Rashad, Michael Boatman, Carole DeSanti McMillan's vivid characters sparkle brightest on audio. BJ, who delivers room service in a hotel, has a husband suffering from Alzheimer's, a son in prison, a five-times married (all to white women) son, and custody of two grandsons whose mother died from a drug overdose. The narrators (including McMillan herself ) expertly rotate chapters, each giving different— though consistent—voice to BJ and her wide circle. Snobbish Quentin is black in color only and hilarious in his whitesounding seriousness, while Luther and Ricky are true-to-life kids who successfully navigate the "hood." Best, by far, is BJ herself, who sounds sublimely realistic, loving, and humane. Audio enables listeners to share the joys and sorrows of these engaging characters. S.G.B. Penguin Audio 10 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781611762013 $39.95 (also DD) Blackstone Audiobooks Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781482927573 $79.95 (also MP3, PRE)

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