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April/May 2018

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20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA Jules Verne, F.P. Walter [Trans.] Read by Bill Homewood Jules Verne's fascinating novel takes the listener on a journey beneath the sea to the far reaches of the world. The figure of Captain Nemo provides a dark undercurrent to the optimism of Verne's narrator, Pierre Aronnax. Bill Homewood's narration is truly delightful. His melodic cadence deliv- ers the descriptive prose e n g a g i n g l y , a n d h i s vocal characterizations a r e a l s o c o n v i n c i n g . As Professor Aronnax, h e e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y expounds upon scien- tific phenomena, adding excitement to what could be dry bits of text. Ned Land has a gruff, burly voice, while the mysterious Captain Nemo speaks in a slightly foreign accent. Homewood's narration invites the lis- tener onto the Nautilus and into a world of undersea adventure. D.M.W. Naxos AudioBooks 19 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781781980118 $89.98 (also DD) THE MAN ON THE MOUNTAINTOP Susan Trott, Libby Spurrier [Adapt.] Read by Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Clare Corbett, Rachel Atkins, Jeff Harding, David Thorpe, and a Full Cast Hollywood stalwarts Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones get behind the microphone and bring their versatile talents to this story of a holy man whom long lines of pilgrims desperately want to meet but few come to understand. In honest and soothing tones, Jones, as "Old Man Joe," skillfully draws out the hopes and fears of a number of troubled travelers, played by an excellent ensemble cast. Backed by original music and straightforward sound effects, Tucci's direct and gentle narration keeps this superb full-cast per- formance on track and flowing. A rare blend of down-to-earth wisdom mixed with fine acting and an engaging story— what a treat. B.P. Audible, Inc. 5.75 hrs. Audio Program Trade Ed.: DD $15.98 THE AGE OF INNOCENCE Edith Wharton Read by Laurel Lefkow Narrator Laurel Lefkow brings a calm and dignified tone to Edith Wharton's high- society classic. It's a novel full of wry comic observations on the social restraints that bind the upper echelon of New York City society, especially its female mem- bers. Lefkow contributes a fitting sense of intelli- gent restraint without sacrificing the warmth a n d v e r s a t i l i t y n e c e s - sary to keep the listener engaged and entertained. W h a r t o n ' s s t r o n g e s t asset is her sparkling wit, which proves consistently ironic and fatalistic, and Lefkow seldom misses a beat, ensuring that a character's twinkling eye or raised eyebrow is available to the attentive lis- tener. Though her character range is understated, a shortcoming noticeable only in scenes with multiple characters, Lefkow's sensitivity to character gives a constant lift to an insightful classic. Z.S. Naxos AudioBooks 11 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781843799788 $59.98 (also DD) THE DECAMERON Boccaccio Read by Simon Russell Beale, Daisy Badger, Carly Bawden, and a Full Cast Boccaccio's medieval collection of short stories finds new life in Naxos's outstand- ing full-cast performance. A gifted cast of 11 gives this production energy that never tires. Simon Russell Beale narrates Boccaccio's role, opening the audiobook with the author's own introduction. From there, the other actors take turns telling stories just as the speakers do, cre- ating a unique voice for each speaker as well as a variety of other vocal character- izations in each story. Nigel Pilkington's Dioneo is especially feisty and enter- taining. Another lovely detail in this production is the use of actors' singing talents to incorporate Boccaccio's verses. The listening experience feels as if one is sitting in the circle with the speakers as the stories offer a rumpus ride through fourteenth-century wit. D.M.W. Naxos AudioBooks 28 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781781980705 $128.98 (also DD) DUENDE: Poems Tracy K. Smith Read by Tracy K. Smith Pulitzer Prize winner and Poet Laureate of the United States Tracy K. Smith has a voice that is almost as beautiful as the imagery in this second collection of her work. She uses her voice well to clarify the structure of each poem and avoid the tics (such as that rising lilt at the end of each line) that make so many poets poor read- ers of their own work. Her reading is helped, of course, by the outstanding quality of her poetry—which stands at the front of contemporary American literature. If you already know her work, this is a chance to hear her interpret it; if you don't, this is a chance to discover something wonderful. D.M.H. HighBridge Audio 1.5 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781681688992 $9.99 (also DD) Poetry, Classics & Drama A chance to discover something wonderful. 34 n AudioFile/www.audiofilemagazine.com MORE REVIEWS Exclusive Web-Only Poetry, Classics & Drama Reviews www.audiofilemagazine.com

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