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December 2012/January 2013

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Fiction THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY Rachel Joyce Read by Jim Broadbent Harold Fry's unlikely pilgrimage touches listeners with its indelible charm and poignant insights. Jim Broadbent is an ideal performance choice who achieves a remarkable mash-up of compassion, confusion, humor, determination, and clueless- ness. Broadbent becomes Harold Fry, and everyone else Fry meets on his journey, as he crafts an irresistible listening experience. Harold's impulsive decision, both endearing and infuriat- ing, prompts him to walk 600 miles across Britain as a symbolic farewell not only to his dying friend but also to the spirit of his past. He makes many new beguiling friends, who all validate his bizarre quest. Each new encounter seems to understand that memories, regrets, losses, and joys fuel his sense of urgency to abandon passivity and move forward. A.W. Random House Audio 10 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD Books on Tape Library: CD ISBN 9780449012758 $35.00 (also DD ISBN 9780449012772 $35.00 (also DD ) ) THE ROUND HOUSE Louise Erdrich Read by Gary Farmer Gary Farmer introduces the listener to the Coutts family, members of the Ojibwe tribe who reside on a reservation in North Dakota in the 1980s. Perfectly cast due to his own Native American background, Farmer compassionately tells the story of 13-year-old Joe, whose mother is attacked, raped, and hospital- ized—and is never quite the same again. Joe is equally devastated; des- perately trying to console her, he finds himself thrust into a reality that is both traumatizing and isolating. Farmer's voice sounds earnest and respectful as this frustrated family bears the unjust investigation into the crime. As Joe's father, a tribal judge, does his best to escalate the inquiry, Farmer dramatizes how Joe burdens himself by taking mat- ters into his own hands and discovers the glaring inequity encountered by an American Indian family seeking justice in a white world. B.J.P. Harper Audio 12.5 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD Recorded Books Library Ed.: CD (also CS , MP3 , DD ISBN 9780062204943 $15.99 ISBN 9781470302139 $123.75 , PRE ) IN SUNLIGHT AND IN SHADOW Mark Helprin Read by Sean Runnette Sean Runnette's performance high- lights the lyricism of Helprin's story of love at first sight. Runnette breathes an audible tone of wistfulness into the romance between Harry, a paratrooper who has returned to New York City after WWII, and Catherine, a singer and heiress whom he instantly falls in love with when he first sees her on the Staten Island Ferry. The listening experience created by Runnette resonates with the intensity of Helprin's descriptive power. The novel reflects the passion and long- ing of the characters amid the beauty of the city's shifting settings, dreamlike in light and in shadow at the dawn of the modern age. Runnette builds the tension when Catherine severs her long- standing engagement, an act that leads to vengeful retaliation. A.W. Blackstone Audiobooks 29 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD (also MP3 Library Ed.: CD (also PRE , DD ) THE MIDDLESTEINS Jami Attenberg Read by Molly Ringwald BUDDHALAND BROOKLYN Richard C. Morais Read by Feodor Chin Seido Oda, a Japanese Buddhist priest, is better at painting and poetry than dealing with people. After 30 peaceful years in his relatively cloistered monastery, and despite his protestations and reservations, Reverend Oda is sent to supervise the building of a Buddhist temple in Brooklyn. Feodor Chin delivers Oda's plight as a stranger in a strange land with quiet, unassuming grace. As Oda frequently escapes to his "aerie observation post," to contemplate the American Buddhists he encounters, Chin delivers a sensitive portrait of a spiritual man experiencing sincere culture shock while trying to remain true to his faith and nonjudgmental of his Brooklyn believers. Richard C. Morais (The Hundred-Foot Journey) has written a gentle, wise book made even more satisfying by Chin's luminous performance. S.J.H. Blackstone Audiobooks 9.5 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781455166541 $29.95 (also DD ISBN 9781455166534 $76.00 (also MP3 ) ) A gentle, wise book made even more satisfying by Chin's luminous performance. 36 s AudioFile/www.audiofilemagazine.com In the weeks leading up to the Middlestein twins' b'nai mitzvah, three generations of the family recall the past, trying to understand the demise of Edie and Richard's 40-year marriage. Masterfully manipulating inflection and tempo, actress Molly Ringwald realistically channels the inner dialogue of the family members. For example, she keeps pace as Edie's thoughts jump from nostalgia over her courtship to anger when she remembers the day Richard left her. Thanks to Ringwald's understated characterizations, listeners can differentiate among characters and develop their own reactions as the individual personalities of the Middlesteins are revealed. Ringwald's Midwest accent, tinged with a hint of Yiddish for the older generation, helps set the scene for this introspective look at the life of a family. C.B.L. Hachette Audio 7 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD AudioGO Library Ed.: CD (also DD , PRE ) ISBN 9781611136203 $24.98 ISBN 9781619695382 $69.99 ISBN 9781455165711 $39.95 ) ISBN 9781455165704 $140.00

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