Queen of the Underworld

Gail Godwin, Author, Stephanie Zimbalist, Read by
Gail Godwin, Author, Stephanie Zimbalist, Read by , read by Stephanie Zimbalist. Random House Audio $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7393-2472-1
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-25959-1
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-345-48318-8
Hardcover - 511 pages - 978-0-7393-2599-5
Ebook - 978-1-58836-518-7
Paperback - 349 pages - 978-0-345-48319-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7393-0510-2
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Though our protagonist's Southern accent varies in thickness from one chapter to another, Zimbalist generally gives a professional reading of this scantily clad autobiographical novel set in 1950s Miami. Recent college grad Emma Gant escapes her nasty stepfather and follows her married lover to Miami, where she begins work on the Miami Star . Here we encounter a host of eccentrics: the miserable Queen of the Underworld (a serially suicidal one-time madam) the married boyfriend and his wife; a Jewish Mafioso;, a personalized perfume scent entrepreneur; and Cuban exiles exporting munitions as "dental equipment." Zimbalist handles Spanish well, distinguishing between the anti-Castro Cubans and Emma's own awkward attempts at the language. But there are so many oddball characters that we are sometimes aware of her straining to give each a distinctive voice and flavor. Despite her efforts, the plot is too rambling and the characters too disparate to finally gel into a novel. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 10, 2005). (Jan.)

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