Nicky Castone is an Italian-American cab driver in South Philadelphia after WWII, happy to finally settle down with his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino and move out of his family’s basement. But then he discovers a passion for the theater, and his long-planned life is no longer enough for him. This sweeping novel is populated with an almost overwhelming cast, and one narrator plays every part in the audio edition. Ballerini, a veteran television actor with recurring roles on The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, performs the epic 16-hour story so well that a listener can get lost in it. Ballerini’s voice can be gentle and carefully modulated or edgy and fast-talking in character. Particularly memorable are his portrayals of the comically indignant Peachy (and her angry parents), whose ire is palpable enough for Nicky to need to skip town, and rival love interest Calla, who runs the Shakespearean theater that inspires Nicky’s drastic change of course. Ballerini’s reading of Trigiani’s novel will have listeners attuned throughout. A Harper hardcover. (June)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2017 Release date: 06/20/2017 Genre: Audio
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