The Soul Thief

Charles Baxter, Author, Jefferson Mays, Read by Recorded Books $29.99 (0p) ISBN 978-1-4281-7797-0

Baxter's novel is an unusual comic work about a grad student whose life gets progressively stranger and stranger as he finds himself attracted to two women and discovers a fellow student is swiping bits and pieces of his life. Jefferson Mays reads with little hoopla or self-regard. He makes the book into a bedtime story, tucking us each into bed with his middle-register of a voice-no noticeable highs or lows. Baxter's book is funny in a deeply low-key fashion; without careful attention, much of the humor can zip by unnoticed. In that regard, Mays treats Baxter properly, trusting the author enough to maintain his tone throughout. Simultaneous release with the Pantheon hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 5).