ZZ Packer, Author, ZZ Packer, Read by, Shirley Jordan, Read by , read by Shirley Jordan. HighBridge $32.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-56511-759-4

The book form of this debut short story collection is getting the highest of accolades from the New York Times, Harper's, the New Yorker and most every other branch of the literary criticism tree. Likewise, the praise for the audio version of the book should be as lofty. Jordan, who, in addition to being a television and stage actor, works as an acting and dialogue coach, would be wise to use her superb performance here to advertise her business. Packer's stories deal with black men and women, mostly young and urban. Her carefully engineered narratives treat listeners to the richness of highly developed characters and lead them to some intriguing scenarios, like a troop of black Brownies spending their time at summer camp plotting against a troop of what they initially see as haughty white girls; and the deadbeat dad who talks his son into driving him across the country to the Million Man March, not to participate, but to sell parrots to African-Americans. As the reader, Jordan submerges herself completely into her characters, portraying Packer's superbly fleshed out cast with a dazzling versatility and an intuitive sense of delivery. Whether singing Brownie songs or making palpable a character's resounding disappointments, Jordan's delivery is as whip-smart as Packer's text is fiery and precise. Simultaneous release with the Riverhead hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 16, 2002). (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 06/02/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Ebook - 238 pages - 978-0-7865-4566-7
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-101-21565-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56511-758-7
Ebook - 978-0-7865-4565-0
Ebook - 978-0-7865-4564-3
Hardcover - 238 pages - 978-1-57322-234-1
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