Daniel Handler. HarperAudio, $34.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-114984-9
In 17 intricately linked short stories, Handler brings to life a vivid group of young San Franciscans who are all at some point of falling in or out of love. There's the petulant, jealous yet somehow endearing Helena, a British woman who's followed her husband to America; there's Lila, who breaks her fellow movie-theater ticket-taker's heart even as her own body is shut down with a rare disease; and Keith, once Lila's insensitive boyfriend and later a comic book artist. Some characters show up frequently while others are just walk-ons, but the collection develops as a whole, with the same jokes and anecdotes and snippets of song lyrics or dialogue interwoven throughout with Handler's characteristic metaliterary style. Wyman does an excellent job with the characters' various accents, and he has mastered Handler's ironic tone. However, listeners trying to follow all the story threads may wish they had a print copy of the book to better enjoy Handler's wit and creativity in crafting this collection of fascinating lives.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006