Russell Banks. HarperAudio, $39.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-145751-7
Tom Stechschulte's voice is well suited to this novel's myriad layers of time and interlocking characters. Although superficially different-genteel versus rebellious, calm versus wild-the central figures all have an old-fashioned depth. Set in the mid-1930s amid mounting concerns over war, numerous characters have Germanic accents, which Stechschulte reproduces adeptly. He shifts easily from the backwoods drawl of the people who live surrounding the exclusive reserve in the Adirondacks to the haughty upper-class tones of the wealthy who stay there. Similarly, he captures the broad, confident tones of Jordan Groves, the prickly artist who fits neither group, but then moves his voice fluidly to that of the enigmatic heiress, Vanessa Cole, who catches Groves's eye. Stechschulte gives Vanessa's words the right husky, even sultry quality, but more importantly he perfectly expresses her rapidly shifting emotions of inner turmoil and borderline madness. Simultaneous release with the Harper hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 26).
Reviewed on: 02/04/2008