cover image The Sum of Our Days: A Memoir

The Sum of Our Days: A Memoir

Isabel Allende. HarperAudio, $39.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-157116-9

Allende follows Paula, the heartbreaking memoir she wrote while her daughter lay in a long coma, with another missive to the young woman, now dead, to update her on the Allende clan's adventures and dramas, which often seem straight from her novels. For most of the narration, Brown's bright voice and careful delivery are an ideal conduit for Allende's renowned prose, working in tandem with the author's unique descriptions to make interesting what in other lives would hardly be remarkable. When speaking as Allende, she uses a husky Spanish accent that is distinctively charming and appropriate without going over the top. Brown's pronunciation of occasional Spanish phrases and names sometimes lack fluency but the frank, twangy voice she gives to Allende's friend Tabra is refreshingly at ease. By the end, even listeners who are unfamiliar with Allende's history and writing will feel they know this feisty woman and brilliant writer as a friend. A Harper hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 18).