cover image The Winner Stands Alone

The Winner Stands Alone

Paulo Coelho, , read by Paul Boehmer. . Harper Audio, $39.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-177052-4

Coelho's latest blends spiritual allegory with elements of a thriller and does not lend itself to an easy audio production. Paul Boehmer singlehandedly tackles a cast of characters with a wide spectrum of languages and ethnic identities. The action surrounds 24 fateful hours at the Cannes Film Festival, as Igor kills off members of an elite “superclass” in a sociopathic rage against his ex-wife, Ewa. Boehmer provides a carefully constructed accent and speech pattern to his portrayal of Igor, and delivers an equally impressive turn as Ewa's current spouse, a Middle Eastern fashion mogul. Yet other principal figures in the story—particularly the female characters—do not receive the same attention to vocal detail; consequently, the dialogue exchanges sound uneven. A Harper hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 9). (Apr.)