cover image The Mistress's Daughter

The Mistress's Daughter

A. M. Homes. Penguin Audiobooks, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-14-314183-9

Jane Adams turns her considerable talents to Homes's memoir about meeting her biological parents when she was in her early 30s. Adams captures the narrator and all the members of both the adoptive and biological families. Her rendition of Homes is so smart and urbane yet wary that listeners might assume that Homes herself is telling her own story. Ellen Ballman, the biological mother, is portrayed as Auntie Mame gone bad-her boisterous voice quickly descends from that of a woman overcome with joy at hearing her daughter to whiny demands to be taken care of. Perhaps Ellen is a bit too shrill-almost anyone would hang up after hearing this voice on the other end of a phone. Adams portrays Norman Hecht, also referred to as ""the Father,"" with a voice as large as his considerable fortune; he cons his daughter into taking a DNA test, then refuses to give her the results. Even Adams can't make the second half of the book exciting, as she reads page after page of questions planned for a deposition. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 15).