cover image The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Katarina Bivald, trans. from the Swedish by Alice Menzies, read by Fiona Hardingham and Lorelei King. Random House Audio, unabridged, 10 CDs, 12 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-14-752605-2

In Swedish author Bivald’s debut novel, erstwhile bookseller Sara Lindqvist has traveled from her home in Sweden to the tiny town of Broken Wheel, Iowa, in order to spend time relaxing and reading with Amy Harris, her pen pal, but what Sara finds upon arriving is that she’s just in time for Amy’s funeral. Sara is bewildered, but the townsfolk insist that she stay in Amy’s house and generally refuse to let her pay for anything. She decides to give back by opening Amy’s old store and sharing Amy’s books with the community. Hardingham, a British actress and veteran audiobook narrator, provides most of the book’s narration, which is written from Sara’s perspective. Hardingham has a beautiful voice, but she renders all the intervening characters’ voices as if the story took place in southern Georgia rather than the Midwest. The only believable Midwestern accent in this audiobook comes in Sara’s letters from Amy, who is splendidly portrayed by American actress King. King’s performance is neutral, down-to-earth, and slightly nasal: pitch-perfect in terms of what people in Iowa tend to sound like. A Sourcebooks Landmark paperback. (Jan.)