cover image Hostage


Elie Wiesel, read by Mark Bramhall. Random House Audio, unabridged, six CDs, 7 hrs., $30 ISBN 978-0-449-00947-5

Wiesel’s novel, set in 1975, recounts the fictional biography of Holocaust survivor Shaltiel Feigenberg, who recalls the story of his life after he is abducted from his home in Brooklyn, N.Y., and held captive by extremists. Unfortunately, award-winning narrator Mark Bramhall isn’t at his best here. Early on, some listeners will tune out; Bramhall’s performance of Feigenberg’s Italian and Arab abductors is disappointing: at times, he makes the Islamic terrorist sound almost Russian. Although Bramhall does a bit better subsequently in flashback scenes featuring German characters, the damage has already been done. Additionally, the flatness of his narration is not engaging. While Wiesel has given him dramatic material to work with—his protagonist recalls hiding from the Nazis and pleading for his freedom—Bramhall’s uninspired delivery robs the text of its power. A Knopf hardcover. (Aug.)