cover image Five-Carat Soul

Five-Carat Soul

James McBride, read by multiple narrators. Penguin Audio, , unabridged, 8 CDs, 9 hrs., $35 ISBN 978-0-525-49796-7

Four talented actors bring to life the zany characters in the excellent audio edition of McBride’s story collection. In “The Under Graham Railroad Box Car Set,” Arthur Morey conveys the apoplectic confusion of an antique toy salesman when a poor black preacher offers to gift him a train set—believed to have belonged to Robert E. Lee—that he knows is worth millions. In “The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band,” Nile Bullock perfectly captures the rhythmic speech of Butter, one of a group of teenaged boys whose band practices above a Chinese restaurant in a predominantly African-American town called The Bottom. Prentice Onayemi is equally masterly in the other stories about young men stuck at the bottom of society. Veteran voice actor Dominic Hoffman gives a consummate performance as the zoo animals who communicate telepathically with each other and with humans in the wonderful, whimsical, and surprising “Mr. P and the Wind.” This is one of the best audiobooks of 2017. A Riverhead hardcover. (Oct.)