cover image The Monk of Mokha

The Monk of Mokha

Dave Eggers, read by Dion Graham. Random House Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 8.5 hrs., $35 ISBN 978-0-7352-0577-2

Actor Graham proves he’s a natural storyteller in this excellent reading of Eggers’s account of the life of an ill-educated 25-year-old Yemeni-American raised in poverty in San Francisco. After discovering that coffee originated in Yemen, Mokha Alkhanshali creates for himself a mission: to restore Yemeni coffee to its original quality and fame. In doing so, he develops an encyclopedic understanding of the complicated processes of growing, harvesting, and transporting coffee beans, and learns how to judge their quality. Mokha’s entrepreneurial quest takes him to Yemen to make final importing arrangements just as the country falls into civil war and international crisis. Graham’s ever-changing intonation, well-handled accents, and nuanced characterizations keep listeners riveted through harrowing acts of bravery, heartrending setbacks, and hair-raising events. A Knopf hardcover. (Feb.)