cover image IDYLL BANTER: Weekly Excursions to a Very Small Town

IDYLL BANTER: Weekly Excursions to a Very Small Town

Chris A. Bohjalian, , read by the author. . Random House Audio, $25 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7393-0913-1

This audio adaptation of Bohjalian's (Midwives , etc.) collection of essays on life in small-town Lincoln, Vt., gets off to a slow start but soon finds its voice. The first essay, an overview of the town and how it has changed over the decades, is weighed down by dry, repetitive statistics (number of dairy farms today vs. 20 years ago, number of cows today vs. 20 years ago, etc.). Bohjalian's high, thin voice isn't suited to historical nonfiction. However, once he begins talking about his own experiences in Lincoln, his voice warms. His tone is appealingly self-deprecating as he tells of his shame at being "the slowest driver in Vermont" (because he's one speeding ticket away from losing his license) and his squeamishness at the prospect of removing a dead bat from his woodstove, where it's been festering for months. Bohjalian speaks with reverence and sorrow about a flash flood that destroyed 80% of the town library's books, and he talks in moving tones of a girl who bravely threw a joyous farewell party for her elderly horse the day before he had to be put down. This audiobook is likely to appeal to both small-town residents who can relate to Bohjalian's descriptions and wistful city dwellers who wish they lived in a place "where everybody knows your name." Simultaneous release with the Harmony hardcover (Forecasts, Sept. 29, 2003). (Dec. 2003)