cover image Rococo


Adriana Trigiani, , read by Mario Cantone. . Random House Audio, $27.50 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7393-1941-3

Playing more than a dozen reoccurring characters living in the small Italian-American town of Our Lady of Fatima, N.J., Cantone gives a wildly entertaining tour de force performance that is both hilarious and moving. Fresh from his Tony Award–winning one-man show, Laugh Whore , Cantone performs with cyclone energy and his wickedly arch comedic timing is rapier sharp. The biggest surprise is his lightning-fast ability to become different characters, keep them vocally consistent and make them funny but not ridiculous. Trigiani's novel is less plot-driven than full of outrageous and wonderful characters trying to untangle family ties. Bartolomeo di Crespi (aka "B") is an interior designer and bachelor of a certain age who is hired to renovate the local church when he's not dealing with his sister (who's having an affair with her ex-husband), his platonic fiancé, a sultry international designer (who sounds like Lauren Bacall) and a hunky artist brought onto the project. This totally satisfying experience will make listeners happy to learn that it's the first in a planned trilogy. A q&a with Trigiani at the end of disk four is a delightful bonus. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, May 30). (July)