cover image Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton

Hermione Lee, ., read by Kate Reading . Random House Audio, $34.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7393-5409-4

Kate Reading’s dulcet tones, buttery and tuneful, make her sound more like a Wharton character than an audiobook reader. As it turns out, this is a very good thing, for Reading (named a “Voice of the Century” by AudioFile magazine) is exceptionally gifted when it comes to maintaining a uniform tone and holding on to listeners’ attention. She confidently steers listeners through Lee’s life of the great American writer and member of East Coast high society, which studies Wharton’s personal and professional lives in thorough detail. Reading is subtle, choosing to modulate her voice, carefully restricting it to a pleasant middle register. Listening to her reading is like hearing a long but pleasant anecdote from a well-trained, masterful storyteller. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 29). (May)