cover image Lucky Us

Lucky Us

Amy Bloom, read by Alicyn Packard. Random House Audio, , unabridged, six CDs, 7.5 hrs., $35 ISBN 978-0-8041-9134-0

In Bloom’s imaginative romp set in 1939, 11-year-old Eva meets Iris, the older half-sister she never knew she had, after being abandoned by her mother and left on her father’s doorstep in Ohio. Colorful events ensue: Iris runs away to Hollywood with Eva to start a movie career, only to be blackballed over a scandalous lesbian affair; the sisters and their father become servants in the home of a Long Island family; Iris sets her romantic sights on the family’s cook, Reenie, first scheming to have Reenie’s husband arrested as a German spy and then kidnapping an orphan because Reenie wants a child. The book is written from Eva’s point of view in a simple, matter-of-fact style, describing the events without emotion. Packard’s narration is tailored to Bloom’s under- stated writing style: she reads in a cool, neutral voice that perfectly matches the author’s tone. But this type of performance turns out to be detrimental to story in the audio edition, creating distance rather than engagement between listeners and the vibrant plot. Instead of an intimate listening experience that draws listeners in, it holds them at arms’ length, making it difficult to empathize even when tragedy hits. A Random House hardcover. (July)