Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures: Stories
Vincent Lam, , read by Christopher Lane. . Brilliance Audio, $34.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4233-4594-7
Lam’s Giller Prize–winning debut, a veritable cornucopia of interesting characters, voices and effects, presents a formidable burden for a single reader. Through the four main sleep-deprived characters, we wind our way through med school and beyond. Lane sculpts a precise and colorful aural identity for every character, regardless of their significance. A master of capturing nuances in vocal personality, he ranges from a strong, stiff Chinese-American accent to a lisping, muttering paranoid schizophrenic in a heartbeat, and nothing seems forced. At one point, a doctor speaking to a patient in “German-accented Hindi influenced English he learned in Bombay” seems like an narrator’s bar bet or a challenge from the author. But Lane pulls it off perfectly, with grace and pluck. Occasionally, Lane’s conjuring is amped up with unnecessary special effects (a hollow distortion when dialogue is heard over the phone) that would be distracting if both the author and the reader were anything less than solid and riveting. The combination of Lane and Lam is a winning one, a performance not to be missed.
Reviewed on: 10/29/2007