cover image Consumed


David Cronenberg, read by William Hurt. Simon & Schuster Audio, unabridged, 9 CDs, 10 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-7482-9

Actor Hurt’s intentionally understated narration proves effective in presenting this disturbing first novel by Canadian filmmaker Cronenberg (Cosmopolis). Lovers Naomi Seberg and Nathan Math fancy themselves journalists. They are social-media addicts obsessed with the minutia of technology and their own vapid sensation. Naomi becomes obsessed with the murder and subsequent consumption of French intellectual Célestine Arosteguy by her dapper husband, Aristide. Searching for the truth, Naomi pursues Aristide to Japan, and they become romantically entangled. In France, intermittently faithful Nathan falls for a doomed cancer patient. While Naomi and Nathan are disconnected by geography, they are more intimately connected than either can suspect. Hurt, with his soft, slightly raspy voice, keeps his narration low-key as he reads Cronenberg’s novel with a detached delivery. It is a clear, deliberate, clinical reading that fits perfectly with the novel’s tone. The descriptions are graphic, at times to the extreme, but Hurt’s reading creates a distance that keeps the horror at bay, enough to allow listeners to take in the elaborate, strange, and grotesque world that is recognizably the creation of David Cronenberg. A Scribner hardcover. (Sept.)