cover image Did You Ever Have a Family?

Did You Ever Have a Family?

Bill Clegg, read by the author. S&S Audio, unabridged, 6 CDs, 7 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-1-4423-8528-3

Noted literary agent Clegg opts for a relatively understated approach to the audio edition of his acclaimed debut novel, given the considerable dramatic weight of the material. The narrative, told from the point of view of a variety of characters, explores the aftermath of a horrific explosion at a small-town Connecticut home on the night before the divided—and somewhat scandalous—Reid family’s wedding celebration. Clegg’s reading style engages the listener without playing too heavily on larger-than-life emotions. He fixates on the domestic details, such as the teen boy Silas’s obsession with his bong and backpack, and the cleaning rituals of a motel maid at the seaside inn where family matriarch June has fled to escape her grief. Clegg’s voice displays a winsome youthful quality that seems a decade or two younger than his actual age, so the coming-of-age dynamics in the story line ring with particular clarity. He may not keep listeners on the edge of their seats, but Clegg certainly keeps his audience connected to the world he has created. A S&S/Scout hardcover. (Sept.)