cover image The Kingdom of Speech

The Kingdom of Speech

Tom Wolfe, read by Robert Petkoff. Hachette Audio, , unabridged, 4 CDs, 4.5 hrs., $30 ISBN 978-1-4789-5316-6

Wolfe stands as one of the towering literary figures of our era, who is known for his distinct style of writing. For a voice actor, conveying Wolfe’s blend of erudite intensity and sardonic wit presents quite a challenge, but Petkoff rises to the occasion. Wolfe’s thesis in this book centers on his belief that the theories of both Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky fail to account for how humans developed language. Petkoff manages to channel the bite of Wolfe’s narrative at every turn, as he declares winners and losers of this grand debate over how humans developed language. Admittedly, nonfiction social criticism in this format probably does not have a wide appeal, but Petkoff helps up the entertainment value for this type of project. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Aug.)