cover image Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Gail Honeyman, read by Cathleen McCarron. Penguin Audio, , unabridged, 9 CDs, 11 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-1-5247-4968-2

Eleanor Oliphant is 30 years old and profoundly lonely, working in a dead-end job and stuck in an endless routine. At the start of the story, she seems to merely be socially awkward—she is overly blunt and truthful in a way people find off-putting, she doesn’t grasp social cues or pop culture references, and she takes everything literally. Then she and her coworker Raymond unexpectedly help an old man who has collapsed, the three form an odd friendship, and Eleanor begins to open up about her traumatic past. Narrator McCarron gives an award-worthy performance: her Eleanor is by turns comical in her obliviousness to basic things and utterly heartbreaking in discussing her past. Her narration is nuanced, conveying both Eleanor’s surface facade of “everything’s fine” and all the subtle layers of repressed pain and trauma underneath. It’s a performance that will stay in listeners’ minds long after the story is over. [em]A Viking/Dorman hardcover. (May) [/em]