cover image The Messiah of Morris Avenue

The Messiah of Morris Avenue

Tony Hendra, , read by John Bedford Lloyd. . Audio Renaissance, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59397-918-8

Hendra's black-comic Christian fundamentalist dystopia is read with a straight face and a glint in the eye by Lloyd. Lloyd himself sounds like one of the masculinist preachers who run America in Hendra's tale of fundamentalism run amok, his deep leading-man's voice occasionally dropping to a shivery whisper implying forthright conviction. If Lloyd's reading occasionally stays at the same level, it is apropos for Hendra's novel, in which a formerly raucous free society has been dampened by a wet blanket of religious disapproval and smiley-face family values. Lloyd must balance the opposing forces battling in Hendra's story: the spirit-sucking forces of a rigorously fundamentalist society, and the energy of a reborn Christ, now a soft-spoken Hispanic healer. Lloyd's reading makes it clear that he gets the joke and does a fair job of transmitting some of Hendra's impassioned religious conviction as well. Simultaneous release with the Henry Holt hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 16). (Apr.)