cover image Fortunate Son

Fortunate Son

Walter Mosley. Hachette Audio, $31.98 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59483-219-2

Toussaint's honeyed voice, flecked with the slightest undertone of grit, is lovely but forbidding, the sound of effortless social grace underscored by the threat of steely authority at the slightest provocation. Sounding much like actress Alfre Woodard, Toussaint reads Mosley's novel of two stepbrothers, brought together as part of an unlikely family yet separated by wildly divergent fortunes. Tommy and Eric, joined by their respective parents' meeting at Tommy's hospital bed, are inseparable as boys, but their differing natures and fates tear them apart as they grow older. Toussaint's performance is flawless, superbly mimicking the vocal patterns of characters both large and small, varying the texture of her reading by altering speed, style and vocal depth to provide Mosley's book with texture and subtle power. She is the rare reader who allows the words of her text to dictate the tone of her reading, rather than imposing a vocal style on the book; as a result, her reading is more pleasurable than run-of-the-mill audiobooks, staying true to the spirit of Mosley's tart, occasionally sentimental prose with admirable tenacity.