cover image Off Season

Off Season

Anne Rivers Siddons, , read by Jane Alexander. . Hachette Audio, $39.98 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-60024-170-3

In Siddons’s stirring novel, the recently widowed Lily Constable returns to her childhood summer home in Maine to sift through formative memories of her parents and her first love. It’s difficult to imagine a more marvelous performance than Jane Alexander’s. Alexander captures the strength and vulnerability of Lily from childhood to late middle age, and perfectly renders the physical weight of Lily’s grief at her losses. She skillfully navigates the novel’s cast of characters, from the slow, deep and thoughtful drawl of Lily’s father to the high-pitched, false charm of the vicious young neighbor whose poison darts put tragic events in motion. Alexander also brings to life the great unnamed character in the book—the natural world, giving voice to birds and even a talking cat, and intuitively understanding the life-giving power of the sea. This is an example of how a good novel can become magnificent when it is beautifully told. A Grand Central hardcover (reviewed online). (Aug.)