cover image There but for the

There but for the

Ali Smith, read by Anne Flosnik. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, six CDs, 8 hrs., $29.95 ISBN 978-1-61174-616-7

In the middle of an English dinner party, Miles Garth excuses himself from the table, locks himself in the guest room, and refuses to leave. As the weeks and then months drag on, hostess Gen—portrayed by narrator Anne Flosnik as an afflicted damsel in distress—goes through Miles’s address book to enlist friends, however remote, to coax the unwanted boarder out of his lair. The first rescue attempt is made by Anna—who met Miles decades earlier on a school trip—whom Flosnik deftly renders as a classy and good-natured Glaswegian, perplexed that Miles even remembered her. After Anna, Flosnik’s performance declines: Mark—who met Miles in a theater—sounds much like the audio’s other men, while the voice given to Brooke, the 10-year-old who makes a final attempt at extricating Miles, is too similar to those of the book’s other children—all of them bright and high-pitched. Flosnik’s narration is, however, well paced and entertaining, and this—coupled with Smith’s playful language, rhymes, songs, and imaginative plot—will enchant listeners. A Pantheon hardcover. (Sept.)