cover image This Boy’s Life

This Boy’s Life

Tobias Wolff, read by Oliver Wyman, HighBridge Audio, unabridged, nine CDs, 10 hrs., $34.95 ISBN 978-1-61573-088-9

Wolff’s well-regarded 1989 chronicle of his difficult childhood and adolescence is already considered a contemporary classic, and an avatar—for better and for worse—of the current memoir frenzy. Wyman reads with a certain downturned tone, where each sentence drifts into a melancholy fog. Try as he might, Wyman cannot lift the funk that hangs over Wolff’s tale of youthful desperation and ambition, and ultimately adopts the book’s bittersweet, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger tone. Wyman collapses the distance between himself and the book’s narrator, so that we eventually come to mistake him for Wolff’s Toby. A Grove paperback. (Sept.)