cover image West of Here

West of Here

Jonathan Evison, read by Edoardo Ballerini. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, 14 CDs, 18.5 hrs., $39.95 ISBN 978-1-61573-116-9

Evison's capacious novel toggles between glorious past and constrained present, the idealism of the settlers of the American West and their hapless descendants. Port Bonita fails to live up to the imagined splendor of the Western pioneers, becoming, instead, the place where the American Dream goes to die%E2%80%94or, at the very least, to convalesce. Edoardo Ballerini is well-equipped to handle the blended tones of Evison's story, bouncing between hushed intimacy and a fierce growl. He steps delicately through the gruff talk of Port Bonita's inhabitants, pulling back into a poetic reverie for Evison's descriptions of the landscape and surroundings, reminding the listener that even in this world-weary city, something of America's magnificence remains. An Algonquin hardcover. (Feb.)