cover image All About Lulu

All About Lulu

Jonathan Evison, read by Michael Mish. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, eight CDs, 10 hrs., $34.95 ISBN 978-1-61573-528-0

William Miller Jr. is a skinny wallflower in coke-bottle glasses whose mother died of cancer while he's still young. When his father, a professional bodybuilder named Big Bill, remarries, Will gains a confidante and object of obsessive adolescent love in his new stepsister, Lulu. Will's sweet-sounding voice is one of his defining characteristics; he dreams of taking advantage of it as a radio show host, and Michael Mish's voice is correspondingly rich and expressive: it sounds like it would be right at home on the airwaves. Mish's performance adeptly communicates Will's intense longing for Lulu, his feelings of inadequacy, and his heartbreak. The narration is well paced, and every one of Will's self-deprecating jokes is ably timed. His Lulu makes a believable progression from chatty girl to hysterical-sounding teen to distressed young woman. His Big Bill is somehow both stoic and goofy, and Mish brings the right amount of dopiness to Will's dim-witted twin brothers. Even minor characters are afforded memorable voices in this superb reading. A Soft Skull hardcover. (Feb.)