cover image Almost Famous Women

Almost Famous Women

Megan Mayhew Bergman, read by Lesa Lockford. Dreamscape Media, unabridged, 5 CDs, 6 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-63379-457-3

This collection of short stories takes actual women from history and weaves imaginative narratives around them. All of these characters are historical figures “lost to popular memory”—conjoined twins who aspire to show business, a painter who has not put hand to canvas in 40 years, and survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp whose jutting clavicles and hollow eyes are known in haunting photographs. The scope of the book is ambitious, with multiple settings and secondary characters serving as narrators; as a result, the stories in the audio edition are increasingly hard to differentiate. Reader Lockford does a fine job with the range of emotions, from wry detachment to despair to joy. However, she is less skilled at the many accents required by this diverse collection, whose stories require fluidity with German, Kenyan, Eastern European, Bahamian, and many other inflections. Most of these accents do not sound natural or believable. A Scribner hardcover. (Jan.)