cover image The Refrigerator Monologues

The Refrigerator Monologues

Catherynne M. Valente, read by Karis A. Campbell. HighBridge Audio, , unabridged, 4 CDs, 5 hrs., $24.99 ISBN 978-1-68168-906-7

Actor Campbell delivers a spot-on reading of this inventive story collection about a made-up comic book universe. Set in a back-street area of the afterlife known as Deadtown, Valente’s connected stories concentrate on the demise of six women who stood behind or beside male superheroes, only to have their lives sacrificed to benefit their male companions’ plotlines—in other words, they all lived as secondary characters. Now the women hold court in the afterlife to tell their own stories as part of the Hell Hath Club. Actor Campbell fully develops and differentiates the character voices of all six women. Paige Embry, who died when her superhero lover, Kid Mercury, failed to save her as she plunged from a bridge, comes across as pragmatic, with a resigned attitude toward her role as a tragic figure in her former lover’s past. In contrast is Polly, the psychotic moll to her supervillain boyfriend. Campbell voices Polly with childish giggles and an innocent naiveté that fails to mask her depraved nature. From a grieving Queen of Atlantis to a newly dead victim of a superhero’s archnemesis, Campbell presents each woman’s stories with skill and aplomb. It makes for one hell of an audiobook. A Saga hardcover. (Sept.)