Log In

Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the Table-of-Contents Database.

Get a digital subscription to Publishers Weekly for only $18.95/month.

Your subscription gives you instant access exclusive feature articles on notable figures in the publishing industry, he latest industry news, interviews of up and coming authors and bestselling authors, and access over 200,000 book reviews.

PW "All Access" site license members have access to PW's subscriber-only website content. To find out more about PW's site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time.

Jefferson’s Garden

Timberlake Wertenbaker, read by a full cast. L.A. Theatre Works, , unabridged, 2 CDs, 2 hrs., $29.95 ISBN 978-1- 6826-6043-0

At what cost freedom, and freedom for whom? These are the central questions of Wertenbaker’s thought-provoking play set in revolutionary America and recorded in front of a live audience earlier this year. Amid the Revolutionary War, a young shoemaker, Christian, leaves his Quaker family and travels to Virginia to meet Thomas Jefferson, whose writings on freedom have entranced him. He is so captivated by Jefferson’s words that he joins the fledgling rebel army in its fight against England, an act that leaves him shunned by his family and his pacifist Quaker community. At the war’s end, Christian is shocked to learn that the freedom he fought for excludes slaves, one of whom, Susannah, he has fallen in love with. The cast of nine actors is excellent in bringing to life numerous characters, but the standouts are Nate Corddry, who plays Christian with the perfect idealistic naiveté; Gregory Harrison, whose portrayal of Thomas Jefferson balances the man’s stalwart and sincere ideology of freedom with his contradictory ownership of slaves; and Inger Tudor, who expertly runs an exhausting gambit of emotions as she portrays both Susannah and Jefferson’s slave Sally Hemings. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 10/27/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
When the World Was Steady

Claire Messud, read by Shiromi Arserio. HighBridge Audio, , unabridged, 8 CDs, 9.5 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-6816-8667-7

Voice actor Arserio carries listeners along on the gentle flow of Messud’s fine prose in this new recording of her 1994 novel. Arserio has a pleasant voice, an unobtrusive British accent, and a knack for smooth transitions from emotion to emotion. Her pacing, pausing, inflections, and emphasis keep listeners involved in the parallel narratives: pious, introverted, dutiful daughter Virginia and her needy and extroverted mother, as they traverse Scotland’s Isle of Skye; Virginia’s estranged sister Emmy and her bizarre group of misfits and smugglers on the island of Bali; Virginia’s friend Angelica and the Indian student Nikhil, who is searching for his sister who eloped with a Scot. Each character expresses a similar type of imbalance, searching simultaneously for childhood innocence and adult freedom. Arserio’s smooth handling of the low-key drama of each life “somewhere between fear and triumph” makes this a strong and rewarding listen. A Norton paperback. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 10/27/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Cuban Affair

Nelson DeMille, read by Scott Brick. S&S Audio, unabridged, 12 CDs, 14.5 hrs., $49.99 ISBN 978-1-5082-3824-9

DeMille’s new hard-bitten hero, Daniel “Mac” McCormick, narrates this breathless adventure set in 2015, when Mac was crippled by debt and working as the captain of a Key West deep-sea fishing charter boat. An ex-Army man with medals and scars from two tours in Afghanistan, Mac is tough, cynical, smart, and suffering from malaise, an attitude mix that reader Brick smoothly conveys from the start. Mac lets Miami lawyer Carlos Macia talk him into participating in a complicated plan to smuggle millions of dollars out of Cuba, with the promise of a hefty paycheck at the end. The caper is chancy, and adding to its potential perils is his smuggling companion, Sara Ortega, a mysterious beauty who may have a secret agenda. In presenting the plot’s set-up, reader Brick takes time to establish Mac’s hard-boiled outlook; his fondness for his cantankerous septuagenarian first mate, Jack Colby; and his increasing skepticism about the caper, especially Sara’s participation. Once their plane touches down in Havana and the plan immediately begins to unravel, Mac displays his Army-nurtured aptitude for improvisation and author and reader together establish the kind of feverish, nonstop action one expects from a world-class thriller. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 10/27/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Little Fires Everywhere

Celeste Ng, read by Jennifer Lim. Penguin Audio, , unabridged, 9 CDs, 11 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-0-525-49806-3

Set in the late 1990s in the town of Shaker Heights, Ohio, the audio edition of Ng’s novel begins with a fire in the home of the Richardsons, an affluent, apparently happy family. What follows are flashbacks to the moments of tension—the metaphorical “little fires” of the title that lead a member of the family to set the blaze. The drama begins with the arrival of unconventional visual artist and single mother Mia Warren, who rents the Richardsons’ guest house with her 15-year-old daughter, Pearl. The Richardson kids quickly embrace Pearl, while their journalist mother, Elena, offers Mia the opportunity to do light housework to help pay the bills. But when Mia starts to mentor one of her daughters, Elena is miffed, and her annoyance goes nuclear after Mia interferes in the adoption process of one of the Richardsons’ closest friends, by encouraging the birth mother, a Chinese immigrant, to rethink her plans. Actress Lim gives a dramatic, vivacious performance and catches every nuance of its probe of mother love and the widening chasm between the privileged and the working class. Lim is particularly effective in her presentation of Elena as both villain and victim and of Mia as a seemingly wise free spirit who’s not exactly mother of the year. A Penguin Press hardcover. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 10/27/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Sing, Unburied, Sing

Jesmyn Ward, read by Kelvin Harrison Jr., Rutina Wesley, and Chris Chalk. S&S Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 8 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-5082-3754-9

A trio of performers demonstrate their considerable vocal talents in the audio edition of the latest from National Book Award–winner Ward (for Salvage the Bones). The novel’s multithreaded structure may take a bit of time for listeners to grasp, particularly given that one of the three narrators is the ghost of Richie, a teen prisoner who was murdered many decades earlier. The other two protagonists—a 13-year-old boy named Jojo and his drug-addicted mother, Leonie—interact with both the living and the dead in their daily lives in a narrative that links past racial violence with a current family crisis. The elements eventually meld together seamlessly. Jojo’s lingering sense of innocence and earnestness on the cusp of manhood shines through in the gentle cadence of Harrison’s voice. Actor Wesley brings both edge and vulnerability to her smoky-voiced portrayal of Leonie. The listening experience requires attention to detail, but the solid performances are a great match for the material. A Scribner hardcover. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 10/27/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Scarred Woman: A Department Q Novel

Jussi Adler-Olsen, trans. from the Danish by William Frost, read by Graeme Malcolm. Penguin Audio, , unabridged, 12 CDs, 14.5 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-1-5247-0248-9

Scottish actor Malcolm returns to ably narrate the latest installment of the Department Q series by bestselling Danish crime novelist Adler-Olsen. The series stars Carl Mørck, the cantankerous middle-age head of Copenhagen’s Department Q, a neglected cold-case division housed in the basement of police headquarters. As the book opens, Mørck and his team are investigating several unpromising and seemingly unrelated cases, which turn out to be linked. They’re also facing budget cuts, bureaucratic rivalries, and the disappearance of a mentally ill colleague. The book’s many subplots keep the listener attuned, and the resolutions are satisfying. Malcolm is an excellent stand-in for Mørck in both tone and temperament, and he also skillfully represents the book’s other characters, many of whom are young women. He’s called upon to employ a range of accents, including German and Icelandic, and rises to the challenge. This seventh outing for Mørck will delight Adler-Olsen’s many fans, and Malcolm once again delivers as narrator. A Dutton hardcover. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 10/27/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

Not Registered? Click here.