The award is given by AudioFile to truly exceptional titles that excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio, and enhancement of the text.
Carlotta Brentan infuses this audio with all the emotional intensity it deserves. It recounts the childhood experiences of the author's grandmother, Rieke, in Holocaust-era Romania. Brentan's narration does full justice to the heroine's reactions to the complex personal and political upheavals she encountered. Brentan anchors us firmly in Rieke's feelings toward her family--her... Read More
Borges is considered by many to be one of the most important fiction writers of the twentieth century, a very intellectual writer and thinker. Narrator Castulo Guerra, however, finds in these stories considerable depths of emotion and humanity, and delivers them to listeners. The world of Borges's fiction is varied and strange, drawing on science fiction, folklore, philosophy,... Read More
Julianne Moore performs this pandemic novel told in three sections. Each section is set on April 5th of a different year. In 2019, we meet Isabel; her husband, Dan; and her brother, Robbie--who are all living together in New York City with Isabel and Dan's two children. Each section reveals more about the family members, weaving together the threads of their lives. Cunningham... Read More
Risa Mei gives an energetic performance of this young adult romance. Kiki doesn't have the best start at her new school. She retreats into War Front Heroes, an online game, in which she poses as a guy to avoid sexism. But when she finds out her online crush goes to the same school she does, she must choose between lying or coming clean about her online persona. Mei transforms... Read More
Gale Shalan breezily introduces the Lukshen Deli and its owners, the Glantz family. Listeners meet adorable 11-year-old Ellie, along with her family and friends, including her best friend, Ava. When the future of the deli is in question, heartbroken Ellie suggests making deliveries and creating a loyalty program. Shalan sympathetically conveys Ellie's fears as her beloved... Read More
Award-winning Irish actor Brid Brennan employs her melodic contralto to fine effect in her excellent narration of Louise Kennedy's debut short story collection. Uncompromising and often dark, with flashes of humor, the stories explore the lives of women in Ireland--addressing issues of identity, poverty, marriage, and sexuality. Brennan won an Earphones Award for her... Read More
Natalie Naudus narrates the conclusion to The Radiant Emperor Duology. A fierce power struggle is underway to reign as emperor in this retelling of the Ming dynasty's rise to power and wresting of control from the Mongols. Naudus is an admirable guide through a complicated plot with multiple points of view. The characters include a collection of cruel and manipulative people,... Read More
One of this year's finest novels is also one of its most satisfying audiobooks. Set in colonial Malaya (now part of Malaysia), it marks this author's third nomination for Britain's Booker Prize. These narrators convey the full grace and subtlety of his prose. David Oakes narrates the chapters in the third person, which depict author W. Somerset Maugham's visit to Penang in 1921... Read More
Janet Metzger's thoughtful presentation enhances this charming story set in a California houseboat community. Listeners meet 12-year-old Frankie, who's on probation for misbehaving in New Jersey. Standouts performances include the character Michael, who repeats everything after a skateboard accident, and former TV star Margie, who refers to herself in the third person and helps... Read More
Louise Brealey powerfully performs this sci-fi novel, inspired by the novel 1984. In George Orwell's work, Julia serves as a secondary character to Winston, the beleaguered staffer at the Ministry of Truth who is struggling to live under the specter of Big Brother. Newman's audiobook expands the story, capturing the unique struggles of its women, a theme clearly missing in the... Read More
Courtney Patterson brings mid-century North Carolina to life with her narration of this coming-of-age story. Mattie Lee Watson, age 15, is living an ordinary life when salesman James T. Cullowee pulls into town. Patterson brings the innocence and passion of a teenager's crush to fruition as Mattie strives to gain his attention. When Cullowee organizes a kudzu festival, Mattie... Read More
Elise Arsenault expertly delivers a truly excellent and detailed look at singer Madonna's life. From her humble beginnings, Madonna has become an icon for her music, as well as the causes she has championed over the years, such as AIDS awareness. Despite her success, she, like many celebrities, has also endured criticism for her choices of artistic expression. Arsenault offers... Read More
Ell Potter offers an outstanding narration of author Eekhout's speculative fiction. What might have inspired Mary Shelley's now classic horror story? Mary; her soon-to-be husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelly; and her stepsister, Claire, spend the summer of 1816 in Switzerland with Lord Byron and his personal physician, Dr. John Polidori. One cold, rainy night, Byron proposes a... Read More
Twenty years after ERAGON, Gerard Doyle's familiar and compelling voice returns to narrate MURTAGH. Galbatorix has been defeated, and now Murtagh and his dragon, Thorn, must face the consequences of their roles as his reluctant servants. Doyle's talent for accents and passionate battle sequences shines, complementing the author's vivid world. Murtagh's voice resonates with a... Read More
This is a nuanced, opinionated memoir written and narrated by one of the greatest entertainers ever, EGOT-winning Barbra Streisand. While the early chapters sound a bit tentative, she comes into her own quickly. Her voice is in a lower register than in many of her most famous recordings, and listeners will likely be charmed by the conversational style of both her prose and... Read More
Sarah Naudi offers a luminous narration of Harvey's latest sci-fi, which follows four astronauts and two cosmonauts aboard a space station orbiting the Earth. In a measured, thoughtful tone, Naudi provides a window on the crew's life in orbit, from the dreary mundanity of a malfunctioning toilet to the unsettling awe brought forth by a space walk. The crew members reach for... Read More
Dion Graham doesn't just embody the spirit of musician Sly Stone's voice--his performance also accentuates the lyrical rhythm of Stone's prose. Sly and the Family Stone's early albums in the 1960s are landmarks of popular music, a feat Stone worked meticulously to craft. His stories place listeners firmly in the spaces he occupied then and give perspective on why he disappeared... Read More
Acclaimed author Jason Reynolds nimbly narrates his celebration of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. Based on a picture of a real party in Hughes's honor at the Schomburg Center, this loving tribute is alive with rhythm. As Reynolds describes how Hughes excelled at making words dance to his tune, he makes his own words dance. He creates an irresistible feedback loop... Read More
Atta Otigba and Yetide Badaki give outstanding performances of this imagistic, nonlinear novel. They are grand guides to a world of art, history, and criticism. Badaki has precise diction and a lovely artistic tone with a slight Nigerian lilt. Otigba, also Nigerian, delivers his parts in a powerful and authoritative voice. The narrative switches from one to the other... Read More
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