Library Ed. Bolinda Audio 2003
CS ISBN 174030439X $40.00 Five cassettes
CD ISBN 174093086X $56.00 Seven CDs
In the use of a framing device for a collection of stories, Bocaccio and Chaucer are transposed to pre-Revolutionary Russia. As a 16-year-old girl, the author's mother-in-law escaped from a pogrom bearing an iron skillet as cooking tool, weapon, and armor. She not only saved herself, but accumulated a ragtag group of refugees. Before each of their meager evening meals on the road, one member of the band tells a story about food. In this audio, which won an Audie Award in 2002, the framing narrative is read by the protean-voiced Humphrey Bower and the reminiscences, which comprise the bulk of the tome, by the unctuous Melissa Eccleston. This reviewer loves the well-written stories but can barely tolerate Eccleston's phony Russian-Jewish accent, mispronunciations of Yiddish, and strident cadences, despite her dramatic flare. Y.R.
(c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine [Published: APR/MAY 04]