Book pak Recorded Books 1997
CS ISBN 0788712284 $26.00 Three cassettes
This short novel exhibits the author's sardonic fatalism, a kind of humor so dark that, before the work closes, it's more sad--or angry--than funny. A basically good man dies in a stickup, finds himself in hell, whence proceed comic misadventures. Elkin gives his dramatis personae an endearing quality--except for God, who is a petulant, willful despot. George Guidall, one of the best audiobook narrators, misses none of the beats. Wisely, he reads with a comic tone, but without the comic timing of gags that would turn satire into the Three Stooges. He stints on none of the drama, yet pulls back on the bigger moments to keep them from turning bathetic. His interpretation conjures up a phantasmagoria by Hieronymus Bosch in a prankish mood. If he errs, it's in his inability to give Joseph, a minor character here as in the New Testament, the Yiddish inflections the author wrote for him. There is something of Dostoyevsky as much as of Elkin in Guidall's horrifically funny afterlife, something bigger than the text he reads from. Y.R. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award ©AudioFile, Portland, Maine [Published: MAR/APR 98]
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