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April 2019 Earphones Award Winners

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.


BOOK OF LONGING
Earphones Award Winner
Poetry & Drama

Leonard Cohen, narrating his audiobook of poems, provides listeners an opportunity to hear his unique intonation and pensive tone once more. First published in 2006, this collection features Cohen's thoughts and observations on sexual desire, getting older, and finding the truths in his everyday movements. Throughout, Cohen's voice resonates with intimacy. He notes the beauty... Read More

THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPWRECKED BOOKS
Earphones Award Winner
History

Audiobook lovers will take special pleasure in the ease and agility of Richard Trinder's narration of one of this season's most exacting texts. This history of the library assembled by Columbus's "natural" son, Hernando, is being compared to GALILEO'S DAUGHTER and THE SWERVE, and rightly, for opening a seemingly narrow window onto a broad view of an age. The prose is lively and... Read More

DAISY JONES & THE SIX
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

This is--to state it plainly--a remarkable audiobook. It recounts the story of a seventies rock band's meteoric rise to fame and mysterious fall from grace. Written as a transcribed oral history, it lends itself naturally to the audio format. Also, it's narrated by a star-studded full cast. Film and TV actors Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer, and Pablo Schreiber... Read More

FIRST
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

You know an audiobook is good when you have to choose between listening and sleeping during an overnight transoceanic airplane flight. Kirsten Potter narrates this biography of America's first female Supreme Court justice with enthusiasm and clarity. She adjusts her tone to suit the subject matter, ranging from warmly personal in family sections to evenhandedly serious in... Read More

FROMAGE A TROIS
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Katherine Littrell portrays Ella from Melbourne, who expects a proposal from her beau of eight years. Instead, he decides to go away to find himself. Littrell is absolutely delightful while delivering Ella's headlong flight to Paris, where she intends to find her own joy. Littrell's plucky tone and vitality make listening to Ella's upbeat attempts to put the past... Read More

GOLDEN CHILD
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Obi Abili's soft Caribbean accent beautifully complements this intimate and harrowing story of a family in Trinidad. Peter and Paul are the twin sons of caring Hindu parents, and, while Peter is a gifted student, Paul struggles, seeing the world differently from those around him. Clyde, the boys' father, struggles to raise and educate them in the crime-ridden town... Read More

THE GOWN
Earphones Award Winner
Historical Fiction

Marisa Calin narrates this novel about the making of Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth's wedding dress during an intense six months in London in 1947. Calin's flowing voice smoothly describes the lives of the women involved, including Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, who sewed the gown and embroidered the incredible designs on the garment in Norman Hartnell's couturier studio.... Read More

GRATEFUL AMERICAN
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Actor Gary Sinise's familiar gravelly voice evokes genuine emotion as he tells of his struggle to find his place in the acting world and how he was inspired to give back to the men and women who serve in the U.S. military and to first responders like police and firefighters. Sinise uses his skills as a director and writer to bring order to the scenes described in the story. He... Read More

KADDISH.COM
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

This is the rare and extraordinary audiobook that reaches new heights because of the narrator's flawless performance. Rob Shapiro delivers the material perfectly while enhancing every scene with a style and diversity of tones and emotions that highlight each moment. At its core, the novel focuses on Larry, a formerly observant Orthodox Jew who refuses to say Kaddish, the... Read More

THE KILLER COLLECTIVE
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

He's done it again--narrator Barry Eisler has reprised his impressive author/narrator double role for a superbly delivered audiobook. This thriller continues with the professional killers from the preceding books, but even listeners new to the series will relish the personalities and plot twists. As the assassins form an unlikely team to eradicate a child pornography ring,... Read More

A KNIFE IN THE FOG
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Matthew Lloyd Davies provides an expert narration of Bradley Harper's first outing in an exciting new series. It's 1888. After A STUDY IN SCARLET, Arthur Conan Doyle swears off writing anymore crime stories. He is summoned to London by Prime Minister Gladstone to assist in solving the Whitechapel murders and finding Jack the Ripper. Doyle calls upon his mentor, forensic expert... Read More

LOST CHILDREN ARCHIVE
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Luiselli's knotty metafictional novel about a family road trip and lost children, which includes images and documents as well as multiple narrators and multiple narratives, does not initially seem suited to audio. Smart production decisions and capable narration, however, transform it into a fascinating audiobook that will stay with listeners long after they finish. The... Read More

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Lucy Rayner's melodic narration of this full-length biography of Mary Queen of Scots is a unique experience. Her sweet voice and sweeping tones are reminiscent of an epic poem as opposed to a history of this tumultuous period of English and Scottish history. From Stuart's birth and before, through her marriages, reigns in France and Scotland, and imprisonment in the Tower of... Read More

THE MURDER PIT
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Malk Williams deftly narrates an engaging Victorian mystery featuring the poor man's Sherlock Holmes. William Arrowood despises Holmes, yet he serves a similar role in the poorer parts of London. His newest case is more violent and grittier than any Holmes ever tackled. Along with his trusted assistant, Arrowood descends into the darkness in hope of finding a missing bride.... Read More

NOTES FROM A YOUNG BLACK CHEF
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

What if your dream to open a fine dining restaurant came true and then died as it closed three months later? Kwame Onwuachi is memoirist turned narrator. His style is characterized by an unblinking honesty through which he reveals the story behind one of the most talked about new restaurants in Washington, DC. Onwuachi's indignation at the restaurant industry, and chronicle of... Read More

ONCE UPON A PRINCESS
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Two authors create a compulsively listenable royal romance, wonderfully wrought by Fleur Strange's nuanced narration. In an age of smartphones and social media, British Princess Olivia, aka Charlie, manages an incognito country retreat. While reconciling herself to an arranged engagement, an improbable connection develops between her and Rosie, a small-town cafe owner in... Read More

THE PEACOCK FEAST
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Listeners will be fully engaged with Tavia Gilbert's sublime narration, which appreciably enhances this multigenerational story. At 101 years old, Prudence, the daughter of a gardener at Laurelton Hall (Louis Tiffany's mansion) first meets her grandniece, Grace. As they talk, the history of their entire family, and of the times in which they lived, unfolds. Gilbert expertly... Read More

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
Earphones Award Winner
Classics

Listeners will be enchanted by James Warwick's narration of Oscar Wilde's famous and controversial novel. The story involves a man named Dorian Gray who has been corrupted by his youth and physical beauty. Several productions of this classic have already been produced, but Warwick's performance is simply arresting. He narrates in a strong voice with an elegant cadence and vocal... Read More

THE RECKONING
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

With a remarkable ability to subtly distinguish myriad characters, Lucy Patterson masterfully narrates this thriller, the second featuring Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja. Ten years ago, a child wrote a series of initials on a letter for a school time capsule. Somehow, those letters are tied to a series of grisly murders. In a crisp British accent, Patterson... Read More

REDEMPTION
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

A star performance by Kyf Brewer and Orlagh Cassidy should push this audiobook to the top of every thriller fan's must list. As a result of being hit on the head, Amos Decker, portrayed by Brewer, can remember everything that ever happened to him, complete with emotions. Brewer owns Decker's intensity. He gives the character great focus and a steely resolve to find out whether... Read More

THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF COYOTE SUNRISE
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Khristine Hvam's narration is as heartfelt as the story of 12-year-old Coyote Sunrise. As Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, crisscross the country in a refitted school bus in search of the next delicious meal or some other particular delight, they avoid the heartbreak that befell them five years earlier. All this changes with one phone conversation, and a cross-country trek against... Read More

THE SCIENTIFIC SUBLIME
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Several popular audiobooks attempt to explain contemporary science, the best known being Bill Bryson's A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING. In this work Gross is unique in his focus on one central feature, the sublime--in nature, in the theories of scientists, and in scientific writing. Bob Souer proves an excellent choice as narrator for this challenging and provocative text.... Read More

SONG FOR A WHALE
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Iris, a 12-year-old deaf girl, prefers American Sign Language to speech, but listeners can still hear her every thought and sign. This is thanks to Abigail Revasch, who expressively narrates Iris's ASL conversations and mental musings. Iris struggles as a deaf girl in a mainstream school, often feeling isolated. When she learns of Blue 55, an unusual whale that sings at a... Read More

THE VOLUNTEER
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Edoardo Ballerini's magnificent narration of Scibona's remarkable new novel is a gift to listeners. He turns the kaleidoscopic saga into a fully accessible story, and adds clarity to Scibona's habit of scattering the page with a welter of description. The story, which encompasses four generations of men related by blood or propinquity, revolves around Iowa farm boy Vollie... Read More

THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Cassandra Campbell brings the practiced touch of a seasoned performer to her narration of this story in which a piano figures heavily. Katya Dmitrievna and Clara Lundy begin their lives a generation and a continent apart, but an old Blüthner upright piano connects them to each other like a piano string connects hammer and key. Campbell fluidly advances their separate stories,... Read More

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