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.
Brittany Pressley skillfully headlines an expansive full cast in this immersive audio production. Violet Volk is a dazzling and daring superstar magician. When she vanishes during her flashiest performance yet, her sister, Sasha, is left behind to pick up the pieces. Ten years later, unanswered questions continue to haunt Sasha; her daughter, Quinn; and Violet's legions of... Read More
Journalist Hayley Campbell explores the often hidden world of those who work closely with death, visiting their workplaces and finding small displays of compassion in some unexpected settings. In this author-narrated work, Campbell's British accent and matter-of-fact delivery take the listener on a tour of mortuaries, postmortem experimentation, death-mask artistry, crime-scene... Read More
With actors like Jon Hamm, Kate Mara, and the rest, this Audible Original had to be a smash. The fact that it is based on a true story clinched it. Hamm portrays an intrepid FBI agent in the 1950s who is enmeshed in the terrible purge of suspected communists in Hollywood. Hamm delivers his usual pitch-perfect performance, managing to imbue hesitations and nuances into his... Read More
In this novel on audio, narrator Stacy Gonzalez gives an impassioned performance of a renowned tennis professional. The story covers Carrie's career from when she was first being coached by her father at the age of 2 through her decades as a professional to her retirement after shattering every record. Now, at 37, as she watches an up-and-coming player, Carrie decides to make a... Read More
The British narrator Fenella Fudge delivers this audiobook with dramatic flair that is captivating on its own merits while never failing to connect with the deepest parts of the author's message. Fudge's tonal range and phrasing artistry are a joy to hear performing this beautiful poetic writing. Focusing on the boundary between human consciousness and our physical bodies, this... Read More
Jennifer Hui gives a moving performance of this poignant examination of themes related to the Asian diaspora. Twenty years after her mother disappeared from her life, pregnant Lily considers motherhood. After a chance meeting with a former friend of her mother, Lily tries again to locate her mother. Long ago, Lily's father embraced emigration from Brunei to a small town in... Read More
Emma Gregory's rich, magisterial voice has made her a popular narrator for many fictional melodramas, sagas, epic fantasies, and conspiracy tales. Here those elements combine as she recounts one tumultuous century in British history. Gregory is a commanding and expansive presence as she oversees the clash of armies and the fall of kings and governments. British history is seen... Read More
Caroline Holmes skillfully narrates the story of 15-year-old Alice, whose stories about her adventures in Wonderland cause her family to believe she's mentally unstable. She escapes from an asylum, where doctors wanted to perform a radical, new procedure to cure her. After traveling back to Wonderland, she is drawn into a plot against the cruel, delusional Queen of Hearts.... Read More
Seth Numrich's narration of 17-year-old Charlie Reade's story is moving and frightening in equal measure. Charlie befriends a reclusive curmudgeon, Howard Bowditch, and his aging dog, and inherits Howard's house and dog when he dies. Howard also leaves Charlie a cassette recording--voiced remarkably by Stephen King. On it, Howard recounts a story within the story, involving a... Read More
With undisguised delight, Gildart Jackson narrates one of the seminal masterpieces of horror, the tale of Dracula. Jackson does it without the pretentious posturing and clichéd accents found in some readings, performing with skill and obvious love for the genre. He does a sentence in true Bela Lugosi style at the start--but in jest. Otherwise, he speaks perfectly in an odd,... Read More
Narrator Pete Cross delivers a compelling performance of this supernatural thriller filled with secrets and emotional twists and turns. Cross nails the emotions experienced in the opening sequence: the anguish felt by zombie Caroline and the terror felt by her gender-fluid twin brother, Mars, as she attempts to murder him. The building tensions Mars feels as boys bully him at... Read More
Fans of Natalie Lloyd who have loved the written voice of her magical novels for years have a treat in store with her debut as narrator. Her warm Southern voice perfectly fits 11-year-old Olive, a character with whom she shares the disability of brittle bones and many other growing-up experiences. Lloyd makes clear homeschooled Olive's deep wish to attend public middle school,... Read More
This entertaining audiobook, narrated masterfully by Golden Voice Martin Jarvis, is more than the story of a jockey racing a horse down the icy slope known as the Cresta Run. It's a novel about jockey Miles Pussett's struggles with depression, dependency, heartbreak, love, and the legacy of his father, a famed jockey who died in an accident while saving young Miles's life. In... Read More
Kimberly Farr, much lauded for her narration of Strout's Amgash series, brings her characteristic blend of introspection and compassion to this next chapter in Lucy Barton's life. As the pandemic begins, Lucy, at the urging of her ex-husband, William, flees New York City for the relative calm of coastal Maine. Farr describes Lucy's initial confusion over William's worries,... Read More
Three talented women--narrator, author, and protagonist--combine forces for this gripping historical novel set in Renaissance Italy. Maggie O'Farrell, author of the award-winning novel HAMNET, here introduces us to Lucrezia de' Medici of Florence, who married Duke Alfonso d'Este of Ferrara in 1559. Genevieve Gaunt's captivating performance illuminates the suspenseful tale like... Read More
Narrator Dara Rosenberg gives a magnificent performance of this hilarious and heartwarming rom-com. Dara Rabinowitz, a 30-something developer of a Jewish matchmaking app, appears on a television show hosted by anchor Chris Steadfast. Dara's matchmaker grandmother, Bubbe Miriam, accompanies Dara and shares with the audience the list of qualities Dara is seeking in her perfect... Read More
A phenomenal narration by the esteemed Golden Voice narrator Barbara Rosenblat brings all of the characters of this cozy mystery to life. Delivering seamless transitions between Beryl, the American adventuress, and Edwina, the prim and proper Brit, Rosenblat deftly navigates this story of poison-pen letters and preposterous rumor mongering. Convincing accents for all the... Read More
This anthology covering the diverse lived experiences of Asian-Americans is enhanced by a full cast of vocal performers. Composed of 30 essays and poems, the collection covers a wide range of experiences from different intersectionalities. The talented narrators deliver the vignettes in varying styles, creating a compelling aural smorgasbord. Similar themes of being othered,... Read More
From this audiobook's opening line, Joniece Abbott-Pratt's narration creates an immersive listening experience. She perfectly embodies the first-person perspective of Kiara, a high school dropout who is living with her older brother, Marcus, in a shabby apartment in East Oakland, California. Their father is dead, and their mother is gone, leaving them with only each other.... Read More
The talented and capable María José Zuniga narrates this story about kindness at the Mexican-American border. Young Noemi and her mother, who are seeking asylum, arrive at the border and put their names in a notebook. The notebook lists people waiting to plead their cases to the American authorities. A kind woman named Belinda, the notebook keeper, encourages everyone to remain... Read More
Narrator Edoardo Ballerini elevates this poignant audiobook. He gives this series of connected essays a pliable reading that emulates the author's voice, which ranges from authoritative (on politics and economics) to interrogative (on Italy's future). His narration captures the work's moods--sometimes despairing, occasionally celebratory--through apt pacing. His tone befits a... Read More
Portraying the life of the seventeenth-century poet John Donne, narrator Simon Vance is, as always, eloquent, precise, and finely attuned. He delivers some of the finest lines in British poetry with ease and assurance. Donne's poetic genius emerged out of long struggle and deprivation, shadowed by a love-match elopement that ruined his prospects but inspired much of his... Read More
Narrator Devon Sorvari captivates listeners with her magnificent portrayal of Joey, a 20-something everywoman who is attending a San Francisco art school in 2011. Before the audiobook's satisfying conclusion, Sorvari exquisitely expresses every moment of Joey's nail-biting distress and sharply observed humor as she wrestles with the demands of her overwhelmed mother and... Read More
Robin Miles gives a mesmerizing performance of this extraordinarily powerful Civil War novel, cowritten and inspired by the family histories of authors Shaunna Edwards, who is Black, and Alyson Richman, who is white and Jewish. With her perfect pacing, Miles transports listeners to this fraught landscape and holds their rapt attention until the last moment. Heartbreaking period... Read More
Narrator Gabra Zackman has that rare ability to get inside the souls of her authors. Here she reads Feiring's memoir with an understanding of its confessional dips into the past and its compelling journeys into the wine world of the present. Her pauses matter, she chats when needed, and her pacing is spot-on. Zackman's French and Italian are musical. The audiobook is an... Read More
Philbrick's latest historical fiction, set in 1920s Maine, is brought to life by the amazing Kirby Heyborne. Davy and his sister, Jo, orphaned by their mother's death, are rescued for the summer by cousin Ruthie Reynard, a famous aviatrix who gives them jobs and a home in her flying circus. As delivered by Heyborne, 12-year-old Davy's voice is nervous as he worries about his... Read More
Versatile narrators effectively differentiate interwoven characters' perspectives in this retelling of Stephen King's CARRIE, made more horrific by its theme of racism. Maddy (Carrie redux), a timid biracial teen who is bullied at school, has secret psychic powers that explode on prom night. As a broadcast reporter, portrayed by Christopher Salazar, tracks the facts of what... Read More
In wry tones, T. Ryder Smith deftly narrates David Sipress's bittersweet and charming memoir about growing up in New York City in the 1960s and his rocky road to being a successful cartoonist for the NEW YORKER. Smith gives Sipress's father a brusque tone and Brooklyn accent that is in direct contrast to the relaxed tenor of the rest of the narration, artfully conveying... Read More
Children of all ages love the classic and iconic character Winnie-the-Pooh in many forms, and here is a fully engaging audiobook. Framed as a father telling Christopher Robin and his friend Winnie-the-Pooh stories about their adventures, the stories introduce listeners to Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga, and Roo. Young children will giggle at Winnie-the-Pooh's love of honey,... Read More
Sandra Cisneros's performance of her poetry is a marvel. She is so good that one wishes she would record poetry by other writers as well. Her voice is a wonderful instrument, and she explores its possibilities with tone, accent, and timbre while conveying her intentions in these deeply personal poems. The poems examine life as a woman of a certain age in Mexico and the U.S.... Read More
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