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by | Read by Donna Tartt

Fiction • 6 hrs. • Abridged • © 2002

During the last summer of her childhood, Harriet Cleve Dufresne resolves to find out the answer to the biggest question in her young life: Who hanged her brother dead from a tupelo tree in the front yard when she was just a baby--and why? At first, it sounds as if Donna Tartt's decision to narrate her long-awaited second novel might not have been a good one; her complex writerly sentences demand narrative expertise for her story to sound told rather than read. But in the end, she won over this listener--not just with the charm and appropriateness of her Mississippi accent and intonation--but with the deep affection she gives to a full spectrum of contemporary Southern characters: eccentric middle-class whites, steeped in family mythology of times passed and still mourning the loss of gentility; the working-class blacks whose lives are intertwined with them in complex economic and personal relationships; and dope-dealing, trailer-living rednecks, as resentful and up to no good as any of Faulkner's poor white trash. Tartt narrates as if she's known these people all her life. Her portrayal of Harriet--fierce, precocious, bookish and as likable as Scout Finch--is especially apt. E.K.D. (c) AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine [Published: DEC 02/ JAN 03]



Retail pak • Random House Audio • 2002

CD ISBN 0553714031 $29.95 • Five CDs

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