Retail pak Random House Audio 2003
CS ISBN 073930691X $39.95 Nine cassettes
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Russo (EMPIRE FALLS) is known for delving into the hearts and minds of working-class heroes. This title, uncharacteristically, ventures into the world of academia, but maintains Russo's interest in the working man's struggle. His protagonist is an English instructor at a second-rate college. Sadly, the recording is dreadfully miscast. Freed's reading of the narrator's workday frustrations fails to communicate the humor of even the funniest moments. While Russo's work is known for its comedy, in Freed's hands his conflicted character comes off as self-important and self-absorbed. Russo's story captures well the old saw: "Why are academic politics so cut-throat? Because the stakes are so small." But small stakes don't often make for a good story. D.J.B. (c) AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine [Published: DEC 03/JAN 04]
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