Category Archives: Literary Fiction

2015 Literary Fiction Nominees and Reviews

The following audiobooks were nominated in the Literary Fiction Category. Reviews will be posted as they come in.

This category will be judged by Jennifer at Literate Housewife. Would you like to join her? Send an email to armchairaudies@gmail.com.

Here are the nominees:

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  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell; Narrated by Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, Steven Crossley, Laurel Lefkow, and Anna Bentinck from Recorded Books

“I normally do not have difficulty following novels that move fluidly through time in audio, but The Bone Clocks proved to be an exception. I enjoyed the individual stories and most of the narration, but I only finished this audiobook because I was stubborn.” ~ Literate Housewife

Literate Housewife’s full review

  • Euphoria by Lily King; Narrated by Simon Vance and Xe Sands from Blackstone Audio Inc.

“Both Vance and Sands impressed me with the way they brought their characters to life. Better yet, their styles complemented each other and the novel as a whole. My excitement over this collaboration was well deserved.” ~ Literate Housewife

Literate Housewife’s full review

  • Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín; Narrated by Fiona Shaw from Simon & Schuster
  • The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn; Narrated by Alex Jennings from Macmillan Audio

“The pretentious characters were an immediate turnoff and when a female character was degraded twice within the first hour, I pulled out my DNF card. Had there been more dialog near the beginning of the novel the narration would have been more noteworthy, but no narration would have been enough to prompt me to listen for 20 more hours.” ~ Literate Housewife

Literate Housewife’s full review

  • An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine; Narrated by Suzanne Toren from Audible, Inc.

“Suzanne Toren was the perfect choice to narrate Aaliya’s story. She innately understood her tone, the pacing of her thoughts, and her stubbornness. As a listener I understood how Aaliya felt about people or places by the way that the name rolled off of her tongue. When Aaliya eavesdropped on her neighbors while they drank their morning coffee, I could see what she was seeing as much by her descriptions as by her tone and inflection. Toren knew Aaliya well and it made An Unnecessary Woman a much more vivid experience than I imagine it would have been in print alone.” ~ Literate Housewife

Literate Housewife’s full review

  • Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers; Narrated by MacLeod Andrews with Marc Cashman, Mark Deakins, Michelle Gonzalez, Rebecca Lowman, John H. Mayer, Kate McGregor-Stewart, and Bruce Turk from Penguin Random House Audio

“While this audiobook contains the work of 8 different narrators, MacLeod Andrews portrayed Thomas. This is my first experience with his work and I was one happy audiobook listener to have discovered him. His performance was enthralling. When Thomas was excited, I felt it. When Thomas was irritated during a deposition, it set my teeth on edge. When I found Thomas’ discussions with the congressman making perfect sense to me, I wondered if I had developed a touch of Stockholm Syndrome. Andrews and his superb supporting cast provide one of the most entertaining audiobook experiences I’ve encountered in a very long time. I loved this audiobook so much that I’d be interested in reading about the experience of recording it. I want to know how the team pulled it all together.” ~ Literate Housewife

Literate Housewife’s full review

2014 Literary Fiction Nominees and Reviews

The following audiobooks were nominated in the Literary Fiction Category. Reviews will be posted as they come in.

This category will be judged by Melanie from Overreader and Jennifer from Literate Housewife. Would you like to join them? Send an email to armchairaudies@gmail.com.

Here are the nominees:

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  • Amy Falls Down (by Jincy Willett; Narrated by Amy McFadden; Brilliance Audio)
  • The Curiosity (by Stephen Kiernan; Narrated by Kate Udall, Erik Bergmann, Jason Culp, and George Guidall; HarperAudio)
  • The Goldfinch (by Donna Tartt; Narrated by David Pittu; Hachette Audio)
  • The Son (by Philipp Meyer; Narrated by Will Patton, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Shepherd, and Clifton Collins, Jr.; HarperAudio)
  • The Testament of Mary (by Colm Toibin; Narrated by Meryl Streep; Simon & Schuster Audio)
  • White Dog Fell from the Sky (by Eleanor Morse; Narrated by Carla Mercer-Meyer; Tantor Media)

2013 Literary Fiction Nominees and Reviews

The following audiobooks were nominated in the Literary Fiction Category. This category is being reviewed by Jennifer from Literate Housewife, Theresa from October Lace…Thoughts and Stitches, and Melanie from Overreader. Would you like to join the crowd? Sign up here.

BringUptheBodies

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel and narrated by Simon Vance

Reviews

Literate Housewife

As the main character through whom we see the events unfold, it was important that any narrator understand Thomas Cromwell and his motivations. His portrayal was strong throughout, and, as Cromwell ticked off the four paws from the unforgettable masque about Wolsey, it was chillingly apparent that Simon Vance knew his man.

OctoberLace Thoughts and Stitches

This is my favorite of the group and my choice for the Audie award in Literary Fiction.

Overreader

This narration just proves how right I am to follow Vance from genre to genre – he has that quality that makes the listener eager to hear what else he’s done. The voice differentiations here were particularly well-done, each person not only distinct, but perfectly suited to the character. I was distinctively entertained, and 24 hours of listening flew by.

TheEndoftheAffair

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene and narrated by Colin Firth

Reviews

Overreader

Smart, subtle writing, and such deceptively complex characters. You think they’re one easily-graspable thing, but the deeper Greene goes (and deep he does go), the more each layer unfurls. And I could sense Firth’s enjoyment, especially of Bendrix. He approached the narration with a calm, almost under-stated attitude that really suited the overly-introspective Bendrix. But the passion for Sarah, the agony of their separation and uncertainty when they met again – it was all there.

OctoberLace Thoughts and Stitches

This is an interesting tale of a love/hate relationship between a wife, husband, and lover, with more complexity than appears on the surface.

Literate Housewife

Colin Firth, while a man with a nice reading voice, was without passion while narrating most of this audiobook. As this book is all about the passion, it left me bored and wishing I had listened to the Michael Kitchen narration again.

Heft

Heft by Liz Moore and narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Keith Szarabajka

Reviews

OctoberLace Thoughts and Stitches

Were it not for this audibook’s inclusion in this list, I probably would never have chosen to listen to it, but I am really glad I did.

Literate Housewife

Keith Szarabajka’s Arthur Opp was amazing. It took me longer to warm to Kirby Heybourne’s narration, but this audiobook was a fantastic listen. The subject matter hit home with me as well. So glad the Armchair Audies prompted me to listen to this title.

Overreader

I definitely enjoyed Moore’s tale which gradually – delightfully gradually – pulls together two unlikely recluses. Kel and Arthur are both intriguing characters, and Heyborne and Szarabajka (in particular) bring a lot of life to them.

TheRemainsoftheDay

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and narrated by Simon Prebble

Reviews

Literate Housewife

I very much enjoyed Prebble’s work at the conference held at Darlington Hall, which was full of accents and personalities. His narration of the scene on the bench was beautiful. After listening to this book, I can fully understand why people love his work so much.

OctoberLace Thoughts and Stitches

This was a good story, though at times it was a bit slow. Simon Prebble’s narration was wonderful.

Overreader

Stevens the butler wants, above all things, to be the paragon of his trade. This is one of those books where a hell of a lot more happens inside the protagonist’s head than in his actions, although it is due to the journey Stevens undertakes that he is finally reflecting on some aspects of his life and career. It’s absolutely full of subtle tension and heartbreak. Prebble imbues each moment with those quiet emotions, carrying us along Stevens’s road all the way. I loved how fully inhabited he was in Ishiguro’s voice, how completely present he was in the narrative. This was a great pairing of book with narrator, and I’d recommend it to, like, everyone.

RememberBenClayton

Remember Ben Clayton by Stephen Harrigan and narrated by George Guidall

Reviews

OctoberLace Thoughts and Stitches

I will be honest and say that I really didn’t care for this one. I’m not much for Westerns and the whole concept of the story was a bit far-fetched for me.

Literate Housewife

This book bored me to tears. George Guidall has the right voice for narrating a Western, but the story itself wasn’t worth listening to. I DNFd this audiobook at around the 3 hour mark.

Overreader

It wasn’t the narration that failed. The book is not interesting. It tries, and it fails, to sweep me into a grand historical setting with wars and travel and artists and lonesome cowboys with mysterious kidnapped-by-Comanches pasts. (See, so many elements! And yet they just didn’t speak to each other, or to me.) Guidall handled it all just fine, but he never seemed any more enthusiastic about the material than I was, and it was neither distinctive nor entertaining.