- ISBN-13: 9781442375840
- ISBN-10: 1442375841
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Publish Date: November 2014
- Page Count: 80
- Dimensions: 5.8 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.25 pounds
Audio: Going nowhere
My morning email from Orbitz screamed, “Never Stop Vacationing. Give in to your travel needs.” But, before you succumb to their pleas (and others like them) to go-go-go, I suggest you stop, sit quietly and listen to Pico Iyer read his short, cogent, elegantly argued The Art of Stillness. It may make a lasting difference, allowing you to step out of the fray, if only for 30 minutes a day, and let thoughts from the corners of your life come unbidden while your mind meanders. “In an age of speed . . . nothing can be more invigorating than going slow,” Iyer notes. “In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. In an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.” Maybe the “new you” in this New Year will go nowhere and be thrilled by the journey.
HEART OF DARKNESS
If you look for resolution and redemption in fiction, The Laughing Monsters, Denis Johnson’s latest walk on the wild side, is not for you. Living in various overheated, underserved, chaotic African countries, the novel’s edgy protagonists are always on the run, scheming for illicit wealth and avoiding getting caught—by whom and for reasons as elusive as their allegiances. Roland Nair, a white Danish-American who is ostensibly working for an obscure part of NATO, and Michael Adriko, a black African—likely Ugandan—and probable orphan, currently AWOL from U.S. Special Forces, do have a strange allegiance to each other, in an odd-couple way. On the surface, this is a tale of adventure gone awry, tinged with classic noir riffs. Underneath it all is a bleak, provocative look at our morally messy post-9/11 world, where there’s money galore for “snitching and spying” and buyers for all kinds of information, real or cleverly contrived. Scott Shepherd makes Nair’s first-person narration, mixed with bravado and despair, viscerally immediate.
TOP PICK IN AUDIO
David Nicholls’ Us is a charming, cringeworthy-moment-filled deconstruction of a marriage and a family. The story is told by Douglas Petersen, a middle-aged British biochemist, who is well-meaning yet clueless about himself. After almost 25 years of marriage, Connie, his adored, artistic, free-spirited wife, tells him that their marriage is over. Hoping to glue their lives back together, Douglas insists that Connie and their teenage son, Albie, with whom he has a strained relationship, join him on a long-planned European tour. As they wend their star-crossed way across the continent, Douglas alternates his account of the present with seamless flashbacks, so as things might be ending, you get to see how their romance began and how their marriage aged alongside them. Can this relationship be saved? Can father and son make peace? In getting to those answers, you’ll be wonderfully entertained. Witty, keenly observant Nicholls understands the stress and mess of marriage and the perennial problems of parenting. David Haig’s narration is so good that you begin to think Douglas is talking directly to you—and, perhaps, he is.