From Publishers Weekly
When an author uses the same characters in more than one novel, the audio performance can be accurately compared. Fenno, a gay man who emigrates from Scotland to New York's Greenwich Village, is for many readers the most endearing character in Julia Glass's first novel, Three Junes
, read by John Keating, who captured the cadences and charm of Fenno's native land. O'Hare, in contrast, produces a rather vague accent that could be Irish or Scottish. He also endows the New Mexico governor with a Texas accent, though the heartiness with which O'Hare portrays him is perfect. Despite these flaws, O'Hare has an eloquent, easy-to-listen-to voice that covers the large canvas of Glass's novel handily. He does particularly well with the main couple, Alan and Greenie, and O'Hare's rendition of their four-year-old son, George, is marvelous. It's a shame that the audio is not available unabridged through retail outlets. (Books on Tape, a division of Random House, has a 23-hour unabridged version on audible.com.) While condensation may work well for Campbell's Soup and tomes that are improved by having their windy digressions clipped, Glass's novel was one of the most wonderful reads of the summer and didn't need editing.
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Greenie Duquette loves her cozy life in the West Village, her work as a pastry chef, and her precocious young son. But she is fed up with her husband, Alan, an underemployed psychotherapist whose once passionate beliefs are ossifying into reflexive bitterness. When, in early 2000, the brash Republican governor of New Mexico offers her a lucrative job, she jumps at it; Alan is free to follow her if he chooses. In Glass's sprawling follow-up to her award-winning novel "Three Junes," a dozen or so characters are plunged into the tumultuous dissatisfactions and challenges of middle age, their paths crossing and recrossing with a pleasing mixture of chance and inevitability. Glass is fascinated by the ways people gamble both with and for their happiness, but her characters are a little too decent, generous, and forgiving. Even as we watch their dramas unfold in the shadow of 9/11, the potential horror of irrevocable choices eludes us.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker
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