I’ve recently developed a deep devotion for audiobooks. The key, I’ve found, is to be picky. A strong plot, well-cast narrator and not too long. That’s the winning combo.
I love how audiobooks can transport me to another place while I do commonplace and mundane jobs: painting capacious walls, walking a stubborn dog, driving un-picturesque motorways. These are the perfect opportunities to be wrapped up in another world.
I try to go for library loans through Borrowbox (free and guilt-free) where I can and then as a fall back, Audible (which is neither of those things being owned by Amazon).
Here are four audiobooks guaranteed to give you aural pleasure…
by Oyinkan Braith
This was listed as one of The Guardian‘s best audiobooks for 2019 so far. I loved everything about this audiobook: the setting (Lagos), the themes (sister rivalry and loyalty), the humour (dark), the narrator (Weruche Opia) and the length (4.5 hours). I literally couldn’t predict how this story would end. This is one of those books that the less you know, the more you’ll enjoy it. So I simply say: get hold of a copy.
by Peter Carey
I love historical fiction, and I love it especially when it bends the rules. This is an amazing account of Ned Kelly, the most notorious bushranger in Australian history, but it’s told in the first person from Ned’s point of view. Peter Carey worked with some primary source material, and then just made up the rest. I love the temerity! I thought it worked so well, bringing a one dimensional folk hero into animated and spirited life. The book has received tonnes of accolades, including the Booker Prize in 2001. This narration does it perfect justice.
by Sarah Moss
There is something about Christine Hewitt’s narration that makes this fundamentally disturbing tale … enjoyable? Or at least satisfying. Another short book at just under 4 hours, this packs a weighty punch in its themes – mysogyny, classism and mob mentality as starters. I felt deeply connected to the Northumberland landscape and the well-drawn, if largely unlikable, characters. It’s a superbly balanced, tightly controlled gem of a book and I highly recommend it. I will most definitely be looking out Sarah’s back catalogue of books.
by Esi Edugyan
This is a wonderful book about the filial love between a Barbados slave boy and a white abolitionist. I listened to this while on holiday in Cairns, so there was a lovely confluence of listening in the tropics about a tale about the tropics. Although, the story is a roving one moving from Barbardos to Virginia (via a hot air balloon), to the Artic and then to Nova Scotia, London, Amsterdam and Morocco. It’s a story in which slavery and racism cast a long shadow, but refuses to be shackled by them. It’s an ambitious tale that unfolds in an enchanting and satisfying way and despite its sprawling plot, worked well as an audiobook.
So…. what you can recommend to me? What should I be listening to next? I’d love to compile a long list….