Broadcaster Melvyn Bragg's long career talking about novels has co-existed with a longer career writing them: is his 21st work of fiction. A meditation about memory, women's lives and Britain over the past century, the story is driven by the two titular characters. Set in Bragg's beloved Cumberland, the story is told, in part, as a conversation between Mary, now 92 years old and suffering from senile dementia, and her son John, a writer who feels a sudden need to record his mother's life and times. This he does by transcribing her erratic conversations and looking into her past: her illegitimate birth, the hard times of her own unmarried mother, Grace, and Mary's childhood in wartime England. Bragg's restrained prose is ably read by Gordon Griffin and Sandra Duncan, who alternate between John and Mary. Duncan does an especially fine job at rendering Mary's often confused present with her vivid past. The book is all the more powerful for being semi-autobiographical.
Benjamin Percy's publishers have high hopes for , a horror fantasy that tries to inject new life into a classic monster: the werewolf. In Percy's recasting, the Lycans have learned to control their lunar transformations and live, not as slavering beasts, but as an oppressed minority. They are present in the Holocaust, the war in Iraq and all over America. It is a smart, if less than original tactic: played similar games with greater wit and vivacity. Our would-be-wolves include a teenage girl whose parents are murdered, the only heroic survivor of a plane crash and, gasp, even the US president. While is absorbing, the audiobook is annoying thanks to Percy's voice. Its tone is so deep, ponderous and self-important I was convinced my download was playing at half speed. This slow rumble is probably meant to impart grandeur, but it only gives the impression Percy is rehearsing. To narrate. The film. Trailer. Of. RED MOON!!! Quit the narration, Benjamin. Your writing is fine without it.