The Hearing Trumpet
by Leonora Carrington (read by Sian Phillips)
Random House

Written in the 1950s or 60s, The Hearing Trumpet is as strange as you could wish for. Our hero is Marian Leatherby, 92, who lives in Mexico with her grasping son, Galahad, his atrocious wife, Muriel, and their appalling son, Robert. Grey of beard, desolate of teeth and bent by “rheumatics”, Marian at least has her deafness alleviated when a friend gives her the titular hearing aid, which allows her to hear Galahad plotting to ship her off to a home. At this point, Carrington’s deceptively genteel prose explodes into weird, near-apocalyptic anima­tion. The institution is filled with characters whose strange­ness offers fierce, even defiant proof of life. Be prepared for magic rituals, cross-dressing drug dealers, body-swapping cult leaders searching for the Holy Grail, and more.