It is my pleasure to present to you 2016’s Best Audiobooks in Fiction as selected by the editors at AudioFile Magazine. This year they selected their top titles in the following categories: Fiction, Nonfiction & Culture, Memoir, Biography & History, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children & Family Listening, Young Adult, and Romance. Getting a sneak peak at the list and partnering with AudioFile Magazine in this event is exciting. It also reminds me that Armchair Audies season is right around the corner.
You can get access to the complete list of the best audiobooks by category here. In doing so, you will also be entered to win free audiobooks with a 6-month membership to Audiobooks.com. After looking at these lists, you’ll know just how to use that membership if you win.
We’ve arrived at the second third of AudioFile’s list of the 16 best audiobooks in the Fiction category. Today I’m really excited to post extra audio clips and video featuring Mark Bramhall, one of my absolute favorite narrators. He narrated Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo. Be sure to click on each title to read the AudioFile review.
American Buffalo by David Mamet
Narrated by Josh Stamberg, Maurice Williams, and Rich Hutchman
Published by L.A. Theatre Works
1 hour and 14 minutes
David Mamet’s gift for storytelling and forging poetry from both the plain-spoken and profane turns an ill-conceived scheme to steal a rare coin into a triumph of dramatic art.
In a junk shop, three men of different generations plan their heist. But their fates, like the nickel’s worn image of the beleaguered buffalo, may have been sealed long ago.
Everbody’s Fool by Richard Russo
Narrated by Mark Bramhall
Published by Random House Audio
18 hours 52 minutes
The irresistible Sully, who in the intervening years has come by some unexpected good fortune, is staring down a VA cardiologist’s estimate that he has only a year or two left, and it’s hard work trying to keep this news from the most important people in his life: Ruth, the married woman he carried on with for years…the ultra-hapless Rub Squeers, who worries that he and Sully aren’t still best friends…Sully’s son and grandson, for whom he was mostly an absentee figure (and now a regretful one). We also enjoy the company of Doug Raymer, the chief of police who’s obsessing primarily over the identity of the man his wife might’ve been about to run off with before dying in a freak accident…Bath’s mayor, the former academic Gus Moynihan, whose wife problems are, if anything, even more pressing…and then there’s Carl Roebuck, whose lifelong run of failing upward might now come to ruin. And finally there’s Charice Bond – a light at the end of the tunnel that is Chief Raymer’s office – as well as her brother, Jerome, who might well be the train barreling into the station.
Narrator Mark Bramhall on Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo
LaRose by Louise Erdrich
Narrated by Louise Erdrich
Published by Harper Audio
14 hours 37 minutes
North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence – but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he’s hit something else, a blur he saw as he squeezed the trigger. When he staggers closer, he realizes he has killed his neighbor’s five-year-old son, Dusty Ravich.
The youngest child of his friend and neighbor, Peter Ravich, Dusty was best friends with Landreaux’s five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have always been close, sharing food, clothing, and rides into town; their children played together despite going to different schools; and Landreaux’s wife, Emmaline, is half sister to Dusty’s mother, Nola. Horrified at what he’s done, the recovered alcoholic turns to an Ojibwe tribe tradition – the sweat lodge – for guidance and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and Emmaline will give LaRose to the grieving Peter and Nola. “Our son will be your son now,” they tell them.
LaRose is quickly absorbed into his new family. Plagued by thoughts of suicide, Nola dotes on him, keeping her darkness at bay. His fierce, rebellious new “sister”, Maggie, welcomes him as a coconspirator who can ease her volatile mother’s terrifying moods. Gradually he’s allowed shared visits with his birth family, whose sorrow mirrors the Raviches’ own. As the years pass, LaRose becomes the linchpin linking the Irons and the Raviches, and eventually their mutual pain begins to heal.
But when a vengeful man with a longstanding grudge against Landreaux begins raising trouble, hurling accusations of a cover-up the day Dusty died, he threatens the tenuous peace that has kept these two fragile families whole.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Narrated by Alex McKenna
Published by Random House Audio
12 hours 24 minutes
Shot from a mundane, provincial past, Tess comes to New York in the stifling summer of 2006. Alone, knowing no one, living in a rented room in Williamsburg, she manages to land a job as a backwaiter at a celebrated downtown Manhattan restaurant. This begins the year we spend with Tess as she starts to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing, and privileged life she has chosen as well as the remorseless and luminous city around her. What follows is her education: in oysters, champagne, the appellations of Burgundy, friendship, cocaine, lust, love, and dive bars.
As her appetites awaken – for food and wine but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging – we see her helplessly drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle. With an orphan’s ardor, she latches on to Simone, a senior server at the restaurant who has lived in ways Tess only dreams of, and against the warnings of coworkers she falls under the spell of Jake, the elusive, tatted up, achingly beautiful bartender. These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess’ most exhilarating and painful lesson of all..
The Nix by Nathan Hill
Narrated by Ari Fliakos
Published by Random House Audio
21 hours 50 minutes
It’s 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson – college professor, stalled writer – has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn’t seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she’s reappeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: She’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help.
To save her, Samuel will have to embark on his own journey, uncovering long-buried secrets about the woman he thought he knew, secrets that stretch across generations and have their origin all the way back in Norway, home of the mysterious Nix. As he does so, Samuel will confront not only Faye’s losses but also his own lost love and will relearn everything he thought he knew about his mother and himself.
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