Instructions for a Heatwave

8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Books on Tape. 9780804120692. $40; 9 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; digital download. F
In 1976, a historic heat wave and drought hit Great Britain, with conditions so extreme that a Minister of Drought was appointed. On one blistering day that summer, Robert Riordan gets up and simply walks away from his wife of 40 years. Gretta Riordan calls her three adult children home. O'Farrell's (The Hand That First Held Mine) latest takes place over the span of a week, with reflections cast back over the lifetimes of each of the family members. John Lee is best with the Irish voice of Gretta and good with both the female and male characters. Just as heat blisters paint and reveals layers underneath, so, too, are family fissures and cracks laid open as the search begins for the patriarch and deeply guarded secrets are forced to the surface.
VERDICT For listeners who enjoy introspective family dramas.

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