Acts of Violet

Macmillan Audio. Jul. 2022. 11:09 hrs. ISBN 9781250854636. $26.99. F
Ten outstanding narrators elevate the latest novel from Montimore (Oona Out of Order) into an immersive audio experience. While each performer has a distinctive, expressive voice, Brittany Pressley is mesmerizing as salon owner Sasha Dwyer, sister of 1990s pop culture superstar and magician Violet Volk, who mysteriously disappeared mid-act. At the heart of Montimore’s cleverly designed narrative is Sasha’s first-person account of her anxiety over the events planned for the 10-year-anniversary of Violet’s disappearance, her rapidly diminishing patience with her college-age daughter whose starry-eyed devotion to her aunt is driving Sasha up the wall, and her own unresolved issues with her famous—and famously selfish—sister. Sasha’s story alternates with episodes of a podcast series about Violet’s life as well as various documents including newspaper articles and correspondence between the characters. Each narrator’s performance is expertly paced, heightening the tension as Sasha and Violet’s history is only gradually revealed.
VERDICT A multicast presentation of a novel with this many disparate narrative elements could easily become chaotic, so it is testament to the narrators’ talents and Montimore’s brilliant plot structure, compelling characters, and sharp, often hilarious prose that listeners are instead treated to an absolutely delightful audiobook, essential for all contemporary fiction collections.
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