Beyond the Door of No Return

Brilliance Audio. Sept. 2023. tr. from French by Sam Taylor. 7:05 hrs. ISBN 9781491554494. $35.99. F
Diop’s (At Night All Blood Is Black) richly told romantic adventure receives loving treatment in this full-cast production. The story begins in 1806 Paris, as narrator Mark Bramhall conveys the regret running through dying French botanist Michel Adanson’s opening words. Bramhall then passes the tale to Caroline Hewitt, who superbly delivers the reactions of Adanson’s daughter Aglaé as she grieves her father’s death and finds a secret journal detailing his last wishes. Much of the story illuminates Adanson’s myriad emotions as he reflects on the past: his obsession with finding Maram, a noblewoman rumored to be a revenant returned from the dead; his horror when he learned of how Maram was sexually abused and enslaved; and his heartbreak on the night she disappeared. Bramhall piercingly voices Adanson’s helpless rage as he rationalizes his decision to relinquish his dream of being with Maram and marry a French woman instead. Adenrele Ojo’s intense, whispery performance of Maram’s story is spellbinding, and Dion Graham shines as Adanson’s horrified guide and friend Ndiek.
VERDICT A compelling performance of Diop’s National Book Award–shortlisted novel in translation.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing