Death Is Hard Work

5 CDs. HighBridge Audio. Feb. 2019. 6 hrs. ISBN 9781684418633. $29.99. digital download. F
OrangeReviewStarAbdel Latif makes his dying wish, to be buried in his home village, known to his son Bolbol. Bolbol enlists his older brother, Hussein, and sister, Fatima, to accompany him in transporting the body from Damascus to Anabiya, near Aleppo, where relatives will comply with Abdel Latif's last wish. It's normally a two-hour drive, but Aleppo and Damascus, and everywhere in between, are on opposite sides of a civil war. This surreal tale discloses the myriad tyrannies of war, loyalty, religion, duty, and bureaucracy. Can the family survive ten checkpoints, arrests, interrogations, and abuse? Can the corpse survive 48 hours on ice in a minivan? Nicely read by Neil Shah, who keeps Bolbol's narrative moving along. Descriptions of the physical and psychological absurdities of fear, stress, and decomposition are quite graphic and as often funny as they are disgusting.
VERDICT Powerful and poignant, this audiobook is very highly recommended for adult fiction collections. ["Flawlessly translated and exquisitely written, this novel from the winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Prize is a genuine tour de force as well as a thoughtful and provocative examination of what it means to be alive": Xpress Reviews 4/19/19 starred review of the Farrar hc.]
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