Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style

S. & S. Audio. Jun. 2023. 14:18 hrs. ISBN 9781797154961. $24.99. F
Both terribly funny and deeply touching, playwright, screenwriter, and novelist Rudnick’s (Playing the Palace) latest novel is an exuberant love story and a celebration of gay culture. In 1973, during his first year at Yale, Nate, a middle-class Jewish kid from suburban New Jersey, meets and immediately falls for Farrell, a drop-dead gorgeous, uber-rich guy from a conservative Midwestern family of business tycoons. Fortunately, the feeling is mutual, and the couple’s 50-year roller coaster of a relationship witnesses the setbacks and victories of the gay rights movement as well as the devastating AIDS epidemic. Narrator Daniel Henning delivers Rudnick’s deliciously witty, often raunchy dialogue with perfect comedic timing. While his portrayal of the vivacious Farrell is spectacular, Nate and the secondary characters, including the story’s homophobic villains, are depicted with equal verve. Nate and Farrell’s life together is full of hilarious personal and professional adventures (as well as lots of steamy sex) spanning from New York City to Los Angeles. The lovers also face their fair share of heartbreak, and Henning manages tone shifts with aplomb.
VERDICT Listeners will alternately cackle with glee and gasp in sympathy throughout Henning’s virtuoso performance of Rudnick’s immersive, sexy tragicomedy. Essential listening.
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