The Beached Ones

CamCat. Jun. 2022. 11:57 hrs. ISBN 9780744305555. $19.95. F
Story’s (Loreena’s Gift) latest, narrated by Rob Shapiro, immerses listeners in an unsettling world governed by dreams, ghosts, and memories. Daniel wakes up on a California beach, completely disoriented and surrounded by beached pilot whales; the next moment, he wakes again to find himself in Iowa. He has no wallet, no phone, and no idea of how he ended up there. All he knows is that he must go pick up his brother in San Francisco in five days. Daniel makes a harrowing journey to California, accompanied by ex-girlfriend Jolene and her mysterious friend, Brent. Jolene, whose calm and kindness are skillfully rendered by Shapiro, gently helps Daniel come to terms with his painful past, which includes abuse, mental illness, and substance use disorder. Shapiro’s precise and composed presentation contributes to the otherworldly feel of the novel and perfectly matches the cadence of Story’s writing. Shapiro’s characterizations are superb, particularly for Brent, whose subdued menace is communicated with exquisite restraint.
VERDICT This haunting audio deserves a wide audience. Share with fans of atmospheric literary fiction in the vein of Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library or Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life.
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