The Clarion

ECW. Jan. 2024. 6:38 hrs. ISBN 9781778523199. $22.99. F
Known for her short fiction, Dunic (a pen name for journalist Nina Dragicevic) debuts with a novel centering on siblings Peter and Anastasia. Peter, a sensitive loner, has few deep relationships but takes pleasure in interacting with his many acquaintances. Ambitious Anastasia is troubled by being passed over for a promotion she clearly deserved. Both siblings were deeply affected by their parents’ traumatic divorce, their precarious childhood, and the death of their agoraphobic mother. Listeners learn a bit about each of their lives and their relationship with each other—siblings who clearly care about each other but maintain a respectful distance as they lead separate, occasionally intersecting lives. Unfortunately, narrators David Reale and Kate Ziegler struggle to fully communicate the psychological depth of this quietly complex work. The pacing is somewhat awkward, and the characters’ emotional arcs get lost in the moment, separating listeners from the reflectiveness at the novel’s core.
VERDICT While Dunic offers a sensitive examination of sibling dynamics and other types of relationships, the narration falls short of fully capturing the characters’ depth. The audiobook is an optional purchase for most libraries.
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