When Trying To Return Home: Stories

Dreamscape Media. Feb. 2023. 5:53 hrs. ISBN 9781666628951. $17.99. F
Psalm Morant and Andréa Agosto, voice actors new to audiobook narration, sound like Audie Award–winning veterans in this exquisite debut by McCauley—a short story collection so polished, listeners simply won’t believe it’s a debut. While varying in length and geographic setting, the nine loosely connected stories all feature Black American and Afro–Puerto Rican characters wrestling with complex moral and social issues while trying to define their identities in their families, communities, and love. In the title story, Andra, working at her new job in South Florida, is exhausted trying to come up with an appropriate response to where she is “really” from. In “Torsion,” Claudia fears for her own future after reluctantly agreeing to help her unstable but loving mother take her critically ill brother away from his foster parent. Morant’s and Agosto’s rich characterizations quickly provide intimate understandings of the cast of characters, an outstanding achievement in short story narration. They capture the characters’ emotional turmoil while perfectly delivering McCauley’s welcome touches of humor.
VERDICT This is an exquisite marriage of writer and narrators. Every collection should include these brilliantly written stories that combine sharp social commentary with truly captivating characters.
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