Gingerbread: A Novel
Read By: The Author
“[W]ildly inventive…In Oyeyemi’s hands, a simple premise becomes a story about class, myth, and dark family histories. Her prose is not without its playful bite.” (Vogue)
The prize-winning, best-selling author of Boy, Snow, Bird and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yoursreturns with a bewitching and imaginative novel.
Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children’s stories, beloved novelist Helen Oyeyemi invites listeners into a delightful tale of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe.
Perdita Lee may appear to be your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druhástrana, the faraway (or, according to many sources, nonexistent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. The world’s truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread, however, is Harriet’s charismatic childhood friend Gretel Kercheval – a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.
Decades later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value. Endlessly surprising and satisfying, written with Helen Oyeyemi’s inimitable style and imagination, it is a true feast for the listener.
The River: A Novel
Read by: Mark Deakins
From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars, the story of two college students on a wilderness canoe trip – a gripping tale of a friendship tested by fire, white water, and violence.
Wynn and Jack have been best friends since freshman orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. Wynn is a gentle giant, a Vermont kid never happier than when his feet are in the water. Jack is more rugged, raised on a ranch in Colorado where sleeping under the stars and cooking on a fire came as naturally to him as breathing.
When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in Northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddling and picking blueberries and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey.
When they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank and decide to warn them about the fire, their search for the pair turns up nothing and no one. But: The next day, a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the man they heard? And, if he is, where is the woman?
From this charged beginning, master storyteller Peter Heller unspools a headlong, heart-pounding story of desperate wilderness survival.