America America by Ethan Canin
When I saw “America America” offered as a LibraryThing Early Reviewer book I though ‘eh’ and didn’t bother requesting it; when I saw it in Barnes and Nobles and Borders on the ‘new!’ tables, I thought, “oh, I’ve heard of that book,” and walked right on by; finally, when I saw the audiobook at the library I thought, “well why not? I can always just stop listening if I don’t like it.” Waiting so long to finally immerse myself in “America America” was a very stupid thing, but one that ended up turning out very well.
First off, the story: “America America” tells the story of Cory Sifter. Cory is telling his story in the present, but a majority of the story is comprised of his flashbacks to the early and mid 1970s. As an adult, Cory is the publisher of a small town newspaper but as a young man he was the son of working class parents. However, Cory was given advantages that most boys in his position are not when he went to work for the powerful Metarey family and the Presidential campaign of Senator Henry Bonwiller. The story jumped around in time a LOT and without much warning. One would think that would be extremely difficult to track while simply listening, but I stayed with the story surprisingly well, thanks to writing that quickly clued me in to what was going on without being too obvious about the whole thing.
Cory was a great character, from an uncertain boy to man who has matured into his role in life, and I thought the storyline itself was extremely interesting. We are left for quite awhile wondering what the terrible thing is the Senator Bonwiller is supposed to have done and what exactly happened to all the people of Cory’s childhood. Basically everyone around whom the story revolved was very compelling.
And then there is the audio component of my experience. Oh. My. Gosh. Don’t tell my husband, but I might have a little audio crush on the narrator, Robertson Dean. He has such a gorgeous voice, mellow, but with lots of emotion. He kept me calmly focused on the story through the worst traffic jams and the most annoying house cleaning. He makes me GLAD that I kept (stupidly) ignoring “America America” because otherwise I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of hearing him narrate it.
Loved it. Although I finished it on March 1st, it is already a strong contender for my best book of the month.