A Bigamist’s Daughter by Alice McDermott, narrated by Tavia Gilbert
Published in audio by Macmillan Audio, published in print by Picador, both imprints of Macmillan
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From the publisher:
Elizabeth Connelly, editor at a New York vanity press, sells the dream of publication (admittedly, to writers of questionable talent). Stories of true emotional depth rarely cross her desk. But when a young writer named Tupper Daniels walks in, bearing an unfinished novel, Elizabeth is drawn to both the novelist and his story—a lyrical tale about a man in love with more than one woman at once. Tupper’s manuscript unlocks memories of her own secretive father, who himself may have been a bigamist. As Elizabeth and Tupper search for the perfect dénouement, their affair, too, approaches a most unexpected and poignant coda.
Thoughts on the story:
I truly loved the fact that McDermott’s main character in A Bigamist’s Daugter was an editor at a vanity press. It does date the book a bit, since this is pre-ebook revolution, which makes sense as this is McDermott’s debut novel, written in 1982, recently re-released and recorded in audio. Elizabeth is a complex character, especially in relationship to her job. Her relationship with Tupper – and her memories of her father – is a bit odd, she is a rather emotionally stunted and closed off, which makes it a bit difficult to invest in their relationship, but she remains a fairly empathetic character. There is definitely some unevenness in this debut, but the concept itself will be intriguing enough for many readers to carry the novel.
Thoughts on the audio production:
Tavia Gilbert does a wonderful job narrating Elizabeth’s somewhat neurotic train of thought. A Bigamist’s Daughter often switches between present and past, and Gilbert generally keeps the listener following where McDermott is going. Gilbert also helps nurture the reader’s empathy for Elizabeth, she might have been more difficult to relate to in print without the sympathetic narration.
For more on the audio production, please see my review for Audiofile Magazine.
If you do choose to pick up A Bigamist’s Daughter, try it in audio and get the most out of it with Tavia Gilbert’s narration.
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