Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi; narrated by Bahni TurpinStarring: Ghanaian American Gifty, a neuroscience PhD candidate studying neural pathways in mice as a way to understand the loss and suffering in her family -- though she insists that's not what she's doing.
Narration: Award-winning narrator Bahni Turpin embodies Gifty's contemplative nature with a gentle cadence.
Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline; narrated by Michelle St. JohnWhat happens: A year after her husband Victor disappears following an argument, Joan Beausoleil encounters him at a tent revival, calling himself Reverend Wolff (and denying any knowledge of Victor).
Narration: Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award, First Nations narrator Michelle St. John's intense and authentic performance complements the own voices storyline inspired by Métis legends.
Leave the World Behind
by Rumaan Alam; narrated by Marin Ireland
What happens: A couple and their two children decamp to an idyllic rental house on Long Island. With 24 hours, the homeowners arrive, fleeing a total blackout in Manhattan where they live. The renters are white, the homeowners black, and both families become vulnerable and fearful as the unsettling events, creepy omens and the disquieting dynamics unfold.
Narration: Accomplished narrator and actress Marin Ireland brings gravity and mystery to her reading of this book.
Universe of Two by Stephen P. Kiernan; narrated by Cassandra CampbellWhat it's about: the life, marriage, and wartime work of mathematician Charlie Fisk, a somewhat reluctant recruit to the Manhattan Project who navigates his ethical ambivalence and guilt with the help of his flawed but supportive wife Brenda.
Narration: Cassandra Campbell juggles the sweeping love story and scientific descriptions with an engrossing and distinctly voiced performance that earned her an AudioFile Earphones Award.
Here We Are by Graham Swift; narrated by Phil DavisWhat it is: an engaging, character-driven story set in postwar Brighton, where a dying artform has one last great summer thanks to an equally doomed variety act.
Narration: British actor Phil Davis' leisurely paced reading conveys the novel's melancholy tone.
The Hollow Ones by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan; narrated by Brittany PressleyWhat it's about: When her partner inexplicably attacks a child during a raid, FBI agent Odessa Hardwicke shoots him dead and watches in horror as a spectral entity leaves his corpse. Enlisting the help of occult detective John Blackwood, Odessa hopes to track down the centuries-old menace responsible for her partner's demise.
Narration: Brittany Pressley navigates this intricately plotted occult thriller's multiple timelines with a variety of character accents and tones.
Deep Delta Justice: A Black Teen, His Lawyer, and Their Groundbreaking Battle... by Matthew Van Meter; narrated by Brad SandersWhat it's about: the landmark Supreme Court decision Duncan v. Louisiana (1968), which established the right to a jury trial and became a key victory for the civil rights movement.
Narration: Brad Sanders' intense and resonant reading adds gravitas to this richly detailed history.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson; narrated by Robin MilesWhat it is: a timely and thought-provoking exploration of the "shape-shifting, unspoken, race-based" caste system that has shaped four centuries of American history.
Narration: Robin Miles' AudioFile Earphones Award-winning recording is suffused with a calm, well-paced performance that encourages listener empathy and reflection.
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