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Fasting, Feasting. Read by Paul Bhattacharjee & Sudha Bhuchar. BBC, 2hrs 15mins, £8.99

Fasting, Feasting. Read by Paul Bhattacharjee & Sudha Bhuchar. BBC, 2hrs 15mins, £8.99

"What is plenty, what is not?" Anita Desai's Fasting, Feasting is a fascinating story of the sharply contrasted lives of the children of a conventional Indian family. Uma's life is a fasting. Shamed when the husband who applied for her hand through the newspaper's marriage-market columns turns out to be a crook who is already married and just wants her dowry to prop up his ailing business, her only recourse is to live at home in the most traditional way imaginable: looking after her parents. Her brother Arun, intensively crammed by hired tutors, is sent to Massachusetts. Through his eyes we see how foreign Western life can seem, how questionable a blessing is the feast he is experiencing. For all the kindness of his hosts, he is still caught up "in the sugar-sticky web of family conflict". Desai writes with clarity and a powerful visual sense, and telling images stay printed in the mind: Uma's sari swirling in the river she half-deliberately falls into; Arun watching a bulimic American girl sweating damply as she retches into the lavatory, and her mother's "bright plastic copy of a mother's smile". The use of two excellent readers, Sudha Bhuchar and Paul Bhattarcharjee, allows the story to be even more effectively contrasted.

Demolition Angel. Read by Lorelei King (Orion, 4 tapes, 6hrs, £11.99)

The force and energy that Lorelei King puts into her reading, Robert Crais's skilful plotting and plenty of details about the making of bombs and illicit computer hacking make this a real winner. Carol Starkey is the "demolition angel" of the title, a skilled bomb technician who literally died for a moment when a tiny earthquake upset all her and her partner's calculations as they were defusing a bomb. Deeply scarred physically and mentally, she has been seconded to LAPD's Criminal Conspiracy Section, and is surviving on gin, cigarettes and Tagamet. Then there is another explosion, and another dead colleague. Meticulous detective work uncovers the existence of Mr Red, a lunatic bomb-maker whose hobby is killing bomb technicians. But a tiny difference in construction hints that there may be even darker motives at work. Whether Starkey can stay sober enough to match Mr Red's perverted brilliance seems unlikely until the mysterious Pell turns up from another police division to help her. For the first time since her accident she feels an attraction for a man, but, since the story switches point of view frequently and effectively, we know before she does that he is as scarred as she is. Will he prove to be lover or destroyer?

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