There's no tale like an old tale. Edith Wharton's compelling short novella, first published in 1924, starts like a purring kitten and becomes a raging tiger. Its theme is the choices we make when we are too young to understand our own natures, and the slowly played out aftermath as we have to live through those irreversible decisions. Delia, impeccably well-married to dull but dear Jim, rejected the siren call of passion and is conventionally successful. Her cousin Charlotte followed her heart just once and doomed herself to be an old maid. What hangs in the balance between them is the fate of Tina, officially a mysterious foundling, but in truth an icon whose future will justify to each her life choice. Simply-stated, emotionally complex and convincing, this is one of the most compelling audiobooks I've heard, and as reader Eleanor Bron captures all the burning intensity behind its refined turn-of-the-century New York accents.
Best of the Rest
Anil's Ghost, written by Michael Ondaatje, read by Paul Bhattacharjee, Macmillan, 3 hrs, £8.99. A good taster for Ondaatje's intricate and horrific story of maelstrom and murder in Sri Lanka, which is seen through the eyes of a young forensic anthropologist who has not been back to her home country for 15 years.
Mercedes Ice, written by Philip Ridley and read by Josie Lawrence, BBC Cover to Cover unabridged, 1hr 30 mins, £3.99. Ridley has the sharpest of ways with words and the wildest of imaginations: he is on peak form in this urban fantasy.Reuse content