Audiobook Review: Nine Kinds of Naked

Nine Kinds of Naked
Author: Tony Vigorito
Narrator: Kristin Kalbli
Publisher: ListenUp Audiobooks (Disclaimer)
Length: 11 hours 47 min
Where I Got It: ListenUp
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Synopsis: Join cult favorite Tony Vigorito in his acclaimed, surreal whirlwind of a novel exploring chaos theory. A prisoner spins a playing card into a somersault, stirring a wind that becomes a tornado that takes off the roof of a church in nearby Normal, Illinois. Elizabeth Wildhack is born in that church and someday she will meet that prisoner, a man named Diablo, on the streets of New Orleans—where a hurricane-like Great White Spot hovers off the coast. But how is it all interconnected? And what does it have to do with a time-traveling serf and a secret society whose motto is “Walk away?”

REVIEW

I’ve been sitting on this review for awhile because I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I knew going in that this book was pretty out-there and unusual. After the audiobook was finished, it was sent to Tom Robbins, who had this to say:

“Tony Vigorito has created that rarity…, a novel of ideas that also happens to be entertaining. And yes, fun. And like those maverick classics, Alice in Wonderland and Gargantua, Nine Kind of Naked is as fanciful and inventive in its form, its structure, as it is in its observations. Like Hesse’s ‘magic theater,’… it fed tasty crackers to all the hungry parrots in my mental aviary.” – Tom Robbins

So, I knew it was some kind of special. I expected humor and weirdness. And, those two things were there, but I didn’t expect this book to be so soothing.

Nine Kinds of Naked explores the butterfly effect, except the butterfly is actually the wind. A very strong wind. A tornado. Its effects reach across time and the lives touched by it intertwine. The quirky character are developed through their philosophical banter. Vigorito uses language beautifully and powerfully. The whole thing made me smile.

It may feel a bit random in the beginning, but the characters various story lines eventually come together brilliantly.

This audiobook was published by ListenUp Audiobooks, where I work. So, I got to hear the narrator auditions. One in particular stuck out as absolutely hilarious, but we decided that it was too funny. It worked for one scene, but might not be a really pleasant listen for nearly 12 hours. Before listening to this, I was still on the fence about our decision, but now I’m confident that Kristin was the right choice. The overall story was such an unexpected joy and her voice was a perfect fit. I loved her character voices, especially Diablo and Elizabeth. I loved listening to scenes with both of them.

I really love this audiobook. I didn’t work on it directly, but I’m proud that it came from ListenUp. We also published another of Vigorito’s audiobooks, Just a Couple of Days, which I haven’t listened to yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Audiobook Review: Searching for Grace Kelly

Searching_for_grace_kelly

Searching for Grace Kelly
Author: Michael Callahan
Narrator: Kristin Kalbli
Where I got it: ListenUp (my employer)
Length: 9.5 hours
Purchase: ListenUp | Audible

This book follows three young women living in New York City’s glamorous Barbizon hotel in the mid-1950s as they figure out who they are, what they want in life, and which path to choose to get what they want. There is Laura, who is interning at Mademoiselle and hoping to become a writer. She is a proper New England woman studying at Smith. Her roommate, Dolly, is in secretarial school, mostly hoping to meet a husband. The third girl in the group is Vivian, who works as a cigarette girl in a popular nightclub, but her true love is singing. The three explore the city, fall in love, have their heartbroken and get into trouble, sometimes really real trouble.

Searching for Grace Kelly surprised me. The characters are all multi-dimensional and interesting. I especially loved Vivian, but connected with all three. Fair warning, this story doesn’t end with a happily ever after. I like books that break my heart, at least a little, and this one did.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Kristin Kalbli. Kristin did such a beautiful job with this audiobook. The character voices were so real and perfectly suited to each character. She expressed the characters’ emotions expertly without taking away from the story’s words. I loved this as an audiobook.