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A Book of Common Prayer

Narrated by: Marisa Vitali
Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Writing with the telegraphic swiftness and microscopic sensitivity that have made her one of our most distinguished journalists, Joan Didion creates a shimmering novel of innocence and evil.

A Book of Common Prayer is the story of two American women in the derelict Central American nation of Boca Grande. Grace Strasser-Mendana controls much of the country's wealth and knows virtually all of its secrets; Charlotte Douglas knows far too little. "Immaculate of history, innocent of politics," she has come to Boca Grande vaguely and vainly hoping to be reunited with her fugitive daughter. As imagined by Didion, her fate is at once utterly particular and fearfully emblematic of an age of conscienceless authority and unfathomable violence.

©1977 Joan Didion (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"An articulate witness to the most stubborn and intractable truths of our time, a memorable voice." (Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review)
"A novelist with important things to say about the dislocations of our time.... Joan Didion is stellar." ( Newsday)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Strong tale badly told

This narrator reads Charlotte Douglas' voice like a child's, and she is not a child. Think how much more mysterious she would be if allowed to sound like the strong, sensual, grownup, maternal character she is.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dreadful narrative ruins an otherwise great story

While the words, the language, the actual story in Joan Didion's A Book of Common Prayer is marvelous, you'd never know that if you had not read the story before listening to this audio version. This narration by Marisa Vitali's sounds absolutely robotic; very close to some of the audio stories that are available free from the Gutenberg Project that are, I believe, actually recorded using some sort of "read out loud" software. It is so bad, it's like a 6th grade girl who thinks she's doing a bang-up job reading out loud to the class, but she pauses in odd places and seems to often confuse the end of a line with the end of a sentence. Almost never is the emphasis on the right word. I've purchases many, many Audible books and count on them to feature top-notch talent. Most do, but this is the rare (so far) exception. If you want to enjoy, or even really understand this book, do NOT listen to this version - it will kill the story for you.

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Meh...

Found the plot boring. Only finished the book so I could talk about it at book club.