Fans of the actor Colin Firth (and particularly of his voice) will be thrilled to learn that his narration of Graham Greene's 1951 novel, "The End of the Affair," won the top honor at last month's Audie Awards gala in New York.
"The smooth and convincing intimacy of Colin Firth's narration brings listeners quickly into dreary, cold post-war London. One of Greene's famous Catholic novels focuses on three characters — Brendrix, a novelist; his former lover; and her husband, a civil servant. Firth makes an emotional commitment to the story, and listeners do as well. The powerful introspection, the force of emotion, and even the melodrama are made real. Firth's full understanding of the text and ability to render the balance and meaning of each sentence allow listeners to admire Greene's elegant writing. The keen-eyed observations of realistic details—weather, war-damaged buildings, household effects—are contrasted with the theology and clash of emotions. Firth never misses a beat. Firth's celebrity may draw new listeners, and none will be disappointed by this powerful audiobook."
"The End of the Affair" was up against some tough competition. The other nominees in that category were "American Grown" by Michelle Obama, read by Michelle Obama, Jim Adams, Charlie Brandts, Christeta Comerford, Sam Kass, Bill Yosses, and a full cast; "Beautiful Ruins" by Jess Walter, read by Edoardo Ballerini; and "Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, read by Bill O'Reilly.
Other awards given that night were:
Audio drama: "Swordspoint" by Ellen Kushner, read by Ellen Kushner, Dion Graham, Katherine Kellgren, Robert Fass, Nick Sullivan, Simon Jones
Biography/memoir: "The Seamstress," by Sara Tuvel Bernstein, Louise Loots Thornton, Marlene Bernstein Samuels; read by Wanda McCaddon
Distinguished achievement in production: "Dracula," by Bram Stoker. Read by Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley, Simon Prebble, James Adams.
Literary fiction: "Bring Up the Bodies," by Hilary Mantel, read by Simon Vance
Mystery: "The Beautiful Mystery" by Louise Penny, read by Ralph Cosham
Nonfiction: "Breasts" by Florence Williams, read by Kate Reading
Science fiction: "The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker, read by Emily Janice
Short stories/collections: "Astray" by Emma Donoghue, read by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham
Teens: "The Fault in Our Stars," by John Green, read by Kate Rudd
For the complete lists, see www.theaudies.com.