Norris's magnificent spiritual memoir of acedia (a complex cousin of depression) gets an uneven audio treatment. At times, Norris's straightforward and monotonous delivery doesn't do justice to the aching beauty of her prose. However, there is a powerful simplicity to having Norris relate her own story, especially since even the most dramatic sequences-such as when her husband disappeared and planned to kill himself-are rendered without the overwrought Sturm und Drang that other narrators might attempt. Her performance is generally dispassionate, her most animated moments not when she is describing her own spiritual journey but when she incisively critiques the narcissism of American culture. The final disc contains a PDF of Norris's "commonplace book" of favorite quotations on acedia, ranging from early church sages like Anthony the Great and Norris's beloved Evagrius to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ian Fleming. A Riverhead hardcover (Reviews, June 9). (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Here, nationally best-selling poet Norris (Little Girls in Church) offers a difficult and intimate, almost naked look at the spiritual state of acedia that may be foreign to lay audiences. Though they may find parallels in their own relationships and/or careers as they listen to Norris probe her husband's and her own slide into this specialized relative of depression, it isn't an easy journey in audio format, as the book requires pauses for reflection and relistenings of certain sections to appreciate and grasp her concepts fully. Norris also uses this forum to address a spiritual void in our culture but ultimately suggests religious healing as the best antidote. Recommended for select audiences of scholars and philosophers. [Audio clip available through us.penguingroup.com; the Riverhead hc was recommended "for religious libraries," LJ9/1/08.-Ed.]