Spinning New Stories from Old

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, June 20, 2019

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This week SYNC participants meet characters from the past as they appear in new short stories and a novel. Be prepared to discover how changes in perspective can inspire and delight!


Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue might be a familiar name if you’ve seen the movie Room, based on her novel of the same name. In this week’s audiobook published by Hachette Audio, ASTRAY, we meet Donoghue the short story artist. Each of the short stories in this collection was sparked by a newspaper clipping she’s found and then researched for accurate contextual details. The old clippings and these new stories she’s created range in subject matter from a circus elephant to counterfeiters to would-be grave-robbers. Each story is read by a well-chosen member of the collection’s full cast, who include Dion Graham, Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Suzanne Toren, and Robert Petkoff. All these narrators have  deep bodies of audiobook performance work that have won many awards so this is an opportunity to discover voices you may want to seek in future audiobook selections. Each story here includes a note about the newspaper story that set Donoghue's imagination going. You might take that as an invitation to do some short story writing of your own, inspired by something you’ve read in the news that has touched you and provoked questions about what happened before or after the news account.

OLIVIA TWIST, written by Lorie Langdon and published by Black Hills Audiobooks, is a new take on an older work of fiction that is probably familiar to you: Charles Dickens’s novel Oliver Twist. British actress Pearl Hewitt performs this new tale that switches genders and social sets lived by the original characters. Hewitt juggles the four voices needed by two duplicitous central characters to make Victorian London streets alive again and listening readers are in for thrills as well as fun anticipating how the new story will next twist the original.

We think each of this week’s pair is a keeper, the kind of audiobook you’ll want to hear again every year or so. There are many cunning details to discover each time you listen. Good to know that SYNC’s downloads are yours to keep forever so that you can come back and revisit this treasure trove of characters. Just make sure the files are fully downloaded before the week ends.


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