The one disappointment with the audiobook was that it was not read by the author. Having watched Brokaw for years on the Nightly News and seen many of his stand alone news pieces, including his wonderful work on the greatest generation it was jarring to hear a voice other than his recount the story. However, Mark Bramhall is an accomplished reader and after the first few tracks his booming voice draws the listener in. It is a poignant memoir from one of America’s most well-known and beloved newsmen.
The story begins in New York City where identical twins, Edith, the retired librarian and Kat, the free spirit, find peculiar phosphorescent mushrooms growing in their closet. Their landlady Vida is a Shakespearian actress, although she is mostly recognizable for a female sexual enhancement pill commercial she recently did. Vida lives upstairs, as does Ashley, the runaway Russian au pair who is hiding in her closet. When Vida also discovers the funky fungi sprouting in her apartment, the health department condemns the building, sends in the Hazmat team, and life instantly changes for this unusual group of nomads.
To say more would be to give away parts of the story that you should discover on your own. There is a message here about the transitory nature of our existence and the ability we possess to transgress our difficulties. Quirky characters, clever plotting, bizarre humor, and some seriously solid writing make this a very worthwhile read.
A Literary Apothecary is the name of a book store located on a barge floating on the Seine River in Paris owned by a man named Jean Perdu. His talent lies in his ability to intuit what his customers need to read rather than what they came in to get. Troubled for years mourning a lost love, lost time and a lost opportunity he unmoors his barge to travel to the south of France where his beloved Manon once lived to make peace with his decisions. Unexpectedly joining him is a young man from his apartment building, Max Jordan, who views Jean as a father figure. Max is a first time novelist who has experienced success too soon, too overwhelmingly fast. He is both running from something and running toward something, just like Perdu. Another apartment building resident, Catherine, provides the catalyst for this trek and a renewed sense of hope for the future for Perdu. Along their way on the Seine, Perdu and Max meet others who help guide them and add flavor to their journey.