In this piercing investigation of memory, loss and love, former U.S. poet laureateTrethewey shares the story of her mother’s murder by her second husband, a violent, manipulative sadist. Tretheway’s narration is elegiac in remembering her mother — and steely as she reads the chilling transcripts of her mother’s telephone conversations with her killer. This heartbreaking memoir will stay with listeners long after it ends. (HarperAudio, Unabridged, 5¼ hours)
By Louise Erdrich
Erdrich reads her own moving and inspiring novel wonderfully, enhancing the text with the sincerity of her Native-American inflected voice. The book is a fictional version of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians’ struggle to quash the U.S. government’s attempt to rip up treaties and destroy Native American rights, a campaign led by Erdrich’s grandfather, personified here in the fictional reservation-born Thomas Wazhack. (HarperAudio, 13½ hours)
By Joseph O’Connor
O’Connor’s ingenious novel is based on the life of Bram Stoker, author of “Dracula,” and his relationship with Henry Irving, renowned actor and impresario. Barry McGovern gives brilliant renditions of the Irishman Stoker and of Henry Irving, whose voice here is a thespian thunder. Anna Chancellor pipes up on occasion as the warm voice of Ellen Terry, Stoker’s friend and Irving’s leading lady. (Dreamscape, Unabridged, 11⅔ hours)
By Douglas Stuart
Stuart’s debut is a brilliant, heart-rending work set in decaying working-class neighborhoods around Glasgow of the Thatcher era. Shuggie is a gentle boy trying to manage his melodramatic, self-destructive alcoholic mother. Stuart’s genius at evoking place, predicament and intense emotional states, is wonderfully served by narrator Angus King, a Scotsman himself whose moderate but intelligible Glaswegian accent brings further authenticity. (Dreamscape, Unabridged, 17½ hours
Katherine A. Powers reviews audiobooks every month for The Washington Post.