Last week, I found myself on what felt like an endless bus ride from
(The other thing listening to Cassel enabled me to do was rip out what felt like all the knitting I had done on the train ride down to California. He helped immensely with that disheartening task.)
So, Red Glove. I listened to White Cat about a year ago and loved it, so I’ll try not to spoil it (much) for you. In a nutshell,
Cassel lives in
the present day, but in a world where some people are born with the ability to
affect others (from minimally to death or transformation) with a touch of skin on skin.
These people are called curse workers and curse work is illegal (it’s
been co-opted by the mob); everyone protects themselves by wearing gloves. Cassel comes from a family of curse workers, some of whom work for a Jersey mobster named Zakarov.
Cassel has spent the summer after the events of White Cat hanging out in
Atlantic City, helping his mother
with her emotion-worker cons and trying to forget his friend, Lila Zacharov, who has
been worked by his mother to love Cassel. But
when he returns to prep school he discovers that Lila has followed him there. He
tries to resist her attempts to kindle a love affair.
I'm going to read Black Heart, though (I don't want to wait for the audio to show up in the catalog). Which will be OK I think, because I'll hear Jesse Eisenberg while I'm reading. He is an inspired choice for Cassel -- I hear all of his exhaustion, insecurity and longing in Eisenberg's high, reedy voice. When he uses that immature timbre to stare down the threatening FBI agents, he's pretty funny to boot. Eisenberg doesn't voice the novel, but he doesn't need to. His command of Cassel's character is enough to keep this audiobook interesting.
While listening to this, I confess that my mind occasionally wandered (hey! that bus ride was seriously distracting!) ... to Noah Baumbach to The Empire Strikes Back to The Social Network to Eisenberg's family, even to unicorns! After I arrived in San Jose, I met a young friend finishing up her first year of post-college school teaching and we drove the rest of the way to Portland (with a pause in the redwoods). We spent time pondering the value of a liberal arts education, and I pretty much think that it's that kind of education that allows you to flit from one cultural tidbit to another and have them make sense. We may be unemployable, baby, but we're thinkers!
[The PSA above comes from the series' website.]
Red Glove (The Curse Workers, Book 2) by Holly Black
Narrated by Jesse Eisenberg
Listening Library, 2011. 7:03