MR. STARLIGHT. Laurie Graham. 2004/2005. Read by Jonathan Keeble. 8 tapes. 9.25 hrs. Recorded Books. 1-84505-257-9. $79.75. Vinyl; plot notes. SA
This is a well-written, wryly sympathetic, complex portrait of an entertainer, clearly inspired by Liberace. A mediocre musical talent who parlays his larger-than-life confidence in his ability and his unerring grasp of any audience into a phenomenal career, Selwyn Bott, the product of an undistinguished Birmingham family, becomes the consummate entertainer, "Mr. Starlight." The tale is told by his more talented but duller-witted older brother, Cledwyn, who wants to resent him but is as dazzled as the rest of the world by his brother's over-the-top panache and the feel-good aura he generates, and can only accept his excesses and love him. Alternately funny and thoughtful, the novel also inspects family dynamics, the entertainment industry, and the privacy rights of public figures.
Keeble's interpretive reading is perfect: as the voice of Cledwyn Bott he is a likeable and entirely credible working-class naif; as the other characters, he can switch accents and perspectives effortlessly and be equally convincing. But better still, he makes Mr. Starlight's universal appeal emerge, palpable and important. Francine Levitov, New York, NY
COPYRIGHT 2005 Kliatt
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group