Local Girls (4 hours), a new collection of closely connected short stories by Alice Hoffman, is another example of audio adding a special dimension. The stories, set in a small suburban town, follow Gretel, a young teenager at the start, and her dissolving family over more than a decade. It's like looking at intimate family snapshots that skip through the years, isolated moments that capture the essence of their lives. When Gretel narrates in the first person, Laural Merlington reads, and when she doesn't Aasne Vigesaa takes over. Their alternating voices underscore the interplay of humor and sadness, love and loss, discovery and recovery, and make the light sprinkles of Hoffman's unique brand of magical realism seem more real than magical.

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