Fine fiction on audio is no rarity, but Gloria Naylor's new novel, The Men of Brewster Place, is one of those wonderful instances where hearing the words can be better than reading them. "Brewster Place," a blind alley leading to a dead end physically and figuratively was the scene of Naylor's first literary triumph; her focus then was on the women, now it's on the men. Some are proud, some are pitiful, but, as Ben (who leads us through these stories) says, "every black man and every mother's child who found himself here hoped for better." They share poverty, violence, and despair, some living on the edge, some falling over it. Ms. Naylor's prose, powerful and poignant, creates enduring characters. Joe Morton, fast topping my list of best audio performers, gives a virtuoso performance that is equally powerful, lending more than just voice to the men of Brewster Place.

Reviewed by Sukey Howard.

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