Books on Tape
Richmond, Dick, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
On Jan. 17, 1977, a firing squad at Utah State Prison put an end to the life of convicted killer Gary Gilmore. It was one of the country's most celebrated executions. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning, true-life novel "The Executioner's Song," Norman Mailer wrote about the circumstances surrounding the case as well as Nicole Baker, the killer's lover; his victims; the efforts to obtain stays of execution; and Gilmore's family life.
In this book, Gilmore's kid brother, Mikal, discusses the family's destructive background while illuminating the dreadful sorrow of poverty that existed in the American West. In gut-wrenching detail, he talks about the love-hate relationship between his parents, Frank and Bessie Brown, and the brutality that their four sons suffered because of it.
Will Patton is the voice of Mikal Gilmore, and his soft-spoken delivery is filled with the understated agony of nightmares that really happened. It is almost as if he is the one striped by the psychological scars delivered by parents who spent a lifetime walking a tightrope between rage and madness.
The book is about more than life in a dysfunctional family or crime and punishment. It details anger and suffering, violence and fear. It concerns a culture, a religion, a time in United States history, and some of the misshapen fruits of that period. It chronicles scams, petty crime, lack of love and the yearning for it, and about trying to put together a person who is perhaps irreparably damaged.
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***** "LAST GO ROUND" A novel by Ken Kesey with Ken Babbs (3 hours, abridged, Time Warner AudioBooks, $17)
In his novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Kesey created some off-the-wall characters of uncertain stature. In "Last Go Round," he has done it again, but this time, the stature is evident.
The story is set in Oregon at the time of the Pendleton Roundup in 1911. The principals, whom Kesey learned about from his father, are George Fletcher, a black cowboy; Jackson Sundown, a Nez Perce Indian; and Jonathan E. …