Review of The Little Book by Selden Edwards

December 4, 2008
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The Little Book by Selden EdwardsThe Little Book
By Selden Edwards; Read by Jeff Woodman
13 CDs – 15 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Published: Aug 2008
ISBN: 9780143143512
Themes: / Fantasy / Time Travel / Vienna / 19th Century / Philosophy /

The Little Book is the extraordinary tale of Wheeler Burden, California-exiled heir of the famous Boston banking Burdens, philosopher, student of history, legend’s son, rock idol, writer, lover of women, recluse, half-Jew, and Harvard baseball hero. In 1988 he is forty-seven, living in San Francisco. Suddenly he is—still his modern self—wandering in a city and time he knows mysteriously well: fin de siècle Vienna. It is 1897, precisely ninety-one years before his last memory and a half-century before his birth.

The genre aspects of this novel are not, well, novel. At least to the genre-savvy. Like Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the method of time travel is irrelevant. What’s important and interesting is the interaction of Selden Edwards’s fictional characters with their forebears and with historical characters, most notably Sigmund Freud and Mark Twain.

Wheeler Burden has lengthy discussions with Freud, seeming to shape in some way the later ideas that Freud published. He also spends a great deal of time with his own father, who was also in the past for an unknown reason. Since Wheeler’s father had died during World War II, this was an opportunity to get to know each other. Add a very beautiful grandmother, and one can almost hear Freud furiously scribbling notes in the background.

Jeff Woodman is a terrific narrator. He performs accents in a completely believable (and completely understandable) manner. Also notable is his performance of female characters, which is subtle and effective. I’m looking forward to hearing more of his audiobooks.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

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