Book Reviews

Book Review – Festival Days by Jo Ann Beard

Festival Days by Beard, Jo Ann book jacket image

Review by
Tami Orendain

Essayist Jo Ann Beard explores life, death and the craft of writing in Festival Days (7.5 hours). Actor Suehyla El-Attar, known for her roles in Ant-Man and the Wasp and Green Book, reads in a calm, steady voice that emphasizes the collection’s sweeping gravitas, but she also gives personality to each unique piece. In “Werner,” a story about a man escaping an apartment fire, she creates a flowing contrast between firm descriptions of pain and the wistfulness of memory. She narrates “Maybe It Happened” in a lilting, sing-song tone, giving it a nursery-rhyme quality. And in “Close,” a discussion of craft, she is animated and personal, making the listener feel like they are learning from the author herself.

El-Attar’s narration pulls listeners in, highlighting the way a well-constructed sentence can bring an emotion, a scene or an idea to life.


ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our starred review of the print version of Festival Days.

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