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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Walter takes us to Rome in an Audible novella

Dan Webster

For a guy who deals in the written word, Jess Walter sure has a prominent presence on Audible.

If you don’t know, Audible – which since 2008 has been owned by Amazon – is the country’s largest audiobook producer and retailer. It’s also the company that runs an annual best-of competition in a number of categories (and for which I’ve been an unpaid judge in said competition for the past two decades).

But back to Walter, Spokane’s best-known novelist, a number of his books are available through Audible. Among them are his latest critically acclaimed novel “The Cold Millions,” while others include “Beautiful Ruins,” “The Financial Lives of Poets,” “The Zero” and “We Live in Water.”

Walter has also contributed a couple of what are called Audible (or Amazon) Originals, which are included free to those who pay for Audible subscriptions (which I do). One is titled “Parable” and is narrated by Walter himself.

The other, more recent selection, is titled “The Angel of Rome,” which is narrated by Edoardo Ballerini, who also narrated “Beautiful Ruins” and provided part of the narration for “We Live in Water” and “The Cold Millions.”

Here’s how the Audible website describes “The Angel of Rome”: “A young American studying in Rome gets swept up in the glamorous world of cinema when he meets a beautiful Italian actress near the end of her career and an irrepressible American TV star hoping to revive his.”

Walter, a former colleague of mine at The Spokesman-Review, still lives in Spokane. Ballerini, who has narrated more than 250 audiobooks and has appeared in 50-odd movies and television programs, live in New York.

I haven’t yet listened to “The Angel of Rome,” which is only two hours and four minutes long. But I expect to check it out soon. Besides the fact that I have an extensive Walter library, I’ve visited Rome a number of times.

It’ll be intriguing to see what Walter – who also is familiar with la Città Eterna – does with it.

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