/ Christine Neulieb / 5 pm Thu, Dec 17 2015
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  • The Afflictions: a beautiful, gruesome, witty audiobook

    The Afflictions: a beautiful, gruesome, witty audiobook

    What happens when a scrappy independent press, an advertising copywriter with a sonorous baritone, and a physician-writer with a haunted imagination decide to make something together? An audiobook that’s sometimes beautiful, sometimes gruesome, witty and philosophical, magical and eerie.


    The Afflictions by Vikram Paralkar is a collection of vignettes, each one of which describes an imaginary disease. They’re afflictions of language and music, identity and exile, as likely to mar the soul as the body -- or to make you question where one ends and the other begins.

    They’re all excerpts from a long-lost Renaissance encyclopedia of medicine, which once used to fill a vast library somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula. Aging librarian Senhor José leads apprentice Máximo from shelf to shelf, pulling samples for him to read. Audiobook narrator Andrew Panebianco brings Senhor José to life in a gravelly, curmudgeonly rasp to introduce each set of vignettes, which are read to you (apparently; I’m not going to dispel the rumor) by a Game of Thrones villain.

    Currently, the audiobook is available exclusively as a download from Bandcamp, long the home of indie musicians seeking to share their work without record-label-favoring contracts or DRM.

    Full disclosure: I’m the editorial director of the aforementioned scrappy independent press, Lanternfish. If you listen, I’d love to hear from you! Find me on Twitter @Neulita and @LFPbooks.

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