Audio book recommendation: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

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Kathleen Rooney based her unforgettable character of Lillian Boxfish on the real-life advertising pioneer and poet, Margaret Fishback.  Rooney had been introduced to the Margaret Fishback Papers at Duke University by a friend about 10 years ago, but didn’t know how she would use this rich material in her writing.  She wasn’t interested in writing a biography of Margaret Fishback.  Instead, she used Fishback’s back story to create Lillian Boxfish.  Lillian’s career and life story closely resembles Margaret’s, as both worked for R. H. Macy and Company, both were active from the late 1920’s to the late 1960’s and both published popular light verse.  Rooney even includes some of Margaret’s light verse in her novel.

To be clear, this is Lillian’s story, and Rooney gives her a voice that is witty, urbane and passionate.  Xe Sands provides Lillian’s voice as the narrator for the audio book of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.  Sands is an award-winning narrator of audio books and she has recorded more than 100 books during the last decade.  Her performance as Lillian is riveting and feels very authentic.  A bonus feature included on the audio book is a delightful conversation between the author, Kathleen Rooney and the narrator, Xe Sands.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Lillian Boxfish, now eighty-five years old, begins one of her long walks on New Year’s Eve in 1984.  Her 10-mile walk pays homage to her beloved New York City and gives her time to reflect on her long life.