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Literary

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Beth Anne

Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States Member Since 2012

i like to read. i like to listen.

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  • "Disturbing, Frustrating, Messed Up ..."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    this book was amazing, freaky, scary, frustrating and totally totally F'ed up.

    this is a story of obsession and insanity, yes. but it's also a story of friendship and love, unhealthy love. of dependence and self loathing. of how decisions can stunt and haunt someone. it's a story of race and intolerance. it's a story of art and literature and beauty and freedom.

    nora, a teacher in cambridge, is psycho. i mean...seriously. she becomes obsessed with a family -- not as a family -- but as three separate units. she's in love with all three of them, mother, father, son -- in unhealthy and insane ways.i truly do think that nora is clinically psychotic. but god, what a fascinating narrator she makes for this story. so...i will say without any doubts, i did not like nora. i think for all she pats herself on the back for being such a great person, friend, woman, teacher...she's really kind of an asshole. but i guess it all goes back to the fact that shes INSANE. and so, as unlikeable as i find her, i couldn't stop reading her story. of course in a book like this, i know upfront that i cannot trust her as a narrator and so i found myself doubting everything she said. at times, she even said as much...that she was telling these events as SHE perceived them...maybe not how they actually occurred. but how well Claire Messud wrote her perceptions....it's amazing. i reveled in hearing each moment she spent with the three members of the Shahid family (reza, sirena and skandar). i was excited for every new development that progressed in each string of the story...and how they all wove and intertwined with each other.

    i've listened to a few books read by Cassandra Campbell in the past. i'm the first to admit that she is not usually my favorite narrator. there is something about her that irks me. and in this book -- that only lent itself to making her voicing nora's insanity strong and true. it sounds strange, but the fact that i don't love her narration worked for me in this story -- because i didn't like nora either.

    i was on the edge of my seat this entire book, waiting for the other shoe to drop...and was horrified and amazed when it did.


    More

    The Woman Upstairs

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Claire Messud
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (304)
    Performance
    (266)
    Story
    (270)

    Nora Eldridge, a 37-year-old elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who long ago abandoned her ambition to be a successful artist, has become the "woman upstairs", a reliable friend and tidy neighbor always on the fringe of others' achievements. Then into her classroom walks Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale. He and his parents - dashing Skandar, a Lebanese scholar and professor at the École Normale Supérleure; and Sirena, an effortlessly glamorous Italian artist - have come to Boston for Skandar to take up a fellowship at Harvard.

    Beth Anne says: "Disturbing, Frustrating, Messed Up and AWESOME!"
  • "Top Listen for 2013 - A+++"

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    one of the best books i've read this year. definitely on my top five for 2013 (so far).

    like other reviewers, i cannot believe that i haven't heard of meg wolitzer before. she's written a ton of books, and if they are anywhere close to as good as this one was, i'm excited that i've discovered a "new" writer so that i can go back and read all of her work.

    this book was so realistic. it was the story of six teenagers who meet at art camp and it follows their lives through the years into their 50s. the narrator shifts between three of them, but is mainly told by Julia dubbed early on "Jules". she's such a tender and relatable character. she's welcomed into this group of "interestings" -- without fully understanding why. she feels they are the apex of coolness and style, and that she's somewhat unworthy. from her first time in their "inner circle" (in the teepee of art camp) through the last page we see of them together, she's got doubts and questions...lack of confidence...and insecurities as to why and how she belongs.

    the story is told over the years, jumping back and forth from past to present to somewhere in the middle..and seamlessly unfolds this story of friendship, marriage, success, failure and love.

    Jen Tullock was, to me, the perfect narrator. she embodied Jules perfectly - but also played Ash, Ethan, Jonah, Dennis so well. She even gave ancillary characters their own perfect spin, voice and piece of the puzzle. I loved her reading of this book.

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    The Interestings

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Meg Wolitzer
    • Narrated By Jen Tullock
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (990)
    Performance
    (882)
    Story
    (885)

    The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge. The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age 15 is not always enough to propel someone through life at age 30; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence.

    Tango says: "Needs a better title, but a good read (listen)"
  • "Thought Proving Disturbing Story of..."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    oh how i love the unreliable narrator. the narrator who at first, you kind of like, laughing at his jokes, agreeing with his commentary. the narrator you feel compassion for -- his story and opinions. the narrator that throws everything on it's head as the story progresses and makes you feel almost angry at yourself for feeling the way you did in the beginning of the novel. when the truth is actually laid out there and you see what he was saying all along.
    clive mantle does a great job with this narration.

    this book is DARK. i mean...like....really really dark. in a long while i haven't read anything this shocking. its full of people you won't like...full of scenes you won't ever want to read again (and won't soon forget).

    i think the pacing of this novel was really well done. to use a food metaphor (this is "the dinner" after all), the unfolding of each layer of the onion brings out new facts, new understandings, and therefor new questions. there was a perfect amount of the "now" and the "before". a perfect amount of insight, introduced course by course.


    ***one thing i will say is that this book is NOTHING like Gone Girl. i dont know why so many people are comparing the two. i mean, i've read no less then 5 books in the past year that have so called 'twist' endings...and none of them can be compared to one another. so...if you liked GG, you may not like this...and if you hated GG, you may still love this -- so don't take that comparison as your judge. just read it.***

    More

    The Dinner: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Herman Koch, Sam Garrett (translator)
    • Narrated By Clive Mantle
    Overall
    (892)
    Performance
    (781)
    Story
    (788)

    It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse - the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a 15-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families.

    Jane says: "Dining at its most distubing"
  1. The Woman Upstairs
  2. The Interestings
  3. The Dinner: A Novel
  4. .

A Peek at Julie W. Capell's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
237
 
Milwaukee, WI USA 87 REVIEWS / 116 ratings Member Since 2007 11 Followers / Following 1
 
Julie W. Capell's greatest hits:
  • The Dinner: A Novel

    "So funny I barely noticed the cliff"

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    Performance
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    I think I missed the meeting when my book club chose this book, so I had absolutely no idea what it was about when I downloaded it into my phone and began to listen. Within a few sentences, I found myself laughing out loud. I don’t know if a person reading the book would get as much of the snarky humor inherent in this book (particularly the beginning) but it definitely comes across in the audio version as expertly brought alive by Clive Mantle. Just the way Mantle pronounces “Serrrrrrge” with a heavy, sardonic emphasis on the “r” made me laugh every time. And don’t get me started on the scene in the men’s room—hysterical!

    The beginning chapters are a bitingly droll commentary on upper middle class life in the early 21st century. I absolutely howled with laughter at the descriptions of the pretentious restaurant, the self-important maître d’ (and his pinky!) and the ostentatiously named food. Side trips into the protagonist’s memories were also—at first—amusing, particularly the passage about the garden party.

    Which brings me to another thing I loved about this book: the way the author described things. Like the woman at the garden party with a “voice like the sweetener in Diet Coke.” I also really liked it when the author described something and then wrote something along the lines of “well, no . . . it wasn’t exactly like that . . . it was more like . . .” and then went on to give a fantastic simile that left no doubt what he had in mind. In chapter 15 he gives three different descriptions of Serge’s face, each one more telling than the last: “like a new car that got its first scratch,” “like a cartoon whose chair has been kicked out from under him,” and finally “if he wore that face asking people to vote for him, no one would give him a second look.”

    There is much, much more to this book, and once the action starts to heat up the comedy is replaced by a chilling look behind the scenes of these “normal” lives. Societal issues including racism, homelessness, parenting, violence and morality are presented as I have seldom encountered them before in a novel. The end . . . well, I don’t want to give anything away, but it was sort of like in the Road Runner when the coyote realizes the cliff has dropped out from under him. A great listen!

  • People of the Book

    "Illuminating novel about real Jewish holy book"

    Overall

    The author obviously did her homework and presents true facts about the book, such as its remarkable escape from harm during WWII and the more recent Yugoslavian civil war courtesy of conscientious Muslim librarians, interspersed with an imagined history of how it came to be in Sarajevo in the first place, centuries after its creation in medieval Spain. Fully realized present-day characters are engaging and the trips into the far past are riveting. Each historic episode is filled with fascinating, sometimes gruesome and even heartbreaking details about life in medieval Europe. Different enough view of Muslim-Jewish-Christian relationships from other books currently in vogue to be recommended. I liked the reader very much, she did different accents for all the characters and really made each one come alive.

  • On Canaan’s Side: A Novel

    "Save me from men who think women exist to serve"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    As I read (or more precisely, listened to) Sebastian Barry’s novel, I had trouble putting my finger on just what I didn’t like about it. I did like the form of the novel, a sort of diary written by an old woman in which she looks back at her long life. I really loved the way Barry described people, for instance, a man operating a ride at an amusement park was described as someone who “hadn’t had his ears pinned down properly.” Cassie, the protagonist’s best friend, was described as a woman who would have looked good as the figurehead on the prow of a ship.

    But there was an emptiness at the heart of the novel that left me cold and toward the end I figured out what it was. Barry created a female protagonist who is an idealized, impossible, saint of a woman. She is misused by every man in her life, and yet cannot stop herself from catering to their every whim and forgiving them for every wrong. This is probably Barry’s idea of the perfect mother, someone who will not mind it when the son/grandson that she has formed her life around shuts her out, disappears, ignores and shuns her. She somehow perseveres through it all with a forgiving nature that is impossible to believe. And the ending . . . I just couldn’t buy her final decision. Why she would care that much for the grandson who seems to have treated her like a short order cook and then abandoned her is never made clear. This novel is just some man’s fantasy of how a mother, or mother figure, should give up her whole existence to nurture others with no life of her own. Girls, go read something empowering and leave this on the shelf.

    [I listened to this as an audio book read by Wanda McCaddon, who did a nice job].

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

    "Fantasy for readers of "certain age""

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was immediately captivated upon hearing the first few pages of “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” tacked on as a promo at the end of “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar.” The tale of a man, back in his childhood hometown on the occasion of a funeral, re-discovering something fantastic and magical at the end of the lane made me feel wistful, like I wanted some of my mother’s chocolate chip cookies. So I immediately ordered “The Ocean” and waited for those cookie-scented childhood memories to waft my way.

    The book is for the most part a flashback, as the man of the first chapter recalls an adventure he had—or may not have had—as a young boy. As much as I liked the first chapter, much of the middle section of the book was just too icky for my taste. Intellectually, I understand the purpose of the scary parts but they were a bit graphic for my taste and jarred with other parts that were beautifully whimsical.

    The end of the book did a nice job of bringing everything back full circle, and made several allusions to the author’s own life as an expatriate and (at one time) struggling artist. I got the idea that this book was more autobiographical than others I have read by Gaiman. The long view of life that the novel’s structure allows resonated with me as I believe it will for many other readers of a “certain age.”

    I listened to this as an audio book read by Gaiman. He does a marvelous job here as with other readings I have heard from him.

Tad Davis

Tad Davis Philadelphia, PA USA 07-09-10 Member Since 2005
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  • "Flawed"

    41 of 41 helpful votes

    John Lee gives a hearty but flawed performance of "Ulysses." The energy and the humor come through -- this is, after all, one of the funniest books ever written -- but there are quieter moments as well, and these fare badly: Lee delivers everything at a breakneck pace, not so much narrating the book as declaiming it.

    In addition, there are some errors in the production design of the audiobook that detract from its effectiveness. First and foremost, "Ulysses" is full of music, from snatches of song to the quarter-hour tolling of a bell tower. All are rendered in the same straightforward declamatory prose style of the rest of the narration. Second -- and it's possible this is a problem with the Audible rendering rather than the original audiobook -- the episodes all run together without a second's pause between them. Whether you view the book as three long chapters or eighteen separate episodes, there are clear indications of breaks throughout the text, each accompanied by major changes in tone, style, and narrator. Here, the last sentence of one and first sentence of the next seem to be delivered in the same breath.

    It seems to be using a better (more recent) text than the Naxos version. The Naxos version has a number of other flaws as well, but it does a far better job of capturing the music and the rhythm of the narration than Blackstone's offering. If Blackstone were willing to undertake it, a little re-engineering of this title could make a huge difference and might justify a higher rating.

    More

    Ulysses

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs)
    • By James Joyce
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    Joyce’s experimental masterpiece set a new standard for modernist fiction, pushing the English language past all previous thresholds in its quest to capture a day in the life of an Everyman in turn-of-the-century Dublin. Obliquely borrowing characters and situations from Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce takes us on an internal odyssey along the current of thoughts, impressions, and experiences that make up the adventure of living an average day.

    Tad Davis says: "Flawed"

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    Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island. With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war.

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UNABRIDGED) by Tim O'Brien Narrated by Bryan Cranston

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    Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

    Michelle says: "Stark and poignant!"
  • Atlas Shrugged (






UNABRIDGED) by Ayn Rand Narrated by Scott Brick

    Atlas Shrugged

    • UNABRIDGED (63 hrs)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (5263)
    Performance
    (3228)
    Story
    (3242)

    In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts? In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike.

    Mica says: "Hurt version decidedly superior"
  •  
  • The Night Circus (






UNABRIDGED) by Erin Morgenstern Narrated by Jim Dale

    The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6183)
    Performance
    (5494)
    Story
    (5492)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Pamela says: "The circus of your dreams"
  • The Kite Runner (






UNABRIDGED) by Khaled Hosseini Narrated by Khaled Hosseini

    The Kite Runner

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Khaled Hosseini
    Overall
    (6503)
    Performance
    (1829)
    Story
    (1849)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Never before has an author’s narration of his fiction been so important to fully grasping the book’s impact and global implications. Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of its monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them.

    Joseph says: "A storyteller's story"
  • The Bonfire of the Vanities (






UNABRIDGED) by Tom Wolfe Narrated by Joe Barrett

    The Bonfire of the Vanities

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (880)
    Performance
    (449)
    Story
    (455)

    Tom Wolfe's best-selling modern classic tells the story of Sherman McCoy, an elite Wall Street bond trader who has it all: wealth, power, prestige, a Park Avenue apartment, a beautiful wife, and an even more beautiful mistress - until one wrong turn sends Sherman spiraling downward into a humiliating fall from grace. A car accident in the Bronx involving Sherman, his girlfriend, and two young lower-class black men sets a match to the incendiary racial and social tensions of 1980s New York City.

    JOHN says: "TEN STARS"
  • Beautiful Ruins (






UNABRIDGED) by Jess Walter Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini

    Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5769)
    Performance
    (4994)
    Story
    (4988)

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
  • Love, Love Me Do (






UNABRIDGED) by Mark Haysom Narrated by Katie Scarfe, David Thorpe

    Love, Love Me Do

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Mark Haysom
    • Narrated By Katie Scarfe, David Thorpe
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    1963: The year the Beatles first top the charts. The year Martin Luther King has a dream. The year Truman Bird moves his family from their home in Brighton to a dilapidated caravan in the Ashdown Forest - then disappears. Truman's a charmer, a chancer, a liar. He's always got away with it, too. But now he's gone a dangerous step too far and only has one day to put things right - before he loses everything. For Truman's wife, Christie, life has not turned out the way she'd imagined.

  • My Husband Next Door (






UNABRIDGED) by Catherine Alliott Narrated by Alison Reid

    My Husband Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Catherine Alliott
    • Narrated By Alison Reid
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Separated in every way but distance, Sebastian resides in an outhouse across the lawn from his ex-wife Ella's ramshackle farmhouse. With a home crowded by hostile teenaged children and gender-confused chickens, Ella finds comfort in the company of the very charming gardener, Ludo. Then Sebastian decides to move on, catching Ella horribly unawares. How much longer can she hide from what really destroyed her marriage... and the secret she continues to keep?

  • Little Lies (






UNABRIDGED) by Liane Moriarty Narrated by Caroline Lee

    Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Pirriwee Public is a beautiful little beachside primary school where children are taught that ‘sharing is caring.’ So how has the annual School Trivia Night ended in full-blown riot? Sirens are wailing. People are screaming. The principal is mortified. And one parent is dead. Was it a murder, a tragic accident or just good parents gone bad? As the parents at Pirriwee Public are about to discover, sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.

  • Arctic Summer (






UNABRIDGED) by Damon Galgut Narrated by Finlay Robertson

    Arctic Summer

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Damon Galgut
    • Narrated By Finlay Robertson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    In 1912, the SS Birmingham approaches India. On board is Morgan Forster, novelist and man of letters. It will be another 12 years, and a second time spent in India, before A Passage to India, E. M. Forster's great work of literature, is published. During these years, Morgan will come to a profound understanding of the infinite subtleties and complexity of human nature.

  •  
  • A Change of Altitude (






UNABRIDGED) by Cindy Myers Narrated by Aimee Jolson

    A Change of Altitude

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Cindy Myers
    • Narrated By Aimee Jolson
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    With local Maggie Stevens' baby on the way - not to mention her wedding to Jameso Clark in the works - spring in Eureka promises to be a time of rebirth in more ways than one. To add to the excitement, and refill the town's depleted coffers, Lucille, the mayor, has wooed a movie producer to Eureka, throwing folks into a tizzy - and inspiring some to reach for the stars. As if that weren't enough, the bogus Lucky Lady mine the town partially sold turns out to really have gold in it - and possibly a ghost to boot.

  • Lucky Us: A Novel (






UNABRIDGED) by Amy Bloom Narrated by Alicyn Packard

    Lucky Us: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Amy Bloom
    • Narrated By Alicyn Packard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island. With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war.

  • The Bend of the World (






UNABRIDGED) by Jacob Bacharach Narrated by Jacob Bacharach

    The Bend of the World

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Jacob Bacharach
    • Narrated By Jacob Bacharach
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    In the most audacious literary debut to come out of the Steel City since The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, we meet Peter Morrison, twenty-nine and comfortably adrift in a state of not-quite-adulthood, less concerned about the general direction of his life than with his suspicion that all his closest relationships are the products of inertia. He and his girlfriend float along in the same general direction, while his parents are acting funny, though his rich, hypochondriac grandmother is still good for admission to the better parties.

  • The Home Place: A Novel (






UNABRIDGED) by Carrie La Seur Narrated by Andrus Nichols

    The Home Place: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Carrie La Seur
    • Narrated By Andrus Nichols
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Carrie La Seur makes her remarkable debut with The Home Place, a mesmerizing, emotionally evocative, and atmospheric literary novel in the vein of The House Girl and A Land More Kind Than Home, in which a successful lawyer is pulled back into her troubled family’s life in rural Montana in the wake of her sister’s death.