AUDIBLE EDITOR

Emily Cox

Emily has been an Audible Editor since 2008. She balances her devotion to British Classics with lots of dark speculative fiction, young adult novels, and the occasional Regency romance. She also has intense love for parentheticals, books that make her ugly cry, and the serial comma.

Emily's Recent Reviews

    • The Only Story

    • A Novel
    • By: Julian Barnes
    • Narrated by: Guy Mott
    • Length: 7 hrs and 21 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 77
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 69
    • Story
      3.5 out of 5 stars 72

    From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of An Ending, a novel about a young man on the cusp of adulthood and a woman who has long been there, a love story shot through with sheer beauty, profound sadness, and deep truth....

    • 2 out of 5 stars
    • Disappointing

    • By the baz on 05-08-18
    • A Novel
    • By: Julian Barnes
    • Narrated by: Guy Mott
    • Length: 7 hrs and 21 mins
    • Release date: 04-17-18
    • 4 out of 5 stars 77 ratings
    • The limits of love and memory
    • I've spent the last few months immersed in sci-fi, romance, and other genre fiction, so I was hankering for this new book from Julian Barnes. The Only Story—a meditation on the limits of love and memory—was exactly the literary palette cleanser it promised to be: bright and pungent, with a bitter finish. It begins in 1963 when 19-year old Paul (student, home from Uni) and 48-year old Susan (married, mother of two) meet playing mixed doubles at the tennis club and fall face-first in love. Promises are made instinctively and with little foresight, setting in motion the greatest conundrum of Paul's life. Love, though arriving swiftly and never fully dispersing, ultimately proves to be incomprehensible. Throughout the narrative Barnes moves almost randomly between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person, but narrator Guy Mott's deft transitions are so seamless that it's not immediately apparent to the listener. And this struck me as exactly how self-reflection works: you view yourself from every angle, and here this shifting vantage point creates the room for moments of granular honesty, both beautiful and gruesome. Paul worries the problem in his hand like a stone, searching it for clues until determining that his attachment is flawed but unbreakable. At one point he claims death is the only closure. Well then…palette cleansed.
    • Obsidio

    • The Illuminae Files, Book 3
    • By: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
    • Narrated by: Olivia Taylor Dudley, Carla Corvo, full cast
    • Length: 13 hrs
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 774
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 722
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 721

    Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship Mao....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Live a life worth dying for

    • By Jessica M. Henn on 03-17-18
    • The Illuminae Files, Book 3
    • By: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
    • Narrated by: Olivia Taylor Dudley, Carla Corvo, full cast
    • Series: Illuminae Files, Book 3
    • Length: 13 hrs
    • Release date: 03-13-18
    • 5 out of 5 stars 774 ratings
    • Is this the most satisfying YA trilogy conclusion ever??
    • Harmless spoiler alert: yes it is! Obsidio is the third and final book in Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff's groundbreaking YA sci-fi series, The Illuminae Files. Presented as a dossier of evidence submitted during a trial, the series takes the jury (and the listener) through the story of a planetary invasion gone wrong, ultimately making a case against a greedy corporate entity. As such, the print versions of these books are highly graphic: complete with redactions, transcripts, maps, charts, and drawings. In translating this to audio, the producers faced a huge challenge in communicating not just the story but also the drama and emotion inherent on the pages. Through a vast multi-cast of more than 40 actors, rich sound design, commissioned music, as well as original content devised by the authors specifically for the audiobook, the series becomes a completely transporting, immersive, and not-to-be-missed experience.
    • The Music Shop

    • A Novel
    • By: Rachel Joyce
    • Narrated by: Steven Hartley
    • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 566
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 535
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 533

    A love story and a journey through music, the exquisite and perfectly pitched new novel from the best-selling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Another thing of beauty from Rachel Joyce

    • By Emily - Audible on 01-11-18
    • A Novel
    • By: Rachel Joyce
    • Narrated by: Steven Hartley
    • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
    • Release date: 01-02-18
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 566 ratings
    • Another thing of beauty from Rachel Joyce
    • How I love Rachel Joyce. In The Music Shop we meet Frank, an eternal optimist who knows about almost nothing except music, and who believes his vinyl record shop—which is struggling to remain relevant amidst the rise of CDs in 1980s Britain—is his venue by which to help the world. He has the intuitive ability to know what records people need to hear, and has even saved a marriage or two through his almost magical curation skills. Music geeks will eat this up (who doesn't want to hear Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata described as "punk?"), but as in all of Joyce's stories, the true elegance comes through her identification of the turning points in a person's life. What are those micro-traumas that set a child on their seemingly accidental path in life; what was that moment of (in)decision that changed everything? As a parent, Joyce's prescience terrifies me, but I also can't look away. As a bonus track (pun!) Steven Hartley's narration—Google him, you know this guy—is masterful: in turns obsessively enthusiastic and heartbreaking, especially amazing given that it’s his first turn behind the mic.
    • How to Stop Time

    • By: Matt Haig
    • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
    • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 444
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 419
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 418

    A love story across the ages - and for the ages - about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Immortality is a bummer

    • By Emily - Audible on 02-09-18
    • By: Matt Haig
    • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
    • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
    • Release date: 02-06-18
    • 4 out of 5 stars 444 ratings
    • Immortality is a bummer
    • One of my favorite YA trilogies (I won't tell you which) is awesome until the very end when the heroine beats the bad guy by acquiring immortality. While my colleague Katie loved this ending, it always majorly disturbed me, and How to Stop Time is the perfect illustration of why. Immortality is a bummer, guys. Matt Haig's protagonist, Tom, though not technically immortal—just looking forward to a 900+ years—is depressed. Everyone he's ever dared to love is dead, and he can't really settle into a home for more than a decade or so without raising serious—and dangerous—suspicions. In his current identity he's based in London and teaching (of course) history, and this is why, despite Tom's glumness, I just LOVED this book. I may not wish for immortality, but I do wish I could travel back in time. Tom's narration whisks you back to the Tudor period, the Jazz Age, the Gold Rush, and there's something truly remarkable about looking at history from a bird's eye view: Tom has our (and by "our" I mean "we mere humans") number, and we aren't the smartest of beasts. We are quite literally repeating ourselves. And While Tom may be exasperated and even a bit bored by our antics, this is the least boring book I've devoured in quite some time.
    • Lincoln in the Bardo

    • A Novel
    • By: George Saunders
    • Narrated by: Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and others
    • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 5,963
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5,601
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 5,574

    A moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • George Saunders answer to Dante's Inferno

    • By Betty Vance on 10-02-17
    • A Novel
    • By: George Saunders
    • Narrated by: Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, Carrie Brownstein, Miranda July, Lena Dunham, full cast
    • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
    • Release date: 02-14-17
    • 4 out of 5 stars 5,963 ratings
    • My favorite listen of 2017
    • Lincoln in the Bardo is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever listened to—and make no mistake—this one is meant to be listened to. 166 individual narrators (led by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, author George Saunders, and the incomparably sweet Kirby Heyborne as Willie) came together to voice this wildly surreal audiobook. While that might sound like a production stunt, the breadth of voices is necessary to create the immersive cacophony effect—almost a Greek chorus of Americana—that washes over you, ultimately leaving you with a stark and devastatingly accurate portrait of grief told by the clamoring voices of the dead.

      The listener finds himself in a Georgetown Cemetery where young Willie Lincoln has just been laid to rest. The Civil War has only just begun, and Willie's grieving father (the president) returns to the graveyard in a state of stumbling and stricken shambles to look at and hold the body of his boy. This unorthodox behavior from a visitor triggers shocked confusion among the self-unaware deceased who wonder what it means for their own fates. In rounding out his tale, Saunders depicts the real events of the time (those things happening outside of the graveyard) entirely through historical snippets and citations, some real, some imagined, all poignant in their disembodied wisdom. The effect is quite literally otherworldly, but the concerns of the voices seem recognizable and real, as you'll feel history rise up to meet the present, the echoes of the Civil War in conversation with today.
    • The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition

    • By: Margaret Atwood, Valerie Martin - essay
    • Narrated by: Claire Danes, full cast, Margaret Atwood
    • Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 19,550
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 18,008
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 17,949

    After a violent coup in the United States overthrows the Constitution and ushers in a new government regime, the Republic of Gilead imposes subservient roles on all women....

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT

    • By ambER on 04-20-17
    • By: Margaret Atwood, Valerie Martin - essay
    • Narrated by: Claire Danes, full cast, Margaret Atwood
    • Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
    • Release date: 04-04-17
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 19,550 ratings
    • Critical Listening
    • Full disclosure: The Handmaid's Tale is my favorite book. It is my number one all-time pick among books, the book of my life, having topped my list since I first read it in 2008. (I actually picked it up on the recommendation of someone I met while interviewing for my job at Audible!) In my opinion this book is absolutely critical (perhaps especially today): Atwood draws deep on history to expose how humans have again and again subjected women, and she illuminates our continued culpability in this. Offred's inner monologue untangles that messy dichotomy of wanting to remain independent, but feeling the urge to submit in the face of love. And it's completely humbling. No other work of literature slaps us so hard in the face with the fact that we are all just fragments—or moments in time—and we're all destined to become mere historical footnotes if we're lucky, completely forgotten if we're not.

      So when The Handmaid's Tale was originally produced in audio in 2012 I was ready, like a fan girl clutching a movie ticket on opening night, to be let down. I was worried that no narrator could live up to my expectations given my belief in the importance of this book. But Claire Danes is just vivid. She doesn't act, and she doesn't need to. She recounts. She breathes out the tale as if she is living it. Resigned, beaten down, traveling through hell by putting one step ahead of the other. I was utterly convinced by her performance.

      But for all my love of The Handmaid's Tale, and my belief that it's a perfect book, I've always been—again like a fan girl—a little irked by one aspect of it: its ending. "Are there any questions?" may be the most wonderfully frustrating last line ever conceived. YES I have questions— MANY of them. In producing this special edition, we proposed that Margaret Atwood answer some of those long standing questions. So what was it like to ask a Booker Prize-winning author to amend the ending of her most famous work? I felt pretty presumptuous to say the least. But Margaret’s response—and I think I’m quoting this correctly—was, ‘Sure, this sounds like fun.’ And indeed it was fun. The ten audio-only questions included in this production present a teasing look at the world beyond Offred, and a glimpse of what Atwood might have up her sleeve next.
    • Refugee

    • By: Alan Gratz
    • Narrated by: Michael Goldstrom, Kyla Garcia, Assaf Cohen
    • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 410
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 383
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 381

    This timely and powerful novel tells the story of three different children seeking refuge....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Intended for 5-8th graders, but it is good for adults too

    • By Lisa on 12-21-17
    • By: Alan Gratz
    • Narrated by: Michael Goldstrom, Kyla Garcia, Assaf Cohen
    • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
    • Release date: 08-01-17
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 410 ratings
    • Timely Lessons From the Past
    • This heart-wrencher of a tale chronicles three separate journeys of children experiencing what none should have to: fleeing a home that is no longer safe. We meet Josef, a Jewish boy leaving Germany in 1939 as he boards the ill-fated ocean liner St. Louis; Isabelle, who, along with her family, flees Cuba as a 1994 rafter, and Mahmoud, who departs Aleppo in 2015, bound for (bringing us full circle) Germany. The stories, unfolding in alternating points of view, are benchmarked at the start of each chapter with a subhead: xx days from home, demonstrating that from a kids' vantage point, home - or lack of - is the only landmark that really matters.

      The three accounts really took me into the heart of these historical moments in a way that news reports rarely do, each depicting a unique version of desperation, tragedy, and longing. But while I was on the edge-of-my-seat throughout, the ultimate conclusion is one of hope - that the sins of our collective past do in fact have the power to positively impact the choices we make in the future.
    • Northanger Abbey

    • An Audible Original Drama
    • By: Jane Austen, Anna Lea - adaptation
    • Narrated by: Emma Thompson, Douglas Booth, Eleanor Tomlinson, and others
    • Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,475
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,350
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,350

    A coming-of-age tale for the young and naïve 17-year-old Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey takes a decidedly comical look at themes of class, family, love and literature....

    • 1 out of 5 stars
    • There is no substitute for unabridged

    • By D. Littman on 09-08-17
    • An Audible Original Drama
    • By: Jane Austen, Anna Lea - adaptation
    • Narrated by: Emma Thompson, Douglas Booth, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ella Purnell, Jeremy Irvine, Lily Cole
    • Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
    • Release date: 07-18-17
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,475 ratings
    • A High-Spirited (and Very Funny) Dramatization
    • Northanger Abbey has always been one of my favorite Austen stories (along with Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and… oh). Anyway—it ranks WAY higher than Mansfield Park, at least. But I’ve always loved that it’s Austen’s most obvious play at satire, demonstrating, perhaps ironically (or maybe, given Austen’s own life, not at all) what kind of trouble a wild imagination can get a young woman into. So it lends itself beautifully to this new high-spirited, and very funny, dramatization. It even seems that Austen has herself been cast as the omniscient and wise narrator (and who else more fully embodies those qualities than the brilliant Emma Thompson?). If you love a good comedy of manners, don’t miss this delightful audio-only treasure.
    • Behind Her Eyes

    • A Novel
    • By: Sarah Pinborough
    • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck, Josie Dunn, Bea Holland, and others
    • Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 11,129
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 10,276
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 10,284

    Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar, and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she's thrilled....

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • What the heck...

    • By Allyssa R. on 06-16-17
    • A Novel
    • By: Sarah Pinborough
    • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck, Josie Dunn, Bea Holland, Huw Parmenter
    • Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
    • Release date: 01-31-17
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 11,129 ratings
    • A Book that Will Haunt You
    • The publicists for Sarah Pinbourough's breakout novel love to point to a hashtag that arose from early reads of the book, #WTFthatending. It's a great hook: "this book has such a batsh*t insane denouement that people took to twitter to OMG about it!" So of course I was intrigued, but I generally assumed that this was more PR gimmick than anything… But as it turns out, "WTF" is pretty much how I've been feeling since I finished listening last month. In fact I'm only writing this review because I need to bleach my brain and I'm hoping this will be the catharsis I'm looking for. After the initial five minutes (performed from the vantage point of a never-to-be-heard-from-again narrator) left me appropriately baffled, I was quickly sucked in and found firm footing within the dual-narration of the two main characters and their disparate personalities. We meet Adele, the naïve (but obviously not really), mistreated weakling of a wife, and Louise, the single mom who is both Adele's new insta-BFF and the woman sleeping with Adele's husband. The web of lies among the two, as well as the man in the middle, gets more and more tangled before it unravels, and you are never quite sure who's pulling which strings. Fair warning: there is an element within the premise of the story that you stumble upon about midway through that's admittedly a little farfetched, but by then you're so engrossed that you just go with it. Without revealing too much, I'll just say that as someone who loves a good multicast performance, I was fully aware that there was a fourth narrator in that casting line-up, and I felt - rightfully so it turns out - an immense amount of dread as I waited for them to show up.

      Despite how insane this book made me feel, I still wouldn’t trade in the experience (though I'll let you know how I'm feeling in another month). If you're in the mood for a book that will haunt you this might be a good candidate, just be prepared to need a prompt mental palate cleanser. Can I recommend Her Royal Spyness, perhaps?