• A Terribly Private Club

  • A Novel
  • By: Ashley Sands
  • Narrated by: Anna Baryshnikov
  • Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (31 ratings)
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A Terribly Private Club  By  cover art

A Terribly Private Club

By: Ashley Sands
Narrated by: Anna Baryshnikov
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Publisher's summary

You might be wondering how I went from promising Dartmouth art-history graduate to nameless federal inmate in just a few short years. Which vice did me in? Well, greed and ambition are different sides of the same coin. But then again, it’s never that simple.

Wide-eyed Kate Sullivan is thrilled when she scores a job as the assistant to the fabulous yet slightly unhinged Brazilian art dealer Rafaela de Souza. Struggling in her new position, fish-out-of-water Kate is on the verge of being fired when she catches the eye of both "it artist" Kodi Best and charming dealer Cole Beaumont. Suddenly her career takes off, and she’s swept into the murkier depths of the art market, where she must question how far she’s willing to go to make the illustrious career she imagined a reality. 

The heroine of A Terribly Private Club is an unforgettable narrator, detailing her journey from small-town Ohio to the glamorous world of multimillion-dollar paintings and New York high society, and then, finally, to her prison cell at the Danbury Federal Correctional Institute.

Sweetbitter meets Anna Delvey in this captivating debut novel about a young woman who’ll do whatever it takes to make it in the cutthroat, decadent, and sometimes criminal world of New York City’s art scene.

©2019 Ashley Sands (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

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  • A Terribly Private Club
  • "Playing the game here is a nuanced necessity here."
  • A Terribly Private Club
  • "Where to begin"
  • A Terribly Private Club
  • "This was where I wanted to be."

About the Creator

A rehabbed art dealer and curator, Ashley Sands is the author of the Audible Original A Terribly Private Club. Prior to pursuing writing full-time, Sands had a career spanning over a decade in the art world. She worked at galleries in London and New York, co-founded a public art project in Delhi, founded and directed a contemporary art project space in London, and most recently, curated an exhibition in Frank Zappa’s infamous studio in Los Angeles. Her projects have been featured in Vice, GQ, Vogue, the LA Times, Art Review, Art Forum, and The Art Newspaper. Raised in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she now lives and writes in San Francisco.

About the Performer

Anna Baryshnikov currently stars in the Apple TV+ series Dickinson, opposite Hailee Steinfeld and Jane Krakowski. She was previously featured in the film The Kindergarten Teacher alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Anna made her screen debut in Manchester by the Sea opposite Michelle Williams, Casey Affleck, and Lucas Hedges, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to receive an Academy Award nomination. Anna will next be seen in the feature adaptation of Josie + Jack opposite Olivia DeJonge and Alex Neustaedter, which premiered at the DTLA Film Festival, and is based on the popular novel of the same name.
On stage, Anna starred as Carol, in the Broadway production of Time and the Conways opposite Elizabeth McGovern at Roundabout Theater Company, and in Horse Girls at the Cell Theater. Anna was a series regular on the CBS half-hour comedy series, Superior Donuts. Other television credits include the HBO series Doll & Em opposite Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer, Amazon’s Good Girls Revolt, NBC’s The Mysteries of Laura, and CBS’s Blue Bloods. Anna is a graduate of Northwestern with a BS in Theatre.

What listeners say about A Terribly Private Club

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good Story, Main Character Has No Backbone

Initially intrigued by the premise, I picked up this book with limited reviews to go off of. (Technically the reviews available were honest provided in exchange for a free ARC of the book, but they weren't thorough or detailed by any means.)

It started off interesting with the main character in jail telling us about her start in the art world which later leads to her landing in jail. It's well narrated and the topic is interesting. I didn't know anything about the art world prior to reading this and the author did a good job balancing between giving information so that you can understand what's going on and not at all being lecture-y about it. Surprisingly well done.

The issue I had, which majorly affected how difficult it was to get through this book, was that the main character has no backbone. She has so little confidence or assuredness in herself and her work that she's constantly second-guessing what she should do and taking action simply because she thinks her cooler and more knowledgable coworkers would do it. Such actions include allowing herself to be used as human furniture, heavily drinking at work, taking cocaine, and doing a nude photoshoot while drunk and high because the artist who supplied all the substances said "he'd keep them private". Eye-roll.

People can be naive, that's fine. But this goes far beyond simple naïveté. The main character only takes action that other people suggest because she has so little confidence in herself to assess if she wants to or even should take that action. Not a surprise she ends up going to jail because a hot art dealer gave her some attention and then asked for her complicity in some shady shit.

That said, the narrator was great. She had a good pace and it was easy to differentiate between voices.

If you're interested in a peek into the art world and its shadier underbelly, and don't mind a spineless protagonist (though there are other interesting, fun, and fleshed-out characters, to be fair), this is the book for you.

If, like me, you need a story where the MC's actions have some level of being driven by anything other than their insecurities, save your credit and find something else.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting story!

t was a very enjoyable listen! Kate is a good woman taken in by a cutthroat art world. We start the story with Kate in prison and we go back and find out the story of how she got there. Most of the story was easy and I found pretty fast-moving, only slowed down a few times by very detailed art information.

The narrator was good. I only had trouble with her differentiating between the woman voices sometimes, but she was very believable as naïve Kate Sullivan. I also loved that the audiobook chapters weren't all long. It was great for stopping points. Overall, an interesting story! I would recommend that it's worth the Audible credit.

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