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Correspondents

A Novel
Narrated by: Necar Zadegan, Assaf Cohen
Length: 15 hrs and 34 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4.5 out of 5 stars (267 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The world is Rita Khoury’s oyster. The bright and driven daughter of a Boston-area Irish Arab family that has risen over the generations from poor immigrants to part of the coastal elite, Rita grows up in a 1980s cultural mishmash. Corned beef and cabbage sit on the dinner table alongside stuffed grape leaves and tabouleh, all cooked by Rita’s mother, an Irish nurse who met her Lebanese surgeon husband while working at a hospital together. The unconventional yet close-knit family bonds over summers at the beach, wedding line dances, and a shared obsession with the Red Sox.
 

Rita charts herself an ambitious path through Harvard to one of the best newspapers in the country. She is posted in cosmopolitan Beirut and dates a handsome Palestinian would-be activist. But when she is assigned to cover the America-led invasion of Baghdad in 2003, she finds herself unprepared for the war zone. Her lifeline is her interpreter and fixer Nabil al-Jumaili, an equally restless young man whose dreams have been restricted by life in a deteriorating dictatorship, not to mention his own seemingly impossible desires. As the war tears Iraq apart, personal betrayal and the horrors of conflict force Rita and Nabil out of the country and into twisting, uncertain fates. What lies in wait will upend their lives forever, shattering their own notions of what they are entitled to in a grossly unjust world. 

Epic in scope, by turns satirical and heartbreaking, and speaking sharply to America’s current moment, Correspondents is a whirlwind story about displacement from one’s own roots, the violence America promotes both abroad and at home, and the resilience that allows families to remake themselves and endure even the most shocking upheavals.

©2019 Tim Murphy (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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

The Arab American Dream

Immediately engrossed in the vibrant and often touching Khoury family saga, i was soon impressed how it segued and pitted the Americanness of that saga against the repressed history of the War in Iraq (which part 2 really brought back to life in full complexity). Part 3 sprawled out in many interesting directions, suggesting surprising ways nations/families/individuals might find redemption.

Only downside, I found the some of performed accents annoying and distracting.

48 of 51 people found this review helpful

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Powerful and gripping!

A multi-layered, dramatic story; poignant, funny, heartbreaking, hopeful. Truly excellent narration! I highly recommend it.

33 of 36 people found this review helpful

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Correspondents

This book I’m sorry to say was one of those things that didn’t impress me. Tried twice. The book was worse than my childhood. It was a combo of all of the parts together. You can’t point to one place and say there is the place where this story went wrong. Sorry I can’t be any help except try something else the next book you write. And more narrators does not help when you find that the brief paragraphs as a teaser at the beginning is more entertaining than the actual book. Keep trying and I will keep on buying.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wonderfully written book

Not an easy read, but for me it was a page turner. At times I felt I was right there with the characters in the book. One of my favorites.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Tim Murphy can sure tell a story!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I had listened to his previous novel Christodora and found it very engaging but sometimes clunky. The writing in Correspondents is smoother, although the author has a tendency to cram too many thoughts into one sentence. This is more obvious when one is listening to, rather than reading, a book, and the male narrator in particular had some issues with the flow of the narration. However. This is a terrific story with great characters (also true of Christodora). The female narrator is an absolute natural and a delight to listen to. Please give this woman more books to narrate! The male narrator, while his "narration" parts can be halting and lack an easy flow, more than makes up for that with his dialogue and accents, which are wonderful. The book is timely and well worth a listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not the Thornbirds but...

I love big thick family sagas. This was a dose of family with their war experiences a mental case homegrown terrorist thrown in and of course an added gay bit. Lots there but it all comes together. If you were in support of our Iraqi invasion you may find this uncomfortable. But hey nobody was a winner. Good narration and characters you just want to hug.

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Interesting novel - felt real!

This multi-generational novel focuses on a few characters at different times. At the center is Rita, the bookish daughter of an Irish mother who is a nurse, and a Lebanese father who is a surgeon. Both parents are from large, close-knit families in the Boston area. Rita eventually becomes a reporter in Iraq, after the fall of Saddam. Because of the shifting of times and characters, this almost feels like a number of interconnected novellas in one book. Some of those stories were more engaging than others. The good one were so good and powerful, that I had to raise what I expected to be a 3 star rating to 4 stars. Many of the characters and places feel very real. So, while this is uneven at times, the good parts make this worth listening to. This book did stay with me after listening.

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An amazing listen

From narration to content this book doesn’t disappoint.
Such a great listen, it’s a book I will come back to again and again for sure.

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Something different

I mainly wanted to leave a review for the narrators, the female was the best I ever heard and I've listened to thousands of hours of audio books. But the book is excellent too, something very different, but engaging, enlightening and emotional. I learned a lot about the history beyond the news headlines while being completely captivated by the characters.

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Beautiful. Painful.

This is a beautiful book. A painful book.
Do not let the event in the opening chapter keep you from continuing. It haunted me throughout, thinking I knew what would come at the end. I am so glad I listened to the entire book. I plan to purchase the print edition to keep in my library.