• Early Morning Riser

  • A Novel
  • By: Katherine Heiny
  • Narrated by: Kate Rudd
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (453 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Alternately bittersweet and laugh-out-loud funny, a wise, bighearted novel of love, disaster, and unconventional family - from the acclaimed author of Standard Deviation, who has been called the "literary descendant of Jane Austen, sharing Austen's essentially comic world view" (NPR).       

Jane falls in love with Duncan easily. He is charming, good-natured, and handsome but unfortunately, he has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan's old girlfriends everywhere - at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away.

While Jane may be able to come to terms with dating the world's most prolific seducer of women, she wishes she did not have to share him quite so widely. His ex-wife, Aggie, a woman with shiny hair and pale milkmaid skin, still has Duncan mow her lawn. His coworker, Jimmy, comes and goes from Duncan's apartment at the most inopportune times. Sometimes Jane wonders if a relationship can even work with three people in it - never mind four. Five if you count Aggie's eccentric husband, Gary. Not to mention all the other residents of Boyne City, who freely share with Jane their opinions of her choices.

But any notion Jane had of love and marriage changes with one terrible car crash. Soon Jane's life is permanently intertwined with Duncan's, Aggie's, and Jimmy's, and Jane knows she will never have Duncan to herself. But could it be possible that a deeper kind of happiness is right in front of Jane's eyes? Katherine Heiny's Early Morning Riser is her most astonishingly wonderful work to date.

©2021 Katherine Heiny (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

A Good Morning America Buzz pick 

A New York Times Book to Watch For 

A Washington Post Best Book

An Esquire Best Book 

An E! News Best Book 

A Refinery29 Book to Read in 2021

An Apartment Therapy Best Book 

A PopSugar Best Book 

A Newsweek Book to Read 

A Parade Favorite Book of Spring 

A Kirkus Best Book to Read in April 

A New York Post Best New Novel 

"The funniest novel of the year.... You have to pay attention to a book like Heiny’s.... Sweetly sardonic.... Delightful." (Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post)

"The heroine of Katherine Heiny's buoyant new novel, Early Morning Riser, is a young second grade teacher named Jane who lives in Boyne City, Mich. On the very first page of the novel, Jane locks herself out of her house, calls a locksmith, and winds up spending the night and, eventually, her life with him.... Heiny writes in a simple droll style about ordinary people who are often being less than their best selves.... [A] literary descendant of Jane Austen, sharing Austen's essentially comic world view." (NPR) 

"Katherine Heiny shows readers how to pay attention to the little things.... Jane loves Duncan. But should she? Duncan is a handsome and friendly woodworker who moonlights as a locksmith in small-town Boyne City, Iowa. He’s the guy everybody knows, wink-wink.... Fortunately, Duncan is more complicated than that, as is everyone else in Katherine Heiny’s quiet whirlwind of a novel.... At its heart, this is a serious story full of lightness." (Connie Schultz, The New York Times Book Review

What listeners say about Early Morning Riser

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not my usual

I enjoyed
Listening to this book for several reasons. The narrated had a special kind of voice that draws you in. Second the story was well thought out and made you like these people.
I guess third because it was a gentle tale of family and friends and how they related by gathering face to face. Something we haven’t been able to do much of this past year. People caring about others.

7 people found this helpful

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Warm & Charming

I loved Janes relationship with Jimmy. Jimmy is a lucky man to have such a loving family AND the family is lucky to have Jimmy’s positive & bright perspective. The story reads melodiously. Smooth simple & clear. I was happy to come back to it throughout.

7 people found this helpful

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Like "Seinfeld" a book about "nothing"

Some reviewers indicated this book "had no story" but I would argue that point. Early Morning Riser tells many stories of day-to-day life within a community of people. As in real life, every person has a history that makes them who they are, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about all the people in this book, esp the main character Jane, who I think is a real hero in the lives of people around her. She helps some, tolerates others, and she is able to accept help and learn from the others too. I finished this book yesterday afternoon and I miss Jane and Duncan and wish I could keep on hearing stories about them and life in Boyne City.

5 people found this helpful

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I didn’t want this book to end

What a wonderful week I spent with these people. They will be with me always.

5 people found this helpful

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Fantastic!

Always interesting, deceptively simple but beautiful prose, and characters so specifically and brightly drawn they will never leave me. What an achievement!

Congratulations Katherine Heiny. Plus the narration by Kate Rudd is flawless.

5 people found this helpful

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Hate listened to the whole thing

So insufferable I couldn’t stop listening thinking there must be SOMEWHERE this story was going. Nope. An interesting plot line would be introduced and then just go away. Can’t stop thinking about it only because I’m trying to find a point! Hated the main character and all her inane thoughts. What a painfully stereotypical, juvenile, vanilla, expected, privileged life she leads. Only good (and I’m grasping here) was the narrator performance. Cannot believe this made any sort of best list. F-

4 people found this helpful

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A sweet, tender and hilarious story.

Being from Michigan and familiar with Boyne City is what brought me to this book. The simple yet heartwarming story with all its interesting and charming characters is what kept me listening. Kate Rudd was flawless. I felt as if I were imaginatively watching a play, right there with the characters wherever they were…at Taco Tuesday night, listening to Frieda playing the mandolin, or sitting in on the wonderful world of a 2nd grade class. I will certainly be searching out more of Ms. Heiny’s work!

3 people found this helpful

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A life

I enjoyed the details of Jane's life and all the interesting characters in it, especially Duncan and Jimmy.

1 person found this helpful

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Stick With This Book - It’s a Good Read

At first, I didn’t really like this book. There is no plot, there’s at least one simile on every page, and frankly, several portions are pretty sad. Yet by the halfway point, I couldn’t stop reading it, and by the end, I could say I really did enjoy it. The characters are so well-developed that I felt like I knew them. The humor is found often in the similes and metaphors. The plot lies in the personal growth of the characters over the years, especially the protagonist. It’s an excellent choice for a women’s book club, as there are a lot of points that can be discussed. The narrator did a great job with the variety of voices.

1 person found this helpful

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Slice of life - in the best way

Great story and narration. Could not stop listening. Great American characters- very relatable even tho I’ve never been to the area.

1 person found this helpful