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A Sudden Light Audiobook

A Sudden Light: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story by the author of the internationally best-selling phenomenon The Art of Racing in the Rain.

In the summer of 1990, 14-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel - who is flickering in and out of dementia - to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into "tract housing for millionaires", divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

A Sudden Light is a rich, atmospheric work that is at once a multigenerational family saga, a historical novel, a ghost story, and the story of a contemporary family’s struggle to connect with each other. A tribute to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, it reflects Garth Stein’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation, and his rare ability to see the unseen: the universal threads that connect us all.

©2014 Garth Stein (P)2014 Simon & Schuster Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (289 )
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4.4 (261 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Readaholic 12-11-14
    Readaholic 12-11-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not racing in the rain"
    What did you like best about A Sudden Light? What did you like least?

    The story was a disappointment, but his writing is still marvelous. This was not my kind of story ang I longed for the connection I felt with the dog in Racing in the Rain. It is rare to make that connection so I should not expect it again. For those who like fantasy this will probably be an enjoyable read


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mel USA 10-06-14
    Mel USA 10-06-14 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Ghost of a Story"

    It's October; who doesn't like a ghost story this time of year; Garth Stein has a pretty impressive track record (The Art of Racing in the Rain); lots of high ratings; fellow well-credentialed authors gave some enticing blurbs...if it sounds like I'm thinking aloud, I'm trying to figure out where I went wrong -- because this was the wrong book for me. I'm not sure whom this book is for.

    My biggest complaint, and one that is consistent when I'm duped, is that it is presented as one thing, "a ghost story," but is something very different, but what I'm not sure. It could be a message about conservation, a spiritual philosophy, a Puget Sound Broke Mountain (melodramatically, "the dark past of his forefathers"), but it's not a ghost story.

    The *ghost* element seems more an excuse, or a utilitarian connection to history; the ghosts themselves limp and (NPI) lifeless -- dancing in ballrooms, turning out the lights, writing messages through human Ouija boards. The story had an over reliance on the diaries and their expository dialogue, which could have been passable but came across as a lazy means to move the story forward. Stein is heavy-handed with the philosophy that's suppose to bolster the plot, and spouts it often and unnecessarily, from the mouth of a temporarily possessed grandfather. The 14 yr. old narrator Trevor also possess an uncanny repertoire of philosophy and literature. Like all of the characters, there was a thinness, a randomness, even a falseness to Trevor. Both the characters and the plot seemed to fall apart under the weight of an ambiguous sense of importance.

    There is plenty of restless wandering here, but not from any ghosts. In my opinion, an unsuccessful melding of too many random elements, not well thought out or executed, and not particularly well written. Only Hope propelled me -- battling all the while with contrivance, predictability, and banality -- as far into this novel as I got. I don't like to write mean-spirited or pernicious reviews, and I like to think I could say anything I write face to face with the author...I heard Stein's other books are good, but I can't say the same about this one.








    20 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dodi krug 03-11-16
    dodi krug 03-11-16
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    "love Garth Stein books"

    Stein is so skilled at taking me somewhere else. I'm always all in! What talent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica 02-25-15
    Monica 02-25-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Sudden Light"

    First heard on NPR chapter a day program. Great book! Looking forward to listening to more.
    Thanks for the book

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    01-27-15
    01-27-15 Member Since 2008
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    "Get rid of the narrator"

    Stein's story is fascinating and well written, but the narrator is the worst I have ever heard and I have been listening to audio books for over seven years. He talked too fast so the reader marveled at his rapid delivery rather than concentrating on the flow of words. The listener deserves more from a narrator and so does Stein.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine 11-12-14
    Catherine 11-12-14
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    "Beautiful Prose and Descriptions of Place"

    I love Garth Stein's writing, but I'm not a fan of mystical realism, and that aspect of the story line really turned me off.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda Rumney, NH United States 08-18-17
    Brenda Rumney, NH United States 08-18-17
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    "This audible book has it all!"

    Great story! Interesting, amusing, emotional, and suspenseful with very memorable character development. I love Garth's writing. The right narrator was picked with Seth Numrich. Fantastic job! He has a gift. I felt like I was attending a play.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Salem, OR, USA 05-21-17
    Linda Salem, OR, USA 05-21-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Amazing!"

    I was skeptical that I would enjoy this as much as Racing In The Rain, how can an author top that one? But he did such a good job with another strong narration, with things to grapple with along the lines of spiritualism and after-life, as well as a big mystery to unravel. I listened to it in a weekend because I kept making excuses to listen while I gardened rested and more! Bravo to Garth Stein!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. B. West Linn, OR United States 04-27-17
    T. B. West Linn, OR United States 04-27-17

    Tah-nee-kah

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    "Stein is in the top ten of my favorite writers"

    Fascinating story, cannot put down. Stein has such an unusual writing style, he takes you with him into amazing world of mystery, human emotion and action

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    04-26-17
    04-26-17 Member Since 2017
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    "I did not enjoy this book in the least"

    One would suppose it would be easy to listen to a book. This book was a bore, the subject matters were not interesting to me, homosexual lovers, spirit and ghost infested mansion, spiritual connection to a tree or forest? I most often read non-fiction stories about nature, about facts and events or theories. I loved Stein's Racing in the Rain and don't think I've read many fictions I've truly enjoyed since that. I read half of How Evan Broke his Head before my dog ate it. I thought I'd try my first audible, and felt like it was cheating a bit to listen instead of read. But I tell you, I would read three books before listening to the last 7 chapters of this book. No good, unless you're interested in the three aforementioned subject matters, I would not pay a dime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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