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Publisher's Summary

From Stefan Merrill Block, celebrated literary talent and author of The Story of Forgetting, comes a brilliant, propulsive audiobook about family, the traumas and secrets that test our deepest bonds, and the stories that hold us together.

One warm, West Texas November night, a shy boy named Oliver Loving joins his classmates at Bliss County Day School's annual dance, hoping for a glimpse of the object of his unrequited affections, an enigmatic junior named Rebekkah Sterling. But as the music plays, a troubled young man sneaks in through the school's back door. The dire choices this man makes that evening - and the unspoken story he carries - will tear the town of Bliss, Texas, apart.

Nearly 10 years later, Oliver Loving still lies wordless and paralyzed at Crockett State Assisted Care Facility, the fate of his mind unclear. Orbiting the still point of Oliver's hospital bed is a family transformed: Oliver's mother, Eve, who keeps desperate vigil; Oliver's brother, Charlie, who has fled for New York City only to discover he cannot escape the gravity of his shattered family; Oliver's father, Jed, who tries to erase his memories with bourbon. And then there is Rebekkah Sterling, Oliver's teenage love, who left Texas long ago and still refuses to speak about her own part in that tragic night. When a new medical test promises a key to unlock Oliver's trapped mind, the town's unanswered questions resurface with new urgency, as Oliver's doctors and his family fight for a way for Oliver to finally communicate - and so also to tell the truth of what really happened that fateful night.

A moving meditation on the transformative power of grief and love, a slyly affectionate look at the idiosyncrasies of family, and an emotionally charged pause resister, Oliver Loving is an extraordinarily original audiobook that ventures into the unknowable and returns with the most fundamental truths.

©2018 Stefan Merrill Block (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"The book poses big questions about what constitutes a life worth living." (Publishers Weekly)

"Powerful, ambitious...a beautifully rendered meditation on the nature of forgiveness, mercy, and healing." (Library Journal)

"A breathtaking tale of tragedy and redemption...A triumph." (People magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • JACK
  • RENO, NEVADA, United States
  • 02-05-18

Lives that take a wrong turn

I just kept waiting for the story to take a redeeming turn. But I never really felt it did. All the characters were just too sad and depressing for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • DedeB!
  • Maine, United States
  • 01-24-18

If you wonder how people survive these things.

I thought a book about brain injury would be a good transition after being immersed in a lengthy trilogy. There weren’t any reader reviews for Oliver Loving: A Novel, but the description intrigued me. I was expecting a story about the struggle to reconnect with a once lost son but it was so much deeper than that. If you’ve ever wondered how a family remains so strong, how people manage to keep going when bad things happen to them? Stefan Merrill Black knows that they don’t stay strong, and how they manage to keep going is just barely, and at best, quite poorly. The baggage we carry doesn’t conveniently disappear. This story is about the Loving Family struggles to fill the rolls forced upon them while trying to figure out who they really are. The story’s end is poetry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • GC
  • 01-27-18

Beautiful performance, Poignant family saga

Characters and family dynamics brought to life with stunning poignancy and beauty. Crouch delivers a raw, detailed, emotional performance.

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Good story, but rambling.<br />

If the plot wasn't as good, I would have stopped listening. Block rambles. What could be said in 2 sentences went on for 22. It felt like being pommelled.
As far as the narrator, he repeatedly emphasizes the first syllable in a word which made it melodramatic, and sing songy.
The story is good. I just wanted to get to it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful