Regular price: $14.17

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

England, 1930s: Christopher Banks has become the country's most celebrated detective, his cases the talk of London society. Yet one unsolved crime has always haunted him: the mysterious disappearance of his parents, in old Shanghai, when he was a small boy.

Moving between London and Shanghai of the inter-war years, When We Were Orphans is a remarkable story of memory, intrigue, and the need to return.

©2000 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2014 Canongate Books in partnership with Faber & Faber Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Nostalgic and alluring!

If you could sum up When We Were Orphans in three words, what would they be?

Nostalgic, journey, contentment.

What did you like best about this story?

The depth in the Narrator. The narrative, shows that he is merely, human. confused, most and sometimes wrong.

What does Michael Maloney bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His use of accents and dialects develops the other characters but mostly his voice as Christopher shows a vulnerability and arrogance, which helps in developing his character.

If you could take any character from When We Were Orphans out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Jenny, the other orphan, who plays a minor yet vital role.

Any additional comments?

This book is a must read or listen. It is exquisitely written. Kazou Ishiguro is becoming one of my favourite authors.

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Aliza Bat-Ami
  • 06-25-16

Beautifully crafted and gripping.

Once again Kazuo Ishiguro unfolds the complex story - a sort of verbal origami. Michael Maloney gives a fittingly nuanced reading. The sort of book that I listen to in one go. Very highly recommended.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Marie
  • 12-10-15

Loved it

May not be everyone's cup of tea but I found the psychological characterisation fascinating. Good internal dialogue as opposed to superfluous unnecessary description of periphery characters, places or things, found in so many of today's writers. . Excellent narration. I'm sad to leave the atmosphere created in this novel.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Timbob01
  • 05-02-17

An interesting detailed well written read

I nearly gave up as the initial detail in the first few chapters were quite heavy going. However (similar to Dickens novels) the detail came together and the book then became exciting excellent listening.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Busy of Devon
  • 03-03-16

Hypnotic and alluring

What made the experience of listening to When We Were Orphans the most enjoyable?

The writing and narration are both excellent and give the characters reality. The narration of Uncle Phillip is particularly good and rather chilling - Puffin! It's an evocative story which builds slowly and builds in pace. I enjoyed it immensely and struggled to hold back the tears towards the climax.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Christopher for his genuine innocence. It is possible to see why he is as he is in adulthood from his childhood. His background makes him believable as an adult.Christopher's mother is also a haunting character. What I like about the characters in this book is how well they convey the era and surroundings in which they are set. Ishiguro doesn't need many descriptive passages because his characters paint the scenery for him. It's very well written and very much my type of book and story. The slow speed with which it unravels and gradually gains momentum is both fluid and hypnotic. I enjoyed it immensely and found myself wishing it were much longer as I neared the end.

What aspect of Michael Maloney’s performance might you have changed?

Nothing. He is excellent in all respects and gives just the right levels of depth and intonation.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Caroline Harris
  • 07-28-15

Outstanding in every way.

One of the best books I have ever listened to. So many layers. Moved me to tears.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jen
  • 03-23-15

Ishiguro awesome as ever :)

Great narrator, beautifully poignant story. It will stay with me for a long time!
Ishiguro always captures the essence of 'Britishness' in his stories so effortlessly.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Paul D
  • 08-13-16

But of a yawn of a book

Rather a struggle to finish and had it not been by such a renowned author I suspect I would have give up on it.
My main problem was the inability to empathize with any of the characters. Indeed the main character was not only difficult to like but was also exasperating coming across as having an 84 IQ .
Nope, not for me. Good writing does not always mean a good book

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kevin
  • 06-28-17

Really good book but ...

Any additional comments?

I am still listening to this, and really enjoying it, but 'end of Side 1, 2, 3 ...'?? Come on Audible, get it sorted.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • morril
  • 05-11-17

Lost its way

Would you try another book written by Kazuo Ishiguro or narrated by Michael Maloney?

Yes I would listen to another probably Remains of the Day. I thought this book started well and was intriguing then it seemed to lose its way and get rather silly at times

What will your next listen be?

I haven't decided yet

Have you listened to any of Michael Maloney’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Possibly

Any additional comments?

I found this book rather disappointing

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Pam Reed
  • 09-29-16

enjoyed it

He's a great writer and this was a very good book. struggled to like the nation character though which affected my enjoyment

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Becca
  • 12-29-16

worth a listen.

not as great as NeverLetMeGo but still i engrossing. Really captured childhood naivety
Why doesn't NLMG available on audible? I had to sign up for another service to listen to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-06-17

Well written but story that goes nowhere

Beautiful literary style, but story is bewildering with no meaningful resolution questions left unanswered, so frustrating! Also audiobook is consistently interupted by old fashioned "end side one" notes that must be leftovers from the CD release??