• Something That Cannot Die

  • By: Paula McLain
  • Narrated by: Cynthia Nixon
  • Length: 1 hr and 22 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,651 ratings)

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Something That Cannot Die

By: Paula McLain
Narrated by: Cynthia Nixon
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Publisher's summary

A powerful and revealing story about Georgia O’Keeffe, torn between the city that made her and the desert that promises to set her free, written by Paula McLain, the New York Times best-selling author of The Paris Wife and the forthcoming When the Stars Go Dark, and performed by Emmy Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon.

It’s 1929 in New York City. In an apartment high above Lexington Avenue, the painter Georgia O’Keeffe feels stuck. At 42, she should be at the apex of her powers as an artist, and yet something is missing. Her husband - the gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, who helped build her reputation in the art world - has grown needy and insecure, not to mention unfaithful. More than this, her work has lost its fire, and she knows it. The calla lilies and poppies for which she is revered now seem careful, predictable. Feeling desperate and conflicted, Georgia flees to New Mexico in search of something that will ignite her once again. There, she meets an adventurous young woman whose energy and optimism take hold of Georgia and show her a glimpse of what another kind of life - one of her own making - might look like.

Set against the transcendent desert landscapes of New Mexico, and brought to life by a beloved voice and contemporary master of historical fiction, Something That Cannot Die is an intimate portrait of a great artist and the adventures - both physical and spiritual - that moved and changed her.

©2020 Paula McLain (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

Audible Questionnaire with Cynthia Nixon

Paula McLain

About the Creator

Paula McLain was born in Fresno, California in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of various foster homes for the next 14 years. When she aged out of the system, she supported herself by working as a nurse’s aid in a convalescent hospital, a pizza delivery girl, an auto-plant worker, a cocktail waitress—before discovering she could (and very much wanted to) write. She's the author of four novels, including the New York Times best-sellers Circling the Sun and The Paris Wife; a memoir, Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses; and two collections of poetry. Her most recent book is the New York Times best-selling novel Love and Ruin, a fictional account of Martha Gellhorn’s passionate, stormy marriage to Ernest Hemingway in the early 1940s, as told from Gellhorn’s point of view. She lives with her family in Cleveland.

About the Performer

Cynthia Nixon is an Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award winner, who has been acting professionally since the age of 12. A lifelong New Yorker, she has been a longtime activist for better funding for public schools, abortion rights, and LGBTQ equality. In 2018 Nixon ran for Governor of New York State. Her campaign successfully placed issues of racial, economic and gender inequality front and center and received half a million votes, the most votes ever for a Democratic primary challenger in New York or elsewhere.
 She can be currently seen starring in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series Ratched as Gwendolyn Briggs opposite Sarah Paulson. The series tracks Nurse Ratched as she morphs from an average nurse into the monstrous authority figure she became in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. As of November 1st, 50 million people have watched Ratched, making it the streamer’s best new original launch of the year. Nixon is in production on HBO's The Gilded Age, a series created by Downtown Abbey's Julian Fellowes, in which she stars opposite Christine Baranski.
 When Broadway resumes, she is looking forward to directing the 40th anniversary production of Last Summer at Bluefish Cove a landmark play about 8 lesbian friends and lovers who take refuge together every summer, to be co-produced by Ellen Degeneres, Portia de Rossi, Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner.
 Nixon has appeared in many films, including Stray Dolls, Sonejuhi Sinha’s celebrated feature debut about undocumented immigrants and the dark side of the American dream, Amadeus, Little Darlings, and Terrence Davies’ A Quiet Passion in which she played reclusive poet Emily Dickinson. Her performance garnered widespread acclaim, including being chosen by The New York Times Magazine as one of the 10 Best Actors of the Year in 2017, with A.O. Scott calling her portrayal"one of the most plausible and powerful depictions of genius ever committed to film." In 2015, she co-starred in Josh Mond's James White opposite Christopher Abbott, a film that won The Best of Next Audience Award at Sundance and earned Nixon an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Nixon is best known as Miranda Hobbes in HBO's celebrated series Sex And The City, a role that garnered her the first of her two Emmy Awards. She then went on to co-star in the two wildly successful Sex And The City films.  In 2009 Nixon was awarded the Best Spoken Word Grammy for her recording of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.
Nixon lives in New York City, with her wife Christine Marinoni. They have three children: Sam, Charlie and Max.

Dear Listener,

What draws me to the story of Georgia O’Keeffe?
"When I was 22 and knew nothing at all about art, a good friend drove me five hours from the small town in Michigan where I was living to see a retrospective of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work at the Chicago Art Institute. I remember looking at an enormous canvas of clouds, flat and cell-like against a lucid blue background, feeling sure no one had ever captured the sky exactly that way, and probably never would again. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by O’Keeffe’s work, and the mystery that surrounded her life. Her independence and staggering originality. The austere, high-priestess expression on her face in photographs. I tried to write a novel about her years ago, even before The Paris Wife was published. I read half a dozen biographies, studied her paintings, and her letters, and wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages, but could never find the right framework. Her life and legend were simply too big to tackle properly, I finally decided, and moved on—regretfully. But when Audible Originals came to me looking for a story, I knew I would try again, and look closer this time—focusing on one transformative summer in the middle of her life, when a chance meeting with an iconoclastic young woman helps her recognize what matters most, what’s hers to claim and can’t—won’t—ever die. It means so much for me to be able to share this story, 30 years in the making! I hope you enjoy! " – Paula McLain, creator of Something That Cannot Die