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Speak

A Novel
Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (74 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A thoughtful, poignant novel that explores the creation of artificial intelligence - illuminating the very human need for communication, connection, and understanding.

In a narrative that spans geography and time, from the Atlantic Ocean in the 17th century to a correctional institute in Texas in the near future, and told from the perspectives of five very different characters, Speak considers what it means to be human and what it means to be less than fully alive.

A young Puritan woman travels to the New World with her unwanted new husband. Alan Turing, the renowned mathematician and code breaker, writes letters to his best friend's mother. A Jewish refugee and professor of computer science struggles to reconnect with his increasingly detached wife. An isolated and traumatized young girl exchanges messages with an intelligent software program. A former Silicon Valley wunderkind is imprisoned for creating illegal lifelike dolls.

Each of these characters is attempting to communicate across gaps - to estranged spouses, lost friends, future readers, or a computer program that may or may not understand them. In dazzling and electrifying prose, Louisa Hall explores how the chasm between computer and human - shrinking rapidly with today's technological advances - echoes the gaps that exist between ordinary people. Though each speaks from a distinct place and moment in time, all five characters share the need to express themselves while simultaneously wondering if they will ever be heard or understood.

©2015 Louisa Hall (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

How do we define self awareness, why, for who?

An excellent study of the human condition, or rather, the mystery of selfawareness without full knowledge. Asks why would one restrict this to the human form. From 1660 to 2040, across 7 voices, the question remains unanswered. Thought provoking and lyrically written, a joy and an eye opener.

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This may be one of the most influential books to live onto the future.

This book is a bridge to the hardest truths that lie in the bits of our ever expanding knowledge, and human capacity to evolve into deeper realms of consciousness. What is life? Who are we as face what we can and will be one day?

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Like nothing else

I can't quite explain what it is like to listen to these voices. It really is like nothing I've ever read.
Definitely worth your time.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A model ensemble performamce

Every character was played (and written, of course!) with such finesse. Amazing talent all the way around.

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  • Larry
  • Prairie Village, KS USA
  • 09-06-15

A journey in meaning.

This is a haunting exploration of what it means to have language and to hear and speak it. The lives of the characters captured in blocks of text and passed down and ultimately finding their way beyond our world.
My hat is off to the narrators for giving depth and feeling to this poignant and moving work. It is more diary, or multiple diary, than novel, but it accomplishes its work. You will think deeply on what it means to speak, what it is to hear, and what we are to feel. The voice of Mary is particularly compelling. This Audible production is top drawer.

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Near Perfection

Such a beautiful, beautiful book. A+ prose and characters. This is not a plot heavy book. Each of the characters has a story that ties together with the other stories in some way.

I loved all of the narrators except for Bill Jurney. His voice just didn't suit the character and his reading was a little awkward. However, his parts are few and pretty short, so it wasn't too painful. The rest of the narrators are so good that it's worth getting the audiobook version. I tried to think of one of the others to single out as being the best, but couldn't decide because they're all perfection.