The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

A Novel
Narrated by: Jim Dale
Length: 4 hrs and 53 mins
3.8 out of 5 stars (207 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A fantastical novel, a wildly inventive tale—by turns poignant and funny, lusty and wrenching—about love and heartbreak. Edinburgh, 1874: Born with a frozen heart, Jack is nearly dead when his mother abandons him to the care of Dr. Madeleine—witch doctor, midwife, protector of orphans—who saves Jack by placing a cuckoo clock in his chest. It is in her orphanage that Jack grows up, amid tear-filled flasks, eggs containing memories, a man with a musical spine.

As Jack gets older, Dr. Madeleine warns him that his heart is too fragile for strong emotions: he must never, ever fall in love. And, of course, he does: on his 10th birthday and with head-over-heels abandon. The object of his ardor is Miss Acacia—a bespectacled young street performer with a soul-stirring voice. But it’s not only Jack’s heart that’s at risk, it’s his very life—and doubly so when he injures the school bully in a fight for the affections of the beautiful singer. Now begins a wild journey, of escape and pursuit, from Edinburgh to Paris to Miss Acacia’s home in Andalusia, where Jack will finally learn the great joys, and ultimately the greater costs, of owning a fully formed heart.

©2007 Mathias Malzieu; Copyright Fammarion (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“[A]ffords considerable escapist pleasures….Malzieu sketches European landscapes and crafts figurative language with irresistible relish….Calling to mind a host of cultural touchstones, from Pinocchio to The Wizard of Oz, this kaleidoscopic picaresque will enchant many adults and young people alike.” ( Publishers Weekly)
Malzieu's prose is distinctly original, spitting and fizzing with unique similes and striking metaphors, wonderfully translated by Sarah Ardizzone. ( Guardian)
“A phantasmagorical novel." ( Booklist)

What listeners say about The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

Average Customer Ratings
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantasticly Engulfing

From the free first chapter, until the last quiet moments of the end: wonderful. Beautifully written, touching story that is difficult to step away from. Jim Dale's narrative voice creates such well chosen character and depth to an already captivating tale. To say I thoroughly enjoyed this experience doesn't seem enough.. listening to it a second time to soak it in all over again! Why has this author not had more on Audible.com? :)

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Definitely Not For Me

I think what I disliked the most was the countless sexual references written in a childlike tone. Jim Dale is always brilliant,

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

NOT FOR KIDS!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

We watched to movie for this book on netflix and wanted to listen to it too. I have 8 and 11 year old boys... About half way through he starts having dreams and fantasies... and a few chapters later I stopped letting the kids listen to it. It's well written and preformed and overall probably brilliant! But don't let the movie or the title fool you, this is NOT a kids book!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Jim Dale is the only reason to listen

Jim Dale's performance is touching, moving, even wrenching, but his great work is wasted on a story I didn't like at all. I do not enjoy tales of misfortune that end sadly so it's no surprise this one left me cold.

The story meanders oddly and to me pointlessly and in the end leaves the listener feeling empty. I'm sure there are important life morals to be found in this story, but I have no desire to spend even thirty seconds trying to think of them.

Still, I'm glad to have heard Jim Dale's performance so it wasn't a total waste, but only the staunchest Jim Dale fan should spend a nickel on this one.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not what I wanted

This story was almost as disappointing as "Love Never Dies". It sounded like it was going to be an amazing, slightly steampunk story with with goodness from my favorite period. Instead there are references to charles bronson, clingy leopard outfits and four years vanishes from the narration with just a sentence. Well read and accented by music but not the story I'd wanted it to be.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Strange and unusual

I, myself, am strange and unusual. This story is told from Jack's point of view. He falls in love with a girl, and after a fight at school caused by the girls ex, and the steep percussionist from it, is forced to leave town. Jack finds himself with the girl again, but getting people used to his heart which is made from a cuckoo clock is where the real story lies.
Not exactly for children; some of the descriptions have sexual tendencies (I'd say no one under 13 at least), but the story in itself is imaginative and beautiful, with a biting reality ending. People think it's sad, I just think it gives a good lesson.
Jim Dale, as always, makes this book worth listening to.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Little toosticky in the middle

If you could sum up The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart in three words, what would they be?

Interesting, could be better

Would you recommend The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart to your friends? Why or why not?

I would recommended, because it is an interesting story, but the middle part could have been at least 3 chapters shorter as I didn't think it added anything to the story and was little too sickly sweet for my taste.

Have you listened to any of Jim Dale’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

it is hard to listen Jim Dale and not visualise Harry Potter. he is a good performer, may be just too well known for Mr Potter for Mr Dale's good.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 09-20-13

Even the amazing Jim Dale couldn't save it.

Would you try another book from Mathias Malzieu and Sarah Ardizzone (translator) and/or Jim Dale?

Yes, to Jim Dale. No to the author. The book description seemed so interesting and inventive but it just ended up weird and crude.

What do you think your next listen will be?

not sure.

Which character – as performed by Jim Dale – was your favorite?

Jim Dale does amazing with Scottish accents. So it's a treat to listen to him do everyone.

Do you think The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

no, i could barely finish the first one.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Jim Dale rocks!

ugh I didnt care for the story only for it cause I remember our class talking about it in the late 90's . found out Jim Dale read it and had to get it dont care for the story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

It was good, but I wasn't blown away

I struggled to finish the book. This being said I watched the film thay was released on Netflix so maybe o was bored as it followed along to an extent. Although, the book picked up near the end and I found myself extremely engaged in the story. The ending was "untraditonal" and actually very clever. I had been wanting to read this book for 8 years and I finally got around to it. Definitely recommend if you like whimsical characters and that touch of fantasy in a very relatable world.

1 person found this helpful