The Faraway Nearby

Narrated by: Rebecca Solnit
Length: 7 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (157 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This personal, lyrical narrative about storytelling and empathy from award winner Rebecca Solnit is a fitting companion to her beloved A Field Guide for Getting Lost.

In this exquisitely written new audiobook by the author of A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit explores the ways we make our lives out of stories, and how we are connected by empathy, by narrative, by imagination. In the course of unpacking some of her own stories - of her mother and her decline from memory loss, of a trip to Iceland, of an illness - Solnit revisits fairytales and entertains other stories: about arctic explorers, Che Guevara among the leper colonies, and Mary Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein, about warmth and coldness, pain and kindness, decay and transformation, making art and making self. Woven together, these stories create a map which charts the boundaries and territories of storytelling, reframing who each of us is and how we might tell our story.

©2013 Rebecca Solnit (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about The Faraway Nearby

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Book - Author shouldn't read it

Would you listen to The Faraway Nearby again? Why?

I'd love to, but I don't think I cold listen to the author reading it again.

What other book might you compare The Faraway Nearby to and why?

It's a unique story

What didn’t you like about Rebecca Solnit’s performance?

The author could benefit from working with a vocal coach. The intonation of her voice is monotonous and she speaks through her nose and mouth, so the voice was muddy, nasally, and drone-like. It sounded like she had a cold. All G's were pronounced hard - as in 'talking' became 'talkink'. So many words in the English language end in 'g' - this vocal quirk became distracting and ultimately annoying (or as would be read, "distractink" and "addoyink". I almost stopped listening when she clearly struggled to pronounce the word "numbing".

For such a brilliantly written book, it was surprising and extremely disappointing to listen the the stuffy, noisy and flat reading of of this immensely creative book. What was especially surprising was that these issues could have been remedied with vocal coaching, which should have occurred upon the first trial readings!

7 people found this helpful

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My favorite writer/poet/prose artist!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Faraway Nearby to be better than the print version?

I love hearing this woman's lilting voice as she reads her own written words.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The entire book is beautiful, emotional, insightful, lovely.

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

Her voice. The depth of emotion comes through as her truth, which is an additional dimension to the story. Lovely and visionary.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yep. Twice

Any additional comments?

This woman is amazing. Highly intellectual, yet more than anything, insightful and spiritual. Thank you, Rebecca.

4 people found this helpful

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Voice was so hard to listen to

Some interesting ideas, but I just couldn’t get them to register - the voice was tedious and distracting. Long winded and self-pitying Do not recommend

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Story - Worst Narrator Ever

Would you consider the audio edition of The Faraway Nearby to be better than the print version?

With a different narrator, this could bring this fine book alive, but this narrator is just wretched. Flat and repetitive tone with a pace that disrespects the words and story.
Looked up to see who the narrator is so as to never to get another from her so poor is the performance, she essentially detracts from a great story. Learning that this lame narrator is the author explains much. Such an sad circumstance to have a great story and have allowed the author to make it unlistenable.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Rebecca Solnit?

A professional narrator. Any professional narrator. Maybe even a synthetic voice would have life and variety in the performance

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The first two chapters are unsurpassed in poignant and compelling description of the mother daughter relationship as many of us experienced it. World class writing.

Any additional comments?

Do this author a favor and get a professional narrator who cares about the work and does not force the reader to read this painful audible rendering. She is a skilled writer doing her book no good in narrating it.

3 people found this helpful

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beautiful Solnit, as always

excellent book about the untouchable ideas that mean the most to us. rebecca solnit is a f&$king genius.

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Rebecca, please don't read your own work

I'm so sad, I feel that Rebecca Solnit's writing is brilliant in every sense of the word. I am a sincere fan that has been moved, informed and enlightened by all the published works of hers I've read (and there are many). But.... she is not a narrator. Her monotone, lifeless reading of her own work made it impossible for me to get through the audio version of her book. I since read the written account and loved it. Please, keep writing, just let someone else read it aloud for you.

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A beautiful collection of thoughts

The author does a seamless job weaving these various narrations together. There are stories about aging, death, revolution, religion, just to name a few, and they are brought together beautifully.

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Brilliant and bold and poetic!

A beautiful meditation on the ways that our storied experiences inform our imagination towards socially constructed narratives, the empathetic spaces we cultivate or sever within ourselves, both personally and communally, expanding or diminishing our identities and capacities for loss and meaning... “If the boundaries of the self are defined by what we feel, then those who cannot feel even for themselves shrink within their own boundaries, while those who feel for others are enlarged, and those who feel compassion for all beings must be boundless. They are not separate, not alone, not lonely, not vulnerable in the same way as those of us stranded in the islands of ourselves, but they are vulnerable in other ways. Still, that sense of the dangers in feeling for others is so compelling that many withdraw, and develop elaborate stories to justify withdrawal, and then forget that they have shrunk. Most of us do, in one way or another.” - Rebecca Solnit

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moments of brilliance, passages of depth

But struggled to stay with it and finish, which I did. Apricots will always have more meaning now .... as my mother ages.

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Love Her Essays, But Not This Book

The thing I love about Rebecca Solnit's essays is the way they strive to reach like and unlike minds--and they succeed. They are compassionate and rigorous. I expected this book to feel less self-absorbed than many memoirs. But it did not achieve that expectation. Solnit's voice attributes to this. It's an inward-turning voice, which is fine in places, but not when it maintains this dreaminess even through the more narrative and researched parts of the book. In those places, it just lends to the overall feeling of self absorption. Had I read rather than listened to this book, I might have enjoyed it more. Solnit is a brilliant and important writer. But she is a very poor reader when recording an entire book. She and Audible would have served the book well to hire a professional reader. I honestly can't tell if my two star rating is unfairly low. My guess is, it is. But the book is so poorly read, I have no gauge. I think I will go buy the hard copy and give it a fair chance.