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The Lessons  By  cover art

The Lessons

By: Naomi Alderman
Narrated by: Jot Davies
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Publisher's Summary

Naomi Alderman's The Lessons reflects the truth that the lessons life teaches often come too late.

Hidden away in an Oxford backstreet is a crumbling Georgian mansion, unknown to any but the few who possess keys to its unassuming front gate. Its owner is the mercurial, charismatic Mark Winters, whose rackety trust-fund upbringing has left him as troubled and unpredictable as he is wildly promiscuous.

Mark gathers around him an impressionable group of students: glamorous Emmanuella, who always has a new boyfriend in tow; Franny and Simon, best friends and occasional lovers; musician Jess, whose calm exterior hides passionate depths. And James, already damaged by Oxford and looking for a group to belong to.

For a time they live in a charmed world of learning and parties and love affairs. But university is no grounding for adult life, and when, years later, tragedy strikes, they are entirely unprepared.

Naomi Alderman grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community in Northwest London. Her first novel, Disobedience, was published in 10 languages and won the Orange Award for New Writers and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year prize. Like her second novel, The Lessons, it was broadcast as Radio 4's Book at Bedtime. She is a frequent radio broadcaster, and she is a regular contributor to several publications, including the Guardian and Prospect. She lives in London.

©2011 Naomi Alderman (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

Critic Reviews

"Sharp, funny and poignant." (Hilary Mantel)
"Funny, tender and insightful." (Maureen Lipman, Guardian)

What listeners say about The Lessons

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Where has this book been hiding?

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

I read about it on an Audie page. The performance is great, I am going to look up books by Jot Davies. And, the writing is top rate. The wording just tickles me, only way to describe it. I find myself in the car, listening and nodding at a great turn of phrase read by the brilliant Jot Davies.

3 people found this helpful

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meh

just didn't care for it. I found it a bit boring and without meaning.

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  • Diana Brighouse
  • 12-14-17

Loved it.

Where does The Lessons rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very highly. It is an example of a book that I've enjoyed more as an audio than as a print book. The performance really brought it to life.

What other book might you compare The Lessons to, and why?

There is a range of semi-autobiographical books by contemporary authors, especially Jewish authors, available at the moment.

What about Jot Davies’s performance did you like?

Captured the different voices beautifully.

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

No. I enjoyed absorbing the characters over a period of time.

Any additional comments?

Great book, great performance by narrator.

3 people found this helpful

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  • hfffoman
  • 01-26-22

Intriguing and accurate

This really is an unexpected gem with the bonus of wonderful narration. I often find novels which centre around everyday dialogue, and everyday activities such as eating an drinking, tedious, but this kept me intrigued to the end. Having studied at Oxbridge at roughly this time, I can vouch that the details of the life are meticulously accurate, although I never met anyone super-rich. The audible sample gives a very good indication - if you like that excerpt you will probably like the book and if you don't, you should give it a miss.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica, London
  • 12-29-18

Learning the habits of liberty - the story of a lost soul

This audiobook haunted me in its final chapters. In the beginning, there was a slow and uncomfortable recognition of the archetype that James represents, but it’s in the final chapters, that the lesson becomes vivid. It’s left me a bit breathless, but yet marvelling once again at how brilliant a storyteller Naomi Alderman is.

You might feel wrung out afterwards, it’s a big emotional journey, but oddly, it’s one that many women probably know only too well and I think that’s why it’s a bit unsettling.

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  • RMWK
  • 12-09-18

Fantastic!

I've listened to this book rather compulsively a every opportunity over the last few days. Really loved it. It took me a while to get used to the narrators approach, but I cane to value it tremendously. Ruth Kirk XXXX

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  • Kimmadeleine
  • 11-19-22

Vivid characterisation slow burn

Slow to begin with but it deepened and held my attention. Some fine writing, acute observation and well drawn characters. The narrator is excellent at voices but I wished he would drop the sing song voice for prose - he enunciated every syllable and it became irritating. Overall a well crafted story.

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  • Rachael
  • 08-22-18

incredible, memorable read

Such an articulate and perceptive writer.
A powerful, sad story that takes you all the way into it and explores the depth and complexity of human life, of love, and our vulnerabilities and failings.

1 person found this helpful