The Lost Landscape

A Writer's Coming of Age
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
4 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Written with the raw honesty and poignant insight that were the hallmarks of her acclaimed best seller A Widow's Story, an affecting and observant memoir of growing up from one of our finest and most beloved literary masters.

The Lost Landscape is Joyce Carol Oates' vivid chronicle of her hardscrabble childhood in rural Western New York State. From memories of her relatives to those of a charming bond with a special red hen on her family farm, from her first friendships to her earliest experiences with death, The Lost Landscape is a powerful evocation of the romance of childhood and its indelible influence on the woman and the writer she would become.

In this exceptionally candid, moving, and richly reflective account, Oates explores the world through the eyes of her younger self, an imaginative girl eager to tell stories about the world and the people she meets. While reading Alice in Wonderland changed a young Joyce forever and inspired her to view life as a series of endless adventures, growing up on a farm taught her harsh lessons about sacrifice, hard work, and loss. With searing detail and an acutely perceptive eye, Oates renders her memories and emotions with exquisite precision, transporting us to a forgotten place and time - the lost landscape of her youth, reminding us of the forgotten landscapes of our own earliest lives.

©2015 The Ontario Review, Inc. (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Cassandra Campbell's beautifully expressive performance captures the emotional depth of these loosely interlocked essays.... Using a conversational, almost storytelling, style Campbell creates a welcome intimacy between the listener and Oates's carefully crafted prose." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Lost Landscape

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

Dull

After 8 hours I couldn't make it through the final 3 hours. Throughout, the narrator Cassandra Campbell sounds as if she's just woken up from a nap. And maybe not quite completely awake. As if she is yawning. Her intonation is just too soft, unarticulated. The story itself is rather low key too. An entire chapter told from the point of view of her childhood pet chicken? Not all that amusing. I have read essays by Joyce Carol Oates and found them riveting. Not this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Moving and delicate

The wide range of characters (a chicken, an adorable grandmother, loving parents, an autistic child, a suicidal high-achiever...) is described with the utmost sympathy and kindness. Its fragmentary structure creates sketches rather than a progressive narration. It feels like a collections of short stories with recurrent themes: the struggle to survive in hostile environments, the self-discipline of a life of studying and teaching, friends and family's support... The pace of the narration and the reading is soothing and pleasant. I would recommend this book to those who are attracted by meaningful and colorful anecdotes.

1 person found this helpful