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The Performance  By  cover art

The Performance

By: Claire Thomas
Narrated by: Edwina Wren,Tamala Shelton,Helen Morse,Sylvie de Crespigny,Melissa Madden Gray,Harvey Zielinski,Lara Robinson
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Publisher's Summary

A novel about three women at turning points in their lives, and the one night that changes everything.

One night, three women go to the theater to see a play. Wildfires are burning in the hills outside, but inside the theater it is time for the performance to take over. 

Margot is a successful, flinty professor on the cusp of retirement, distracted by her fraught relationship with her adult son and her ailing husband. After a traumatic past, Ivy is is now a philanthropist with a seemingly perfect life. Summer is a young drama student, an usher at the theater, and frantically worried for her girlfriend whose parents live in the fire zone. 

While the performance unfolds on stage, so does the compelling trajectory that will bring these three women together, changing them all. Deliciously intimate and yet emotionally wide-ranging, The Performance is a novel that both explores the inner lives of women as it underscores the power of art and memory to transform us.

©2021 Claire Thomas (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“In this novel, the project of living is rendered with compassionate clarity. For the duration of The Performance, we can acknowledge the extent of our overwhelming burden, without looking away." (Chloe Benjamin, The New York Times)

"Engaging and evocative.... Thomas’s imitation of wandering minds is flawless and yet entirely comprehensible. Without drifting into stream of consciousness, she nonetheless reproduces that vast galaxy of thoughts that revolves around the dark matter of anxiety at the center of each life.... I have never been invited into the minds of people sitting through an entire play: It feels oddly intimate." (Ron Charles, The Washington Post)

"An acclaimed Australian writer spins an alluring play within a play, probing the ways we perform for each other, how our best selves are mere costumes we shed before curtain call.” (O, the Oprah magazine, Best Books of March)

What listeners say about The Performance

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This is a very interesting story.

The performance is very good. I felt just like I was sitting in the audience...