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A God in Ruins: A Novel Audiobook, by Kate Atkinson Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Kate Atkinson Narrator: Alex Jennings Publisher: Little, Brown & Company Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2015 ISBN: 9781478932642
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The stunning companion to Kate Atkinson's #1 bestseller Life After Life, "one of the best novels I've read this century" (Gillian Flynn). "He had been reconciled to death during the war and then suddenly the war was over and there was a next day and a next day. Part of him never adjusted to having a future." Kate Atkinson's dazzling Life After Life explored the possibility of infinite chances and the power of choices, following Ursula Todd as she lived through the turbulent events of the last century over and over again. A God in Ruins tells the dramatic story of the 20th Century through Ursula's beloved younger brother Teddy -- would-be poet, heroic pilot, husband, father, and grandfather -- as he navigates the perils and progress of a rapidly changing world. After all that Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge is living in a future he never expected to have. An ingenious and moving exploration of one ordinary man's path through extraordinary times, A God in Ruins proves once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the finest novelists of our age.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Gorgeous, thought provoking…Once again, Atkinson explores the concept of paths not taken versus those that are. Her hero’s journey has its trials…but also joys and deep love. Quiet, humble Teddy is easy to root for. At the end of this tender story (a weeper, by the way), you won’t want to let him go.”

    Good Housekeeping

  • “[A] dazzling novel.”

    People

  • “Atkinson writes the way LeBron dunks or Stephen Hawking theorizes; she can’t help but be brilliant.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Atkinson is a master at the top of her game. A quiet, moving portrait of a guy navigating life’s small pleasures and painful failures.”

    Marie Claire

  • “Only as the book unfolds is each character more fully revealed. Ms. Atkinson’s artistry in making this happen is marvelously delicate and varied.”

    New York Times

  • “Disillusioned by war and haunted by the fact that he survived when so many did not, Teddy tries to reconnect with his poetic nature. Atkinson is an unparalleled storyteller who conveys the repercussions of Teddy’s life choices in dazzling prose.”

    BookPage

  • “As in Life after Life, Atkinson isn’t just telling a story: she’s deconstructing, taking apart the notion of how we believe stories are told. Using narrative tricks that range from the subtlest sleight of hand to direct address, she makes us feel the power of storytelling not as an intellectual conceit, but as a punch in the gut.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Transpose Ambrose Bierce’s ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’ to the skies over Europe in World War II, and you’ll have some idea of the territory in which Atkinson is working…[The novel] quietly, sometimes dolefully looks in on the players as, shell-shocked by a war that has dislocated whole generations and nations, they go about trying to refashion their lives and, of course, regretting things done, not done, and undone…A grown-up, elegant fairy tale, at least of a kind, with a humane vision of people in all their complicated splendor.

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Disillusioned by war and haunted by the fact that he survived when so many did not, Teddy tries to reconnect with his poetic nature. Atkinson is an unparalleled storyteller who conveys the repercussions of Teddy’s life choices in dazzling prose.”

    BookPage

  • “Fortunately for the listener, narrator Alex Jennings is a master. From the opening lines, his impeccable British accent establishes the scene and captures the persona of the main character, Teddy, and the rest of the diverse cast. Jennings’s clear diction and pace advance the action through richly detailed accounts of Teddy’s adventures as a WWII bomber pilot as well as quieter dramas of his daily life and family relationships. Although this work is a companion to Atkinson’s Life after Life, the story is thoroughly enjoyable on its own. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “A must-listen! A God in Ruins gives fiction lovers reason to proclaim that the demise of the novel has been greatly exaggerated…Beautifully written.”

    Library Journal

  • “Atkinson’s masterful followup to her epic Life After Life is honestly breathtaking. It’s difficult to put into words how amazingly she creates character after character—even someone we meet just once!—and fills them with such life…Prepare to feel bereft once it’s over, as we wait for Atkinson to write another masterpiece.”

    RT Book Reviews (4½ stars, Top Pick!)

  • A novel so sublime I would nominate it to represent all books in the Art Olympics. The afterword deserves a literary prize all to itself. It is, as claimed on the sumptuous proof, even better than Life After Life. The Bookseller
  • Only as the book unfolds is each character more fully revealed. Ms. Atkinson's artistry in making this happen is marvelously delicate and varied. Janet Maslin, New York Times
  • If you loved Atkinson's Life After Life, you're in luck. If you're one of the, say, five people who didn't read it: You're still in luck--Atkinson is a master at the top of her game. A quiet, moving portrait of a guy navigating life's small pleasures and painful failures. Marie Claire
  • Gorgeous, thought-provoking...once again, Atkinson explores the concept of paths not taken versus those that are. Her hero's journey has its trials...but also joys and deep love. Quiet, humble Teddy is easy to root for. At the end of this tender story (a weeper, by the way), you won't want to let him go. Good Housekeeping
  • Dazzling. People
  • A sprawling, unapologetically ambitious saga that tells the story of postwar Britain through the microcosm of a single family, and you remember what a big, old-school novel can do. Tom Perotta, New York Times Book Review
  • Atkinson's genre-bending novels have garnered critical praise, but nothing on the order of a Rushdie, or even an Ian McEwan. A God in Ruins should change that. Amy Gentry, The Chicago Tribune
  • Atkinson writes the way LeBron dunks or Stephen Hawking theorizes; she can't help but be brilliant. Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
  • Transcendent. Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
  • A staggeringly gorgeous book, offering through the story of one small, good, imperfect life, the chance to grieve and cherish so many more. Ellis Avery, Boston Globe
  • Nothing short of a masterpiece. Elegantly structured and beautifully told, it recounts the story of Teddy Todd, the brother of the protagonist of Atkinson's 2013 novel, Life After Life, in his attempt to live a 'good, quiet life' in the 20th century. Characteristically perceptive and poignant, like its predecessor it also gives a vivid and often thrilling account of life during the second world war--seen this time from the air rather than the streets of London. Paula Hawkins, Author of The Girl on the Train
  • Ms. Atkinson rises beautifully to the challenge of dramatizing the raids, capturing the virtually suicidal nature of these operations in muscular, unsentimental prose. Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
  • A novel that takes its place in the line of powerful works about young men and war, stretching from Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage to Kevin Powers's The Yellow Birds and Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
  • A sprawling, epic novel...A God in Ruins expresses the ways lives can be seen close up, in seemingly unconnected individual moments, or from a distance, as a series of through-lines. Tasha Robinson, NPR.org
  • ...more subtly postmodern, shifting between past, present, and future in ways both subversive and perfectly organic. Boris Kachka, New York Magazine
  • As finely crafted as Life After Life...Having spun one great novel out of second, third and 50th chances, she's spun another out of the fact that in reality, we get only one. Lev Grossman, Time
  • A God in Ruins bills itself as a companion piece to Life After Life, rather than a sequel. In trying this, Atkinson joins some of the most innovative and impressive authors on both sides of the pond, including Hilary Mantel, Marilynne Robinson, and Jane Smiley, who are busy constructing high-brow trilogies and ambitious spinoffs of their own. Atkinson more than lives up to the challenge and proves herself worthy of her company. Ester Bloom, BarnesandNoble.com
  • A brilliant follow-up. Katy Waldman, Slate
  • A novel for people who love novels. Tom Beer, Newsday
  • Ms. Atkinson's thrumming imagination runs on premium prose, a perfect vehicle for conveying characters to new futures. Susan Balée, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Magnificent...Atkinson fluidly executes these chronological loop-de-loops, leaving a reader to marvel at that most banal of epiphanies--how fast life goes by. Maureen Corrigan, NPR's "Fresh Air"
  • This follow up [to Life After Life] tracks Ursula's brother, Teddy, a favorite son who flies an RAF bomber during the Second World War and remains kind, thoughtful, and patient through a life of quiet sadness...Teddy, unlike his sister, lives only one life, but Atkinson's deft handling of time, as she jumps from boyhood to old age and back, is impressive. The New Yorker
  • An Entertainment Weekly “Must Read” in 2015
  • An NPR Morning Edition Book Club Pick
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A May 2015 LibraryReads Pick
  • A 2015 GoodReads Readers’ Choice Best Historical Fiction Book Award nominee
  • A Telegraph (London) Best Books of 2015
  • A Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015 Selection for Historical Fiction
  • Winner of the 2015 Costa Book Award for Novels
  • A BookPage Best Book of 2015
  • A 2015 Library Journal Best Audiobook
  • Longlisted for the 2016 Walter Scott Prize
  • A Time Magazine Best Book of 2015
  • Longlisted for the Baileys’ Women’s Prize for Fiction
  • A 2015 LibraryReads Favorites of the Favorites selection

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About the Author

Kate Atkinson is a New York Times bestselling author. Her books featuring Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, was named the Whitbread Book of the Year in 1996. Her novel Life after Life was the winner of the Costa Novel Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honors List and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.

About the Narrator

Alex Jennings is an award-winning narrator and actor of stage and screen. He has won more than ten AudioFile Earphones Awards. As an actor, he enjoyed a highly successful run at the Old Vic in Too Clever by Half, for which he won an Olivier Award, the Drama Magazine Award, and the Plays and Players Award for Actor of the Year. He has also won the Olivier Award for Best Actor in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Peer Gynt. Among his numerous television credits are Inspector Alleyn, Hard Times, and Netflix’s award-winning series The Crown.