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A Horse Walks into a Bar Audiobook, by David Grossman Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: David Grossman Narrator: Joe Barrett Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2017 ISBN: 9781681684383
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The award-winning and internationally acclaimed author of the To the End of the Land now gives us a searing short novel about the life of a stand-up comic, as revealed in the course of one evening’s performance. In the dance between comic and audience, with barbs flying back and forth, a deeper story begins to take shape—one that will alter the lives of many of those in attendance.

In a little dive in a small Israeli city, Dov Greenstein, a comedian a bit past his prime, is doing a night of stand-up. In the audience is a district court justice, Avishai Lazar, whom Dov knew as a boy, along with a few others who remember Dov as an awkward, scrawny kid who walked on his hands to confound the neighborhood bullies. Gradually, as it teeters between hilarity and hysteria, Dov’s patter becomes a kind of memoir, taking us back into the terrors of his childhood: we meet his beautiful flower of a mother, a Holocaust survivor in need of constant monitoring, and his punishing father, a striver who had little understanding of his creative son. Finally, recalling his week at a military camp for youth—where Lazar witnessed what would become the central event of Dov’s childhood—Dov describes the indescribable while Lazar wrestles with his own part in the comedian’s story of loss and survival.

Continuing his investigations into how people confront life’s capricious battering, and how art may blossom from it, Grossman delivers a stunning performance in this memorable one-night engagement (jokes in questionable taste included).

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Quotes & Awards

  • “ Joe Barrett transcends genre as he delivers a performance that is at once painful, annoying, revealing, heartbreaking, and completely riveting. Barrett is incredible as Dov’s screaming and self-punishment peel layers from his life, making his routine more autobiographical than comical…From Dov’s childhood acquaintance…to members of the uneasy audience, Barrett makes all the characters compelling. This is beautifully crafted, original, disturbing, and unforgettable listening. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “[A] magnificently comic and sucker-punch-tragic excursion into brilliance.”

    New York Times Book Review (front cover)

  • “A short, shocking masterpiece…in which absurdity and humour are used to probe the darkest corners of the human condition.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “It takes an author of Mr. Grossman’s stature to channel not a failed stand-up but a shockingly effective one…[in this] pitch-black comedy.”

    Economist (London)

  • “Grossman masterfully weaves several complex strands of narrative [and] translator Jessica Cohen turns the performance into fluent, American-style patter.”

    Washington Post

  • “A polemic of unusual power…Grossman has pushed down deep into the wounded heart of a despairing man."

    Irish Times

  • Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Shortlisted for the PEN Translation Prize

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About the Author

David Grossman was born in Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and has been translated into thirty languages. He is the recipient of many prizes, including the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Buxtehuder Bulle in Germany, Rome’s Premio per la Pace e l’Azione Umitaria, the Premio Ischia–International Award for Journalism, Israel’s Emet Prize, and the Albatross Prize given by the Günter Grass Foundation.

About the Narrator

Joe Barrett, an actor and Audie Award and Earphones Award–winning narrator, has appeared both on and off Broadway as well as in hundreds of radio and television commercials.