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Extended Audio Sample A Possible Life Audiobook, by Sebastian Faulks Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (923 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sebastian Faulks Narrator: Samuel West, Christian Rodska, Lucy Briers, Sian Thomas, Rupert Degas Publisher: Dreamscape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2012 ISBN: 9781624061684
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In Second World War Poland, a young prisoner closes his eyes and pictures going to bat on a sunlit English cricket ground.

Across the yard of a Victorian poorhouse, a man is too ashamed to acknowledge the son he gave away.

In a nineteenth century French village, an old servant understands, suddenly and with awe, the meaning of the Bible story her master is reading to her.

On a summer evening in the Catskills in 1971, a skinny girl steps out of a Chevy with a guitar and with a song that will send shivers through her listeners’ skulls.

A few years from now, in Italy, a gifted scientist discovers links between time and the human brain and between her lover’s novel and his life.

Throughout the five masterpieces of fiction that make up A Possible Life, exquisitely drawn and unforgettable characters risk their bodies, hearts and minds in pursuit of the manna of human connection. Between soldier and lover, parent and child, servant and master, and artist and muse, important pleasures and pains are born of love, separations and missed opportunities. These interactions, whether successful or not, also affect the long trajectories of characters’ lives.

Provocative and profound, Sebastian Faulks’ dazzling new novel journeys across continents and centuries not only to entertain with superb old-fashioned storytelling but to show that occasions of understanding between humans are the one thing that defines us, and that those moments, however fluid, are the one thing that endures.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Distinctively moving.”

    Washington Post

  • “A rueful, pleasurable work, extremely sharp, with true insights into aging and loss.”

    USA Today

  • “A tightly written, moving and exciting work of fiction that should thrill established readers as well as win new fans. If you think you know Faulks—or even (and especially) if you haven’t enjoyed his previous novels—it’s time to look again.”

    Telegraph

  • “Filled with such bittersweet wisdom as Faulks’ men and women confront the mysteries of self and others. If these unforgettable characters are in fact connected, it is only in the way we are all connected, forced by time and chance to suffer and change, bound by the heart’s baffling needs.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “Each world is drawn with precision, creating widely varied stories that are intensely absorbing…A contemplation of human existence on the individual level. Highly recommended.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “The first story, ‘A Different Man,’ is exceptional, lingering in the listener’s mind well after the story is over (and after the novel, too)…Each part of the novel is read by a different narrator, and each captures the essence of the story well.”

    SoundCommentary.com

  • Selected for the December 2012 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maggi | 2/17/2014

    " I really liked the 5 parts individually, even though (for me) they did not quite tie together. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ruhama Veltfort | 2/10/2014

    " The five parts of this novel range in time from the early 19th century to 2029, and in setting through England, France, Poland, Italy, upstate New York and L.A. The threads that connect them run under the surface in occasionally repeated images (an old car seat on a porch, a farmhouse, a hut in the woods and the birth order of siblings. A young man in the 1970's buys a London flat in a building that was originally the Dickensian workhouse of one of the other "parts." The premise seems to me to be that each of us is just a collection of atoms, living one "possible" life or another - Faulks manages to capture the panorama of human experience, at least in our Western modern historical world. One of the most intriguing "parts" is the story of a young Italian scientist in 2029, living in a post-economic crash world that in many ways seems more like that of a much earlier time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Justine | 2/9/2014

    " Fantastic, a wonderful collection of stories about love and loss. I highly recommend it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meg Daly | 1/28/2014

    " This book is being marketed as a novel, but it reads more like five loosely connected short stories. The two set during or close to WWII are the most lyrical and captivating. The futuristic chapter, which I heard was the heart of the book, seemed opaque and not that we'll written, like a sketch of a full novel itself. I was disappointed overall bc I was expecting to love this book based on what I had heard about it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Scott Hunter | 1/23/2014

    " Couldn't warm to any characters; loved Birdsong. Disappointed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 1/22/2014

    " I really liked reading this book. The fact that it is subtitled "a novel in five parts" was intriguing to me. I love novels that are linked stories, novels such as Olive Kitteredge. This is nothing like Olive. The connections between these stories are embedded in the themes of individual stories themselves. I think the subtle way each of these stories pushes us to think about our own "Possible Lives" is brilliant. I know I'm holding back and I probably need to write a review and label it as containing spoilers, but right now, I just want to say that this is a book worth reading, and then rereading in order to enjoy all of its pleasures. I loved Birdsong, but I actually think that this Faulks novel is even more wonderful. Later I'll talk about what I got from it...the third and fifth story most obviously contained the book's themes, but I wonder if I'll still feel that way on second reading. For my colleagues at Abington Friends--this is a wonderful spring break book. Think about reading while you are basking in the sun. I'll be at the gym rehabbing my knee and then icing it...and reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karlan | 1/19/2014

    " I read only the first 3 parts because the stories were too depressing. We should all be happy that welfare exists today. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynne | 1/15/2014

    " Whilst this was a well written book, I didn't enjoy it as much as all the other Sebastian Faulks I've read. Some of the individual short stories captured my interest more than others, but overall I was a bit disappointed. Sorry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aniesa | 12/3/2013

    " Thoughtful and thoroughly engaging. Loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charlotte | 11/5/2013

    " So much lost - and yet one survives loss, across the ages and generations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fiona Gill | 10/4/2013

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I would call it a book of short stories rather than a novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marilyn | 8/22/2013

    " I only found 3 links between these stories; the madonna, Cheeseman and the workhouse. Just figured out another one. The barn where Jeanne worked is the barn where Geoffrey was captured. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gail Herman | 6/22/2013

    " I enjoyed the five disparate stories told in different voices at different periods in history and in different places. I would really enjoy discussing this novel with anyone who has read it to talk about the common themes and isolation within the stories/novellas. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Merry Campbell | 6/17/2013

    " Really well written and easily kept my attention. While I have a hunch that the stories were connected, I only found a few overlapping themes. I chalk that up to being sleep deprived and reading while kids screamed around me... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Coral | 4/30/2013

    " All five endings are hangers. unsure of how i feel over all. would like to give higher stars but do not enjoy hangers "

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About the Author
Author Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks’ six previous novels include Birdsong (1993), Charlotte Gray (2000), The Girl at the Lion d’Or (1989), and On Green Dolphin Street (2001). He is also the author of a biographical study, The Fatal Englishman (1996). He lives in London, is married, and has two sons and a daughter.

About the Narrators

Samuel West’s theater work includes ENRON, Hamlet for the RSC, and starring opposite his father Timothy in A Number. His TV credits include Cambridge Spies, Any Human Heart, Eternal Law, and Mr. Selfridge, and he has narrated many TV documentaries. Among his films are Hyde Park on Hudson, Van Helsing, Iris, Persuasion, and Howards End. He has also directed ten plays and two operas.

Christian Rodska has worked in theaters all over the United Kingdom and in the West End, and he has recorded hundreds of radio plays and poetry programs. Over the last thirty years he has worked regularly in television, from early programs such as Follyfoot and Doomwatch, to Taggart, Sharpe, and Wycliffe. He has recorded over one hundred audiobooks and has won several awards, including fourteen AudioFile Earphones Awards.

Sian Thomas, actress and Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator, was nominated for a 2003 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for her role in Up for Grabs. She appeared as Amelia Bones in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Rupert Degas can be heard reading numerous audiobooks, including the Saga of Darren Shan series by Darren Shan, and his narrations have won nine AudioFile Earphones Awards. He has also lent his voice to numerous cartoons, including Mr Bean, Robotboy, Bob the Builder and has performed in more than thirty radio productions, including The Gemini Apes, The Glittering Prizes, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.