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Extended Audio Sample A Small Indiscretion: A Novel Audiobook, by Jan Ellison Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jan Ellison Narrator: Kathe Mazur Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2015 ISBN: 9780553399783
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A Small Indiscretion fixes an unflinching eye on the power of desire and the danger of obsession as it unfolds the story of one woman’s reckoning with a youthful mistake.

As a young woman, Annie Black trades a bleak future in a washed-out suburb of Los Angeles for a London winter of drinking to oblivion, yearning for deliverance, and looking for love in all the wrong places. Some two decades later, she is married to a good man, has settled in San Francisco with a son and two daughters, and has a successful career designing artistic interior lights. One June morning, a photograph arrives in her mailbox, igniting an old longing and setting off a chain of events that rocks the foundations of her marriage and threatens to overturn her family’s hard-won happiness.

The novel moves back and forth across time between San Francisco in the present and that distant winter in Europe. The two worlds converge and explode when the adult Annie returns to London seeking answers, her indiscretions come to light, and the phone rings with shocking news about her son. Now Annie must fight to save her family by piecing together the mystery of her past—the fateful collision of liberation, abandon, and sexual desire that drew an invisible map of her future.

A Small Indiscretion is a riveting debut novel about a woman’s search for understanding and forgiveness, a taut exploration of a modern marriage, and of love—the kind that destroys and the kind that redeems.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Part psychological thriller, part character study . . . I peeled back the pages of this book as fast as I could. The Huffington Post

  • Astonishing . . . This voice is alive. It knows something. It will take us somewhere. The magic is accomplished so fast, so subtly, that most readers hardly notice. . . . A Small Indiscretion is rich with suspense. . . . Delectable elements of this terrific first novel abound: Its characters are round and real. . . . Ellison gives us an achingly physical sense of family life. . . . Lovely writing guides us through, driven by a quiet generosity. . . . This voice knows something, and by the end of the novel, so do we. San Francisco Chronicle (Book Club pick)
  • [Jan] Ellison is a tantalizing storyteller, dropping delicious hints of foreshadowing and shifting back and forth in time, . . . moving her story forward with cinematic verve. . . . [She] masterfully captures the confusing and powerful moment when a young woman realizes her effect on men. Compellingly sympathetic characters bring the London chapter of Annie’s story to dramatic life. If you are clinging to a stash of letters and ticket stubs from old lovers, Indiscretion may have you rethinking the cost of holding on to the past rather than basking in the virtues of the present. USA Today
  • A novel to tear through on a plane ride or on the beach . . . I was drawn into a web of secrets, a world of unrequited love and youthful mistakes that feel heightened and more romantic on the cold winter streets of London, Paris, and Ireland. Bustle
  • Annie Black is a flawed heroine whose impulses we may distrust, but whose voice is compelling, drawing us in with her ruminating self-awareness and lively observations of those around her. . . . Ellison renders the California landscape with stunning clarity. . . . She writes gracefully, with moments of startling insight. . . . Her first novel is an emotional thriller, skillfully plotted in taut, visual scenes. The stakes are high from the start. . . . As Ellison pulls the thread that unravels the past, she weaves a rich tapestry of memory and desire, secrets and omissions, and exposes the knotted wages of love. . . . A Small Indiscretion resolves in an astonishing plot twist that offers both destruction and self-discovery. The Rumpus
  • To read A Small Indiscretion is to eat fudge before dinner: slightly decadent behavior, highly caloric, and extremely satisfying. . . . An emotional detective story that . . . mirrors real life in ways that surprise and inspire. New York Journal of Books
  • If you liked Gone Girl for its suspenseful look inside the psychology of a bad marriage, try A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison. . . . It touches many of the same nerves. StyleCaster
     
  • A great book club selection . . . both suspenseful and literary . . . [with] topics like love, obsession, betrayal, forgiveness, marriage, and second chances that make it interesting to dissect. Booking Mama
  • How Ellison interweaves the mystery involving Annie’s younger life in London, events in the recent past and those of the present is astounding. . . . It is so compelling you will want to read more after the book ends. Jan Ellison is here to stay. The Free Lance-Star
  • Jan Ellison has created a patchwork quilt–like story about a family in turmoil. . . . [An] exploration of love in its many forms . . . an engrossing novel. Kansas City Literature Examiner 
  • In Jan Ellison’s terrific debut novel, youthful sexual antics produce an ‘astonishing’ fallout decades later, said Joan Frank in the San Francisco Chronicle. . . . As we read on, the story ‘morphs—flavorfully, artfully—into a sexual whodunit.’ The Week
  • An emotional thriller . . . Connoisseurs of domestic suspense will finish this book in a few breathless sittings. Kirkus Reviews
  • Hard to put down . . . O. Henry Prize winner Jan Ellison’s debut novel is a puzzle with the outside pieces finished. Reading it is like compulsively fitting all those revealing middle pieces together. . . . Skillfully weaving two plots, Ellison unveils the details of each, piece by tantalizing piece. BookPage
  • Are those wild college days ever really behind you? Happily married Annie finds out. Cosmopolitan
  • An impressive fiction debut . . . both a psychological mystery and a study of the divide between desire and duty. San Jose Mercury News
  • [A] cleverly constructed debut . . . a deftly crafted, absorbing novel that peels back the layers of Annie’s character as it reveals the secrets of her past and present. Booklist
  • An engrossing, believable, gracefully written family drama that reveals our past’s bare-knuckle grip on our present. Emma Donoghue, New York Times bestselling author of Room
  • A stunning debut by Jan Ellison . . . Like the photograph that arrives in the mail and sets in motion the plot of this gorgeous novel, A Small Indiscretion reminds us of the intensity of youthful desire and of the fragile nature of a marriage built on secrecy. Ann Packer, New York Times bestselling author of The Dive from Clausen’s Pier
  • A Small Indiscretion is that rare thing—a literary page turner written with great warmth and humanity, which pulls the reader in emotionally without a hint of sentimentality. Alice LaPlante, New York Times bestselling author of Turn of Mind
  • It might be convenient if our mistakes would fade with time rather than hunt us down complete with consequence, but that wouldn’t make for the kind of taut, hypnotic story Jan Ellison tells. The impact of narrator Annie Black’s ‘small’ indiscretion is anything but, and in a brilliantly paced unraveling, Ellison makes vivid the sometimes tragic interplay of choice and fate, lust and love, youth and adulthood—which can bring its own mistakes. Absorbing, chilling, and moving, A Small Indiscretion is the debut of an elegant writer who will be known and admired from the start. Robin Black, author of Life Drawing

  • Delicious, lazy-day reading. Just don’t underestimate the writing. Ellison describes her various love triangles in lavish prose. . . . The real strengths of this novel are the foggy, intimate flashbacks that so perfectly capture the sexual and romantic confusion of a young woman in a foreign land. Leigh Newman, O: The Oprah Magazine (Editor’s Pick)
  • Rich and detailed . . . The plot explodes delightfully, with suspense and a few twists. Using second-person narration and hypnotic prose, Ellison’s debut novel is both juicy and beautifully written. How do I know it’s juicy? A stranger started reading it over my shoulder on the New York City subway, and told me he was sorry that I was turning the pages too quickly. Flavorwire
  • “An engrossing, believable, gracefully written family drama that reveals our past’s bare-knuckle grip on our present.”

    Emma Donoghue, New York Times bestselling author of Room

  • “A stunning debut by Jan Ellison…Like the photograph that arrives in the mail and sets in motion the plot of this gorgeous novel, A Small Indiscretion reminds us of the intensity of youthful desire and of the fragile nature of a marriage built on secrecy.”

    Ann Packer, New York Times bestselling author of The Dive from Clausen’s Pier

  • “Are those wild college days ever really behind you? Happily married Annie finds out.”

    Cosmopolitan

  • “An impressive fiction debut…both a psychological mystery and a study of the divide between desire and duty.”

    San Jose Mercury News

  • “A page-turner.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[A] cleverly constructed debut…a deftly crafted, absorbing novel that peels back the layers of Annie’s character as it reveals the secrets of her past and present.”

    Booklist

  • “Part romance novel, part coming-of-age story, and part family drama, this somber book about a perpetually flawed woman is a challenging and thought-provoking read.”

    Library Journal

  • “An emotional thriller of the Anita Shreve variety, with revelations that continue and relationships that evolve until the final pages…Connoisseurs of domestic suspense will finish this book in a few breathless sittings, then wait eagerly for Ellison’s next trick.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Narrator Kathe Mazur’s soft-spoken voice is well suited to this confessional novel…Listeners are drawn into the story by Mazur’s relaxed, natural delivery, which seems to blur the line between protagonist and narrator, creating an appropriately intimate atmosphere…Mazur’s thoughtful performance enhances this story of family, relationships, and secrets.”

    AudioFile

  • “It might be convenient if our mistakes would fade with time rather than hunt us down complete with consequence, but that wouldn’t make for the kind of taut, hypnotic story Jan Ellison tells.…A Small Indiscretion is the debut of an elegant writer who will be known and admired from the start.”

    Robin Black, author of Life Drawing

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About the Author
Jan Ellison is a graduate of Stanford University and San Francisco State University’s MFA Program. She has published award-winning short fiction, and was the recipient of a 2007 O. Henry Prize for her first story to appear in print. Her work has also been shortlisted for Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize. She lives in Northern California with her husband and their four children. A Small Indiscretion is her first book.
About the Narrator

Kathe Mazur has narrated many audiobooks, winning the prestigious Audie Award for best narration in 2014, being named a finalist for the Audie Award in 2013 and 2015, and winning seven AudioFile Earphones Awards. As an actress, she can be seen as DDA Hobbs on The Closer and in the upcoming Major Crimes. She has worked extensively in film, theater, and television, including appearances on Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, House, Brothers and Sisters, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, ER, Monk, and many others.