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A Sudden Light: A Novel Audiobook, by Garth Stein Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Garth Stein Narrator: Seth Numrich Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2014 ISBN: 9781442353244
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When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story by the author of the internationally bestselling phenomenon, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

A Sudden Light is a rich, atmospheric work that is at once a multigenerational family saga, a historical novel, a ghost story, and the story of a contemporary family’s struggle to connect with each other. A tribute to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, it reflects Garth Stein’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation, and his rare ability to see the unseen: the universal threads that connect us all. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Take equal parts mystery, lyrical magic, and a healthy dose of natural wonder, add a multigenerational family struggling with the ghosts of the past, literally and figuratively, and you have A Sudden Light—a beautiful, deeply thought-provoking story that is impossible to put down.”

    Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

  • “Wow! I devoured A Sudden Light, a grand, gorgeous, multigenerational epic of the Pacific Northwest. Garth Stein has given us another singular, soulful, and wise narrator for the ages, who tells us a story full of mystery and yearning. I adored this book.”

    Maria Semple, New York Times betselling author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

  • “A haunting family saga.”

    Good Housekeeping

  • “A fiction as well-written as it is creepy.”

    Barnes&, editorial review

  • “Haunting in all the right ways.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Stein transports the reader to Riddle House, a one-hundred-year-old mansion made entirely of wood overlooking Puget Sound…With its single setting and small cast of characters (ghosts not included), the story’s feeling of claustrophobia adds to the tension. Stein dramatizes the various tensions between his characters well.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A Sudden Light is the best of many genres: a ghost story, a love story, historical fiction….a truly killer read…a bold, poignant book about wealth, family ties, and the power—and fallacy—of memory.”


  • “This magnificent and haunting ghost story will pull you into its world and hold you captive, awe you with the enduring power and beauty of nature, and, on every page, fill you with amazement at Stein’s infinite compassion for the human condition…A major achievement by a major American writer.”

    Robert Goolrick, author of A Reliable Wife

  • “Effective ghost stories are always about atmosphere and characters who struggle to uncover secrets that are best left undiscovered. In this one, master storyteller Garth Stein finds a consummate collaborator in talented narrator Seth Numrich…As the story unspools, Numrich’s smooth delivery, caring tone, and perfect pauses allow the growing horror to creep into your psyche. Numrich shines at portraying Trevor’s teenaged angst, especially his longing to understand adult decisions. Goosebumps are guaranteed as Numrich’s performance elevates this tale of twisted terror to heights attained by Poe and Lovecraft. It’s that good.”


  • A BookPage Top Pick for October 2014
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2014
  • An AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year for 2014
  • An October 2014 LibraryReads Pick

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About the Author

Garth Stein is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain, published in thirty-five languages. He is also the author of the novels How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets and Raven Stole the Moon. He lives in Seattle with his family.