Download A Working Theory of Love Audiobook

A Working Theory of Love Audiobook, by Scott Hutchins Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Scott Hutchins Narrator: Rob Shapiro Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2012 ISBN: 9781452680415
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (714 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Settled back into the San Francisco singles scene following the implosion of his young marriage just months after the honeymoon, Neill Bassett is going through the motions. His carefully modulated routine, however, is soon disrupted in ways he can't dismiss with his usual nonchalance.

When Neill's father committed suicide ten years ago, he left behind thousands of pages of secret journals, journals that are stunning in their detail, and, it must be said, their complete banality. But their spectacularly quotidian details, were exactly what artificial intelligence company Amiante Systems was looking for, and Neill was able to parlay them into a job, despite a useless degree in business marketing and absolutely no experience in computer science. He has spent the last two years inputting the diaries into what everyone hopes will become the world's first sentient computer. Essentially, he has been giving it language—using his father's words. Alarming to Neill—if not to the other employees of Amiante—the experiment seems to be working. The computer actually appears to be gaining awareness and, most disconcerting of all, has started asking questions about Neill's childhood.

Amid this psychological turmoil, Neill meets Rachel. She was meant to be a one-night stand, but Neill is unexpectedly taken with her and the possibilities she holds. At the same time, he remains preoccupied by unresolved feelings for his ex-wife, who has a talent for appearing at the most unlikely and unfortunate times. When Neill discovers a missing year in the diaries—a year that must hold some secret to his parents' marriage and perhaps even his father's suicide—everything Neill thought he knew about his past comes into question, and every move forward feels impossible to make.

With a lightness of touch that belies pitch-perfect emotional control, Scott Hutchins takes us on an odyssey of love, grief, and reconciliation that shows us how, once we let go of the idea that we're trapped by our own sad histories—our childhoods, our bad decisions, our miscommunications with those we love—we have the chance to truly be free. A Working Theory of Love marks the electrifying debut of a prodigious new talent.
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Quotes & Awards

  • A brainy, bright, laughter-through-tears, can't-stop-[listening]-until-it's-over kind of novel. Fatherless daughters, mother-smothered sons, appealing ex-wives, mouthy high school drop-outs---damn, this book's got something for everyone! Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 2/17/2014

    " 3.5 stars. I liked the philosophical arguments/themes of the book more than any of the particular characters, although there wasn't really anything wrong with them, really. Neill Jr was flawed in a believable way that really rang true. Wish we would have heard from Fred again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie | 2/9/2014

    " Gracefully written, and the 'intelligent computer' which is one of the characters provokes thought about the nature of consciousness...also echoed some of the issues on my mind recently about the functioning of the human brain vs. the computer. And I liked the imperfect narrator know, looking at this, I really liked this book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 2/6/2014

    " I was slightly disappointed by this book. At the beginning, I had such high hopes for it. I loved the characters and the way Hutchins was weaving together all the various plot lines. But towards the end of the book, I became disappointed. I never understood what really drew two of the characters together, and there were some answers to important questions that didn't seem to impact the central character as much as they should have. Still, I'd say this is strong for a first novel and worth the read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lolly | 1/14/2014

    " I don't want to do any damage by reviewing this novel. It was well received by many but it did not pull my attention, I kept coming back to it and then tossing it aside. It may well be my moods lately... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Seth | 1/13/2014

    " Fun plot, decent writing . . . maybe a little shlocky/by-the-numbers-commercial for a Stegner fellow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lyn | 12/26/2013

    " Great premise, nicely written. I loved the main character's naive and charming ideas of love. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Racheal | 12/3/2013

    " I liked this odd story of the son of a man who had committed suicide, and worked on an artificial Intelligence computer who "is" his dad. The ending was just terrible though! It left me wanting a "real" ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 11/13/2013

    " Definitely a fun read if you live in San Francisco. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 10/24/2013

    " A fascinating premise, an intriguing execution. Following the protagonist's angst too closely was annoying, as he was, on close inspection, selfish, entitled and in denial, but ultimately very human. And his angst ended up being satisfyingly thought-provoking in the end. So. Overall success. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amber | 5/14/2013

    " I really wanted to love this novel, but It had too many sub-plots that were underdeveloped and at times predictable. The premise of the novel seemed very cool, as did the author whom I met at a signing, but it just never really came together for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Samantha | 3/3/2013

    " While the characters in this relationship/sci-fi hybrid are somewhat unlikeable, the witty writing and observations about life are great. I wanted to know how the book would end. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ruth | 2/20/2013

    " At first I thought this guy was clever. I soon decided that he was trying too hard and thinking too highly of himself. And the emo crap this character was going through was torturous and droll. Boring. "

About the Narrator

Rob Shapiro is a musician, writer, voice actor, and Earphones Award–winning narrator. He performed several seasons of radio comedy on Minneapolis Public Radio and voiced the titular lion in Leo the Lion. He is a musician and composer with his critically acclaimed band Populuxe. He is also a business consultant and software system designer.