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Download All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well: A Novel Audiobook, by Tod Wodicka Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (492 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tod Wodicka Narrator: Jason Culp Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9780739329153
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Meet Burt Hecker: a mead-drinking, tunic-wearing medieval re-enactor from upstate New York. He prefers oat gruel to French fries because potatoes were unavailable in Europe before 1200 AD; and, at war with the modern world, he enjoys hosting large-scale re-enactments at the Victorian bed and breakfast he calls home.

But Burt has some serious problems. After an incident involving the New York State police and an illegally borrowed car, Burt is forced to join a local music therapy workshop to manage his anger. He gallantly accompanies the group to Germany for a festival celebrating the music of the visionary saint Hildegard von Bingen--but he has no plan to return home. His real destination is Prague: he must find his estranged son Tristan, who, he believes, has lost his way in the Bohemian city.

As we move between past and present, the tragic details of Burt's life are gradually revealed: the recent death of his beloved wife; the circumstances that separate him from his children; his complicated relationship with his mother-in-law. And we begin to understand, with heart-wrenching clarity, Burt's eccentric and poignant devotion to a time other than one's own.

Wildly inventive and mesmerizing, Tod Wodicka's debut is a modern-day Arthurian quest that introduces one of the most winning oddball characters to come along in years.


From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Boy is it fun to read All Shall Be Well. Traveling through Eastern Europe with Burt Hecker is a little like heading south with Charles Portis's Ray Midge of being holed up in the campgrounds with Nabokov's Charles Kinbote--uproarious, wholly odd, wonderfully rendered. Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End
  • "A rare comic novel, beautifully styled and often very moving, which seems funny almost by accident, as if it just happened to discover notes of comedy while it went about sounding the depths of its characters. Wodicka is a superb writer. Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead
  • "An astonishing, beautiful book. It's comic and compassionate, assured in tone and richly poetic . . . unfolding in brilliantly unexpected and entertaining ways. Peter Hobbs, author of The Short Day Dying
  • "Outstanding . . . A vibrant, original, at times hilarious novel . . . A worthy addition to the school of studies in American dysfunction--in heritage, rebellion, the bonds and resentments of family love--reminiscent of Roth or Franzen. New Statesman
  • "Wodicka's wry and subtle prose is a pleasure throughout. The Observer
  • "An assured novel bursting with humor and weighted with sadness. Financial Times
  • "Wonderfully imagined . . . Wodicka has crafted an eccentric tale full of humor and compassion. The Guardian
  • A 2008 Christian Science Monitor Book of the Year for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gesse | 2/18/2014

    " Good. But sad. Very sad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joel | 2/17/2014

    " I like the characters, and I like the book, but it wasn't quite as funny or as moving as I'd hoped. Still, Burt's foibles, flaws, and general freakiness are entertaining. A quick, enjoyable read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 astried | 1/30/2014

    " I always fall for the lousy guys... not necessarily the big bad wolf just those pathetic no good can't help themselves type. maybe because i'd think those are the faults that i can imagine i'd do as well. well, this guy is one of them though he's also funny in a dry sort of way. it's those small comments or opinions he throws out once in a while that makes his sorry story feels entertaining. only, somehow... i'm thinking maybe this book is too short. i was still trying to picture how his n his wife's life together, and i just couldn't. we know he has done unforgivable thing on her dying days to his family, we know how they met, but despite the whole length of the book dedicated to rumination of it, i still feel there's a gap there, i just couldn't imagine it; i can't imagine what kind of person his wife was. i especially didn't get that bit that was being kept a secret by the mother in law, really not working for me in establishing her character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Micah | 1/21/2014

    " Excellent book. Manages to be very funny and sad at the same time with cooky characters who have staying power. No easy feat, great debut. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Catherine Siemann | 1/17/2014

    " I read about this on a list of first novels that had been nominated for . . . something . . . and it sounded charmingly eccentric. Essentially it is, but it runs deeper than that. It centers on a grieving widower in the process of falling apart, but he is a hard-core medieval reenactor, devoted to Hildegard von Bingen and home-brewed mead. Despite this, it manages not to veer into the overly cute, as it too easily might have, and it doesn't because Wodicka makes Bert a very real character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 1/15/2014

    " A nice little book about living in the now. And not. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy | 1/15/2014

    " I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. A lifelong slacker throws himself in to his hobby as a medieval re-enactor, so deeply involved with it that he's barely aware that his wife is dying of cancer. After her death, he sells the family inn and goes to Europe for the 900th birthday celebration of some obscure saint. Too many forced "wacky" characters, too many "madcap" adventures. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marian | 1/8/2014

    " Kind of a disappointment. It was supposed to be funny, or so I gathered, but I could never quite get into it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Johanna | 12/21/2013

    " I had gone into reading this book expecting it to be funny, and there were funny elements to be sure, but overall I found it to be fairly tragic and on many levels. Much, much fodder for discussion with this work, and I look forward to book group. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ted Moisan | 12/18/2013

    " Seemed to stagnate about halfway through after a promising setup. Neat premise, more or less original. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nikki | 11/28/2013

    " Am I the only one panning this book? Sorry, I didn't see the humor at all. I saw pathos and two dysfunctional adults who were part of a larger dysfunctional family. I grabbed it because of the reenactor angle, but ugh. I really can not recommend this book to anyone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charlie Flannelly | 6/13/2013

    " Filled with some of the most unusual, startling descriptions I've ever read. A truly beautiful piece of work. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leo | 6/12/2013

    " Wise, textured and humane but also brilliantly funny. Sometimes made me laugh out load like a gentler Confederacy of Dunces. "This was not the traditional music of the Lemkos people." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marnie | 10/15/2012

    " what an odd little book...at various turns hilarious and tragic, but all the while, a very well-written story full of interesting characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 4/9/2012

    " A rather uneven first novel, with some very high highs, but also odd, unsatisfying turns in the narrative. Any time spent away from the protagonist is wasted. A strange piece of work, occasional very compelling. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dean | 5/6/2011

    " Somewhat dissappointing. It's a good story, but the characters don't really take me anywhere. No resolution, no change, no epiphanies. Just the glimpse of a sad man's life from one point to another. Nothing to write home about, much less write an entire book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Judi | 1/16/2011

    " Ugh! I was not into this book and will not be finishing it. I did not like or identify with any characters and the story was not interesting enough for me to continue. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Poetreehugger | 1/16/2011

    " Interesting story line, but I kept waiting for the main character to become interesting. Instead he remained weird and unlikeable. Good writing style, except for some grammatical errors. Or is "bare witness" supposed to be a play on words? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Glynn | 9/17/2010

    " this hit the spot.

    excellent book for this retired librarian! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 bobby | 8/20/2010

    " Not exactly what I'd call a comic novel. At least, no more comic than any other mopey "literary" book out there. A few sentences caught my eye for their beauty, but overall this was kind of a boring book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charly | 8/19/2010

    " I'm going to marry the author. Srsly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marjie | 8/6/2010

    " More tragic than comic; not as much closure as I would have liked. However, the spectacle of a drunken, 60+ year old medieval re-enactor was engaging. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 7/15/2010

    " I really enjoyed this one so it's a solid three stars. While this first novel has moments of overreaching the story really has heart and is often funny. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 4/6/2010

    " Filled with some of the most unusual, startling descriptions I've ever read. A truly beautiful piece of work. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kama | 2/22/2010

    " Ugh, couldn't finish. Depressing AND boring. "

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About the Narrator

Jason Culp, winner of three AudioFile Earphones Awards, has been acting since the age of ten, and his credits include a variety of television, theater, and film roles. He is best known for his role as Julian Gerome on General Hospital. In addition to audiobooks and voice-over work in national commercials, he has also narrated documentaries for National Geographic and the History Channel.