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Extended Audio Sample American Music Audiobook, by Jane Mendelsohn Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (263 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jane Mendelsohn Narrator: Carrington MacDuffie Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2010 ISBN: 9781455198634
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This luminous love story centers on Milo, a severely wounded veteran of the Iraq war confined to a rehabilitation hospital, and Honor, his physical therapist. When Honor touches Milo’s destroyed back, mysterious images from the past appear to each of them, puzzling her and shaking him to the core.

As Milo’s treatment progresses, the images begin to weave together in an intricate, mysterious tapestry of stories winding through several generations. There are Joe and Pearl, a husband and wife in the 1930s, whose marriage is tested by Pearl’s bewitching artistic cousin, Vivian; the heartrending story of a woman photographer in the 1960s and the shocking theft of her life’s work; and the story of a man and woman in seventeenth-century Turkey—a eunuch and a sultan’s concubine—whose forbidden love is captured in music. The stories converge in a symphonic crescendo that reveals the far-flung origins of America’s endlessly romantic soul and exposes the source of Honor and Milo’s own love.

A beautiful mystery and a meditation on the powers and limitations of love, American Music is a brilliantly original novel told in Jane Mendelsohn’s distinctive, mesmerizing style.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Jane Mendelsohn uses her third novel, American Music, to quietly redefine the genre…A story told in often dazzling images.”

    New York Times Book Review

  •  “Ultimately, this is a romantic story of romantic stories, full of love and longing, despair and loneliness, and one woman’s connection to all of them.”

    Washington Post

  • “It is an aleph of a novel—a keyhole one looks into and cannot pull away from.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “There are hidden universes within us, Jane Mendelsohn tells us in her strange and bittersweet story about fate and love. How we fit into the rhythm of such places and how we allow our pasts to shape the present, are the intriguing themes of her haunting new book.”

    Miami Herald

  • “If the artist Edward Hopper had been a writer, he might have dreamed up something like the New York–y 1930s sections of Jane Mendelsohn's American Music, a beautiful, bittersweet novel.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “The novel is unpretentious, moving, intelligent, and fresh.”

    Elle

  • “Like Honor and Milo, the reader is eager to find out what happens and how these seemingly unrelated stories connect. This intriguing book will be particularly appealing to readers with vivid imaginations who are open to a more innovative narrative style.”

    Library Journal

  • “An intricate puzzle of haunting, far-reaching, secretly connected love stories…Each milieu is sensuously rendered, while music, especially jazz, serves as the unifying force, and the key to surviving epic desire and loss.” 

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Luminous…[The] relationship between a wounded Iraq War veteran and his physical therapist releases a torrent of memories, dreams, and alternate lives…A magically consoling reminder that beneath the starkest cases of wounding and healing is the music of love lost and found.”

     Kirkus Reviews

  • “MacDuffie’s melodious voice is a fitting conduit for Mendelsohn’s third novel, in which music, particularly jazz, is an overarching theme…her soothing tones and relaxed reading pace draw listeners into these tales of love and woe.”

    Booklist audio review

  • On Oprah’s Summer Reading List for 2010
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ginny Brady | 2/15/2014

    " Interesting presentation of the interweaving of stories that bond all the characters. Voices of the past, present and future connected with the tread of music that influences them all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn Crocker | 2/13/2014

    " Generations of stories-- stretching back hundreds of years to what seems a Turkish myth-- are released as Milo, a hopelessly damaged Iraq veteran undergoes therapeutic bodywork. The stories are perceived by his young therapist, Honor, and the reader in the syncopation and suspensions of swing, as performed by Count Baisie in the '30s: the _American Music_ of the title. Like jazz, the question is, whose stories and where are they leading? Like jazz, at the last shimmering stroke of the cymbals, poignant and rapturous, it seems inevitable. A joy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 2/4/2014

    " This is a beautiful gem of a book! It's one of my top three favorites from my book club this year. A cleverly written novel that intertwines the characters; they appear in each other's stories and so on. You're constantly thinking and putting pieces of the story together all the way through. My favorite kind of writing style! Love is the underlining theme--isn't it always? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen Heuler | 1/31/2014

    " I liked this -- the writing was great, especially for the first half -- but I just couldn't buy the central conceit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gini | 1/30/2014

    " This book is hard to descibe, but I loved it. Two people, a Iraqi war vet and a massage therapist, channel divergent stories from the past when they touch. The stories seem totally unconnected, yet somehow you know they are. A good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nick | 1/30/2014

    " Amazing. Best book I've read in a long time. Moving, haunting, wise, wonderful. So smart and humane about people, makes you feel life is worth living. Read it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha Grace | 1/24/2014

    " I read this right after seeing the movie Inception and I was struck with the similar thread about what the nature of reality is. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberly | 1/19/2014

    " Some books are good, entertaining stories that pass the time. Some books fill your head with exact pictures and terrible longing and pain and places in yourself that are hard to look at. This book is the latter. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mblaineeichin | 1/2/2014

    " I'm sure this is one of those literature novels that English majors will read and write about, but I thought it was silly. Great literature - not. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter Fortune | 12/28/2013

    " Several women are introduced who appear to be unconnected as their chapters alternate, but each chapter drops a hint and eventually you see that they are very closely connected. This a skillfully woven tapestry about family pain and loss. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn | 12/21/2013

    " An American soldier severely wounded in Iraq and his massage therapist who connect in a magical way uncover bits and pieces of stories that all come together in the end. Lots of cymbal-ism. Sad story, lovely writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 pjreads ♫ | 12/17/2013

    " Intriguing but ending is disappointing. "

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

    " This got me started reading Mendelsohn. It is the story of three generations and how decisions of our parents and grandparents affect us. Her style is lyrical; at times, it is better than the story itself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura Reed | 12/12/2013

    " mendelsohn weaves many characters stories,uses memory,flashback,omniscient narrator and an unusual telepathy to catch the reader unaware and surprise us with love for them all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wrdwrrior Lehr | 12/10/2013

    " What an odd little jewel. The writing is exquisite and the interweaving of characters interesting. The author has such a quirky style it was often hard to see where she was going. This is a woman who thinks in pictures and her metaphors are astonishing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristin | 10/30/2013

    " A sad, haunting tapestry of love stories from one of my favorite authors. Can read this in a day -- highly recommended; would love to discuss! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shannon | 9/2/2013

    " An immediate favorite. Will read her blacklist. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judith Federico | 8/27/2013

    " A very different quirky book but beautifully written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellen | 9/10/2012

    " I enjoyed this book. Very lyrical and well written. Simply done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Galadriel | 8/30/2012

    " An intriguing story that is sometimes melancholy and sad, but also with hope; very imaginative and carefully/beautifully written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Brown | 8/27/2012

    " I was surprised by this novel. Really like Jane Mendelsohn's writing style. The reader does have to keep an open mind about how the manner in which the story unfolds. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy Warrick | 6/28/2012

    " Would have given it five stars, but it broke my heart. Beginning was difficult; I didn't get what was happening. But by the end I couoldn't put it down. Expect to suspend some disbelief; expect that not everything will be tidy and clean; but in the end it's an absolutely lovely book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marsha | 4/13/2012

    " A beautifully written imaginative love story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise Psoinos | 7/13/2011

    " Loved it. Ending was bittersweet and I was hoping for more details of the romance, but it was another hauntingly beautiful love story with connections to past lives. My favorite type of story! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 7/8/2011

    " A good book. I enjoyed Mendelsohn's writing style, the intertwined storylines and all the jazz references but the end just didn't resonate with me like the rest of the book had. I would have rated it a 4.5 up until the last 20-30 pages...the end for me was about a 2. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ron | 6/25/2011

    " A bit hard to get into at first, perhaps, but when you accept the story's rhythms, and the way its multiple, overlapping timelines impinge upon the woman at the novel's center, you'll look forward to seeing how everything comes together in the final sections. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 5/23/2011

    " I really loved this book. SO poetic and lyrically written. All of the threads came together beautifully in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn | 5/21/2011

    " An American soldier severely wounded in Iraq and his massage therapist who connect in a magical way uncover bits and pieces of stories that all come together in the end. Lots of cymbal-ism. Sad story, lovely writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shannon | 2/24/2011

    " An immediate favorite. Will read her blacklist. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Angela | 11/23/2010

    " Had great potential. Very confusing, too much jumping around. Not a very satisfying end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judith | 11/16/2010

    " A very different quirky book but beautifully written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 11/15/2010

    " mendelsohn weaves many characters stories,uses memory,flashback,omniscient narrator and an unusual telepathy to catch the reader unaware and surprise us with love for them all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joni | 11/6/2010

    " Highly recommend. Good meld of historical fiction based in the music of America and time periods...interesting writing...not formulaic "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda Hali | 10/31/2010

    " mysterious,psychological, politically topical. with a thread of music and those who love it connecting the characters sort of vaguely related until...no spoilers here!. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wrdwrrior | 10/20/2010

    " What an odd little jewel. The writing is exquisite and the interweaving of characters interesting. The author has such a quirky style it was often hard to see where she was going. This is a woman who thinks in pictures and her metaphors are astonishing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 10/17/2010

    " Really intriguing book, beautiful imagery. The ending felt abrupt in terms of the main characters, but I really liked the closing paragraph. "

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About the Author
Author Jane Mendelsohn

Jane Mendelsohn is a graduate of Yale University. She is the author of two previous novels, including the New York Times bestseller I Was Amelia Earhart. Her articles and reviews have appeared in the Village Voice, Yale Review, London Review of Books, and Guardian. She lives with her husband and two children in New York City.

About the Narrator

Carrington MacDuffie is a voice actor and recording artist who has narrated over two hundred audiobooks, received numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has been a frequent finalist for the Audie Award, including for her original audiobook, Many Things Invisible. Alongside her narration work, she has released a new album of original songs, Only an Angel.