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Extended Audio Sample Among the Ten Thousand Things: A Novel, by Julia Pierpont Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.67 out of 53.67 out of 53.67 out of 53.67 out of 53.67 out of 5 3.67 (3 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julia Pierpont Narrator: Hillary Huber Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Among the Ten Thousand Things is a dazzling first novel, a portrait of an American family on the cusp of irrevocable change, and a startlingly original story of love and time lost.

Jack Shanley is a well-known New York artist, charming and vain, who doesn’t mean to plunge his family into crisis. His wife, Deb, gladly left behind a difficult career as a dancer to raise the two children she adores. In the ensuing years, she has mostly avoided coming face-to-face with the weaknesses of the man she married. But then an anonymously sent package arrives in the mail: a cardboard box containing sheaves of printed emails chronicling Jack’s secret life. The package is addressed to Deb, but it’s delivered into the wrong hands: her children’s.

With this vertiginous opening begins a debut that is by turns funny, wise, and indescribably moving. As the Shanleys spin apart into separate orbits, leaving New York in an attempt to regain their bearings, fifteen-year-old Simon feels the allure of adult freedoms for the first time, while eleven-year-old Kay wanders precariously into a grown-up world she can’t possibly understand. Writing with extraordinary precision, humor, and beauty, Julia Pierpont has crafted a timeless, hugely enjoyable novel about the bonds of family life—their brittleness, and their resilience.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Among the Ten Thousand Things succeeds in being both heartbreaking and funny: It’s a wry, sly look at a privileged New York upbringing and the ultimate loneliness at the heart of it.”

    Mary Gordon, New York Times bestselling author

  • “[A] drama of marital misadventures…Pierpont leaps into the future in two brief sections titled ‘That Year’ and ‘Those That Followed,’ then back into the ongoing crisis, making the details of how this family unravels ever more touching.”


  • “The perennial theme of marital infidelity is given a brisk, insightful, and sophisticated turn in Pierpont’s impressive debut…This novel leaves an indelible portrait of lives blown off course.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “An expertly crafted story of a family in crisis…We hear alternating perspectives from Jack, Deb, Kay, and fifteen-year-old Simon, all of whom are richly drawn and heartbreakingly sympathetic. Verdict: Pierpont wields words like beautiful weapons. This short novel is a treat.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “[A] drama of domestic unravelling…We know how the story ends because Pierpont tells us: a spectacularly melancholy interlude midway through puts an end to any suspense. But suspense is hardly the point; it’s the characters’ rich emotional lives that propel the story forward. Deb and Jack and Simon and Kay could easily have been reduced to types…but in Pierpont’s hands, they’re alive: human, difficult, and deeply lonely…For all the book’s sadness, much of its lingering force comes from Pierpont’s sharp-witted detailing of human absurdity.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Poignant, surprising, and fiercely intelligent, Among the Ten Thousand Things is about the sturdiness and tremendous delicacy of the bonds between parents and children. Don’t miss this powerful debut.”

    Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me

  • “Julia Pierpont’s voice is as indestructible as her characters. Among the Ten Thousand Things brings the news and brings it in technicolor: Here is the real modern family.”

    Darin Strauss, award-winning author of Half a Life

  • “A vicious and enchanting portrait of a fragmenting family that will leave you hungry for whatever Julia Pierpont does next.

    Courtney Maum, author of I Am Having So Much Fun without You

  • “Sharply observed and deeply illuminating, Among the Ten Thousand Things marks the beginning of what is sure to be a brilliant career.”

    Elliott Holt, author of You Are One of Them

  • One of the BBC’s Best Books to Read in July
  • A BookPage Top Pick for July in Debut Fiction
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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