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And After the Fire: A Novel Audiobook, by Lauren Belfer Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Lauren Belfer Narrator: Xe Sands, Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2016 ISBN: 9781504718547
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The New York Times bestselling author of A Fierce Radiance and City of Light returns with a new powerful and passionate novel—inspired by historical events—about two women and the mysterious choral masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach that changes both their lives.

In the ruins of Germany in 1945, at the end of World War II, American soldier Henry Sachs takes a souvenir, an old music manuscript, from a seemingly deserted mansion and mistakenly kills the girl who tries to stop him.

In America in 2010, Henry’s niece, Susanna Kessler, struggles to rebuild her life after she experiences a devastating act of violence on the streets of New York City. When Henry dies soon after, she uncovers the long-hidden music manuscript. She becomes determined to discover what it is and to return it to its rightful owner, a journey that will challenge her preconceptions about herself and her family’s history—and also offer her an opportunity to make peace with the past.

In Berlin in 1796, amid the city’s glittering salons where aristocrats and commoners, Christians and Jews, mingle freely despite simmering anti-Semitism, Sara Itzig Levy, a renowned musician, conceals the manuscript of an anti-Jewish cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, an unsettling gift to her from Bach’s son, her teacher. This work and its disturbing message will haunt Sara and her family for generations to come.

Interweaving the stories of Susanna and Sara, and their families, And After the Fire traverses over two hundred years of history, from the eighteenth century through the Holocaust and into today, seamlessly melding past and present, real and imagined. Lauren Belfer’s deeply researched, evocative, and compelling narrative resonates with emotion and immediacy.

Weaving together the stories of Susanna and Sara, Lauren Belfer creates a majestic narrative that spans lifetimes and continents, encompassing both the best and the worst of the human spirit. The cantata’s troubled, riveting journey reveals that the two women have more in common than the score, and what Susanna learns may be what finally allows her to heal and move on.

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Quotes & Awards

  • And After the Fire is an intellectual thriller and a beautiful love story…Sure to establish Belfer as a fearless, provocative writer.”

    Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “Brilliant and mesmerizing…Since reading And After the Fire, I’ve been trumpeting it as the best novel I’ve had the pleasure of reading in years.”

    Elinor Lipman, New York Times bestselling author

  • And After the Fire explores the vexing question of whether art can be simultaneously beautiful and hateful…Belfer’s novel…managed to dazzle while delving into dark places.”

    NPR’s Fresh Air

  • “This remarkable novel spans centuries and continents, touching finally on the Holocaust and serving as a paean to Bach’s music…Absorbing.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Blending the gorgeousness of Bach and the horror of antisemitism over several centuries should make for unsettling contemplation, and readers of Belfer’sknow that the author will be meticulous with both fact and fiction.”

    Library Journal

  • “A remarkably suspenseful story, a literary thriller in the tradition of A. S. Byatt’s Possession.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Library Journal Audio-in-Advance Pick
  • A NPR Pick of First-rate Thrillers for Summer 2016

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About the Author

Lauren Belfer was born in Rochester, New York, and attended Swarthmore College, where she majored in medieval studies. She also has an MFA from Columbia University. Lauren Belfer’s most recent novel, A Fierce Radiance, was named a Washington Post Best Novel and an NPR Best Mystery. Her debut novel, City of Light, was a New York Times bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book. She lives in New York City.

About the Narrators

Xe Sands has more than a decade of experience bringing stories to life through narration, performance, and visual art, including recordings of the Nightwalkers series from Jaquelyn Frank. She has received several honors, including AudioFile Earphones Awards and a coveted Audie Award, and she was named Favorite Debut Romance Narrator of 2011 in the Romance Audiobooks poll.

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and narrator. He has earned more than fifty Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration thirteen times. He was named Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008 and has been named an AudioFile Golden Voice as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London. He is also an actor who has appeared on both stage and television.