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Download As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel, by Elizabeth Poliner Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elizabeth Poliner Narrator: Janet Metzger Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A multigenerational family saga about the long-lasting reverberations of one tragic summer by “a wonderful talent [who] should be read widely” (Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning author)

In 1948, a small stretch of the Woodmont, Connecticut shoreline, affectionately named “Bagel Beach,” has long been a summer destination for Jewish families. Here sisters Ada, Vivie, and Bec assemble at their beloved family cottage, with children in tow and weekend-only husbands who arrive each Friday in time for the Sabbath meal.

During the weekdays, freedom reigns. Ada, the family beauty, relaxes and grows more playful, unimpeded by her rule-driven, religious husband. Vivie, once terribly wronged by her sister, is now the family diplomat and an increasingly inventive chef. Unmarried Bec finds herself forced to choose between the family-centric life she’s always known and a passion-filled life with the married man with whom she’s had a secret years-long affair.

But when a terrible accident occurs on the sisters’ watch, a summer of hope and self-discovery transforms into a lifetime of atonement and loss for members of this close-knit clan. Seen through the eyes of Molly, who was twelve years old when she witnessed the accident, this is the story of a tragedy and its aftermath, of expanding lives painfully collapsed. Can Molly, decades after the event, draw from her aunt Bec’s hard-won wisdom and free herself from the burden that destroyed so many others?

Elizabeth Poliner is a masterful storyteller, a brilliant observer of human nature, and in As Close to Us as Breathing she has created an unforgettable meditation on grief, guilt, and the boundaries of identity and love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Brims with characters who leave an indelible impression on the mind and heart.”

    Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • “If summer, for you, recalls days spent by the seashore, Poliner’s saga…will enthrall you.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “An effective chronicler of that fraught interspace where ancient Jewish custom butts up against the shiny modernity of American life…Poliner also deserves kudos for the warm, particularized light in which she dresses her many characters.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Like the late Harper Lee’s masterpiece, As Cose to Us as Breathing revolves around the events of one summer, is told from the point of view of a pre-adolescent girl, and shows how a single terrible event forever changes her, her family, and her community….Full of characters who are at once typical and original and whose story of faith, guilt, and family is timeless.”


  • “The kind of novel you sink into blissfully. It casts a spell…[Poliner’s] characters seem so real, so multidimensional, so sympathetic…A marvel of artful storytelling.”


  • “An instant classic…Poliner handles the texture of Jewish family life with brilliance, authenticity, and a touch of wistfulness.”

    Jewish Book Council

  • “Poliner depicts each character with sensitivity and insight…Beautifully written, stringently unsentimental, and yet tender in its empathy for the perennial human conflict between service and self.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Janet Metzger masterfully narrates Poliner’s captivating, nuanced story of a tragedy that strikes at the heart of a close-knit Jewish family. Metzger adopts the perfect tone of reflective meditation…Handling the dual challenges of voicing multiple characters and keeping the fragmented time lines distinct, Metzger invites listeners into a sun-soaked world of ocean breezes and populated summer cottages to consider the deep pull that family exerts on our lives. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • An Amazon Editor’s Top Pick for Best Books of March 2016
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2016 Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize Long List Selection
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