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Download Beautiful Children: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Beautiful Children: A Novel, by Charles Bock Click for printable size audiobook cover
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (1,351 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charles Bock Narrator: Mark Deakins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9781415946732
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One Saturday night in Las Vegas, twelve-year-old Newell Ewing goes out with a friend and doesn’t come home. In the aftermath of his disappearance, his mother, Lorraine, makes daily pilgrimages to her son’s room and tortures herself with memories. Equally distraught, the boy’s father, Lincoln, finds himself wanting to comfort his wife even as he yearns for solace, a loving touch, any kind of intimacy.

As the Ewings navigate the mystery of what’s become of their son, the circumstances surrounding Newell’s vanishing and other events on that same night reverberate through the lives of seemingly disconnected strangers: a comic book illustrator in town for a weekend of debauchery; a painfully shy and possibly disturbed young artist; a stripper who imagines moments from her life as if they were movie scenes; a bubbly teenage wiccan anarchist; a dangerous and scheming gutter punk; a band of misfit runaways. These “urban nomads,” each with a past to hide and a pain to nurture, weave their way through a neon underworld of sex, drugs, and the spinning wheels of chance.

In this masterly debut novel, Charles Bock captures Las Vegas with unprecedented scope and nuance—heralding the arrival of a major new writer.

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Quotes & Awards

  • One word: bravo. The New York Times Book Review
  • Truly powerful . . . Beautiful Children dazzles its readers on almost every page. . . . [Charles Bock] knows how to tug at your heart, and he knows how to make you laugh out loud, often on the same page, sometimes in the same sentence. Newsweek
  • Exceptional . . . This novel deserves to be read more than once because of the extraordinary importance of its subject matter. The Washington Post Book World
  • Magnificent . . . a hugely ambitious novel that succeeds . . . Beautiful Children manages to feel completely of its moment while remaining unaffected by literary trends. . . . Charles Bock is the real thing. The New Republic
  • A wildly satisfying and disturbing literary journey, led by an author of blazing talent. The Dallas Morning News
  • Wholly original—dirty, fast, and hypnotic. The sentences flicker and skip and whirl. Esquire
  • An anxious, angry, honest first novel filled with compassion and clarity . . . The language has a rhythm wholly its own—at moments it is stunning, near genius. A. M. Homes
  • From start to finish, Bock never stops tantalizing the reader. San Francisco Chronicle
  • Rich and compelling . . . captures the hallucinogenic setting like a fever dream. Los Angeles Times
  • One of the 2008 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jess | 1/25/2014

    " Great writer. Not so in to the story. overrated in my opinion. But i feel like that about all the books that get really hyped up.. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Billy Maise | 1/23/2014

    " It was ok... There wasn't really much of a plot, just a bunch of characters wandering around for a night in Las Vegas, getting into shenanigans. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie | 1/9/2014

    " Supremely fucked up, flawed characters, flawed world, I seem to like these elements. Honestly, I can't really detail what it was about this book that I enjoyed so much, I just did. I actually put it down a couple of times because I wanted it to last. Certain parts read slower than others, but that always happens when there are like 6 main characters being expressed in a book. Well, unless the author sucks at creating their characters with different voices. Anyway, not for the easily disturbed, this book is overtly about a 12 year old boy that goes missing, and covertly about the underground of Las Vegas. Underground meaning the hidden culture beyond all the flashy lights and tourist traps. It reads a bit like a mystery, which is not my type of book. But I found myself pretty curious to know how it was going to end. And honestly, the end itself was a bit anticlimactic, but I found it satisfying so that's all that matters to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrew | 1/5/2014

    " Meandering tale of the lost lives of runaways in Las Vegas. How it effects the families and those on the road. Intersecting story lines, some better than others. Longish. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 John Porter | 1/5/2014

    " A mess, and not in a good way. I guess if you think Las Vegas is interesting, the sloppiness and sprawl won't bother you as much. I don't, and it did. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather Funk | 12/28/2013

    " About 50 pages of this book, scattered throughout, are compelling and well-executed. The rest reads like a high school Quentin Tarantino fan wrote it, and it's not made clear until the very end that it's sort of supposed to sound like that. This was a second reading-- I guess I forgot about all the stilted, showy prose and sensationalistic graphic sex that walks a truly uncomfortable line between undergraduate-level third-wave feminism and the pure nasty musk of misogyny. Points, though, for ambition and the glittery cover. A previous reviewer couldn't help but mention that Bock "looks like a d-bag"-- I know, separate the artist from the art et cetera but the cover photo does not help. Do you really hate us badly enough to both leave this flaming bag of book in our literary doorstep AND give us that awful disdainful look, Charles Bock? I will own up to some almost redemptive moments in the end, and to the halfhearted love song that this is to a city that proves itself to be endlessly fascinating. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katherine | 12/27/2013

    " i didnt like the characters so it was hard for me to get into "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Milele | 12/24/2013

    " Disturbing, prominently au-courant, beautifully detailed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Fred | 12/18/2013

    " I didn't get it. I suppose the jumping back and forth in narrative is considered artsy. But very bleak with unappealing characters. Jerry Falwell wrong (again), Vegas should attract First Mover's wrath, not Orlando. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Corinne | 12/5/2013

    " Amazingly depressing, but truly satisfying. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 12/5/2013

    " Moving, creepy, heartbreaking, hopeful. This book stayed with me - I didn't want to read anything else for a week afterwards, which is always a sign of something that got through. "

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

    " I found this book to be incredibly engrossing. There are so many great characters to follow that I think it would make a great book-to-film transition. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara Sueko | 12/4/2013

    " This book earned my respect from the start b/c it's written in a fashion unlike anything I've read before. As it progresses, the structure begins to mimic the content and it's very beautifully and well done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ami | 2/12/2013

    " This should really be a 3.5 star review. I enjoyed reading the book, and some of the characters are going to stick with me for a long time--Cherry, Girl with a Shaved Head, Ponyboy--and others I'm happy to be rid of (Newell, mostly). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Abby Sominski | 11/17/2012

    " I heard mostly good, a little bad about this book before picking it up, I recognize it's merit and appeal but I did not like it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 8/31/2012

    " Well-written, engaging story about interesting characters with moments of greatness. At some point, about mid-way though, it got unnecessarily pornographic which ultimately diminished it for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 8/17/2012

    " The story and concept were interesting, but I found the author's style very hard to follow. The ending was kind of disappointing too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bridget | 6/18/2012

    " Incredibly well-written. The book is very dark and haunting, but I couldn't put it down, even though the topic is sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin | 3/7/2011

    " Great book. Insider look at Las Vegas and being a homeless kid. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jenna | 2/20/2011

    " Now I know why this book was on the sale rack. Snoozer! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Colin | 2/14/2011

    " This book is very raw - excellent narration coupled with horrible, stereotypical dialogue. Too many character threads with poor resolution. I really wanted to like this book, but it just wasn't possible. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cow | 1/23/2011

    " Tried reading this a few times, and gave up. It's just not my cup of tea. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mr. Sidel | 9/16/2010

    " It was big and messy, but I really liked this book. The protagonist was a ADHD adolescent runaway and neither sympathetic or unlikeable, but through his exploits the book deviates into exploration of some darker elements in 21st century America.

    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brodi | 9/1/2010

    " This was disturbing and a real account of events. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Valerie | 8/18/2010

    " Sensational and very disturbing, this novel is set in the Las Vegas subculture of pornography, drugs, and runaway children - not for the faint of heart. Reading this book confirmed what I already knew - I never want to visit Las Vegas! "

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