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Extended Audio Sample Dreamers of the Day: A Novel, by Mary Doria Russell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,463 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary Doria Russell Narrator: Ann Marie Lee Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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“I suppose I ought to warn you at the outset that my present circumstances are puzzling, even to me. Nevertheless, I am sure of this much: My little story has become your history. You won’t really understand your times until you understand mine.”

So begins the account of Agnes Shanklin, the charmingly diffident narrator of Mary Doria Russell’s compelling new novel, Dreamers of the Day. And what is Miss Shanklin’s “little story?” Nothing less than the creation of the modern Middle East at the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference, where Winston Churchill, T. E. Lawrence, and Lady Gertrude Bell met to decide the fate of the Arab world—and of our own.

A forty-year-old schoolteacher from Ohio still reeling from the tragedies of the Great War and the influenza epidemic, Agnes has come into a modest inheritance that allows her to take the trip of a lifetime to Egypt and the Holy Land. Arriving at the Semiramis Hotel just as the Peace Conference convenes, Agnes, with her plainspoken American opinions—and a small, noisy dachshund named Rosie—enters into the company of the historic luminaries who will, in the space of a few days at a hotel in Cairo, invent the nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan.

Neither a pawn nor a participant at the conference, Agnes is ostensibly insignificant, and that makes her a welcome sounding board for Churchill, Lawrence, and Bell. It also makes her unexpectedly attractive to the charismatic German spy Karl Weilbacher. As Agnes observes the tumultuous inner workings of nation-building, she is drawn more and more deeply into geopolitical intrigue and toward a personal awakening.

With prose as graceful and effortless as a seductive float down the Nile, Mary Doria Russell illuminates the long, rich history of the Middle East with a story that brilliantly elucidates today’s headlines. As enlightening as it is entertaining, Dreamers of the Day is a memorable, passionate, gorgeously written novel.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Shapostrozny | 2/19/2014

    " This author who also wrote the Sparrow has a unique style being a former archeologist she combines fact (history) w/fiction. Good book and easy reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kathleen McRae | 2/13/2014

    " I enjoyed this tale of British interference in the middle east.The story is told through a woman's eyes and is set in the early 1920's.It is the creation of the modern middle east at the 1921 Cairo peace conference where far reaching decisions were made.The narrator was interesting in that she was an intelligent woman who grew up feeling out of sync with the world she was born into but was able to gain insight through travel and people she encountered. She became free and better still a free thinker. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kennedy | 2/13/2014

    " Really fun, perfect pitch for most of the book. You learn a lot about the modern middle east without even trying. She's very skilled, very polished, very assured. Very accessible style. I almost gave it 5 stars "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by LD | 2/9/2014

    " I enjoyed the book from the standpoint of learning some interesting history. As with other historical fiction, i.e.,the blend of factual with the fictitious, it made me curious enough to continue my reading pursuits that included biographies of Gertrude Bell and Lawrence of Arabia and a book on the friendship between Churchill and Roosevelt. "

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