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Extended Audio Sample Foreign Bodies, by Cynthia Ozick Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00250941028858 out of 53.00250941028858 out of 53.00250941028858 out of 53.00250941028858 out of 53.00250941028858 out of 5 3.00 (797 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Cynthia Ozick Narrator: Tandy Crony Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Cynthia Ozick is a literary treasure. In her sixth novel, she retraces Henry James’ The Ambassadors and delivers a brilliant, utterly new American classic.

At the center of the story is Bea Nightingale, a divorced schoolteacher whose life has been on hold during the many years since her brief marriage. When her estranged, difficult brother asks her to travel to Europe to retrieve a nephew she barely knows, she becomes entangled in the lives of his family. 

Over the course of a few months she travels from New York to Paris to Hollywood, aiding and abetting her nephew and niece while waging a war of letters with her brother—and finally facing her ex-husband to shake off his lingering sneers from decades past. As she inadvertently wreaks havoc in their lives, every one of them is irrevocably changed.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Ozick’s dramatic inquiry into the malignance of betrayal; exile literal and emotional; the many tentacles of anti-Semitism; and the balm and aberrance of artistic obsession is brilliantly nuanced and profoundly disquieting.”


  • “An extraordinary novel, loosely based on The Ambassadors—but Ozick manages to out-James the master himself…This is superb, dazzling fiction. Ozick richly observes and lovingly crafts each character, and every sentence is a tribute to her masterful command of language.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Ozick has achieved another success. Henry James—the master—would not be displeased.”

    Miami Herald

  • “This is vintage Ozick; she is, perhaps, our most classical contemporary novelist, with a strong sense of literary heritage.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “What makes this novel such an absorbing achievement is not so much its slanted replications of the story line of The Ambassadors…but the witty, fierce way in which it goes about upending the whole theme and meaning and stylistic manner of its revered precurser…Foreign Bodies is a nimble, entertaining literary homage, but it is also, chillingly, what James would have called ‘the real thing.’”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Raucous, funny, ferocious, and tragic. A literary master, as James was, Ozick makes all those qualities fit together seamlessly, and with heartbreaking effect.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • An Indie Next Notable Title, November 2010
  • One of the 2012 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction
  • Shortlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Kc | 2/18/2014

    " The one thing this book did for me was make me want to read Henry James' The Ambassadors. Otherwise I found it kind of tedious. The main character keeps making these absurd decisions that deeply affect the people around her. The people around her have interesting moments but I couldn't find them very sympathetic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Shelley | 2/16/2014

    " Beautifully written book, like poetry. What a writer! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Tish | 2/16/2014

    " This book had a familiar ring to it when I began reading it... but I soon found out that is was a variation of Henry James "The Ambassadors" "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Jamie | 2/15/2014

    " Every single character is extremely annoying. "

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About the Author
Author Cynthia Ozick

Cynthia Ozick is the author of numerous acclaimed works. She is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International Prize. Her stories have won four O. Henry first prizes.