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Letting Go Audiobook, by Abe Aamidor Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Abe Aamidor Narrator: Mark Bramhall Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2018 ISBN: 9781538538692
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All deaths are hard to bear. But losing a son is the hardest.

Memory of war always loomed large for Dwight Bogdanovic. After all, his immigrant grandfather volunteered to fight in World War I and his working-class father joined up with the Canadian Army to fight the Nazis early in World War II. Yet it is only when Dwight’s soldier son, Bertrand, is killed under mysterious circumstances in Afghanistan that he really tries to understand why men fight and die.

Dwight Bogdanovic enjoyed a golden childhood in his idealized vision of 1950s America—freely riding his bicycle in the streets, pick-up ball games in the park, and earning pocket money by shoveling snow or raking leaves for neighbors—but coming of age proved difficult for him. After dropping out of college during the height of the Vietnam War and after receiving a medical deferment from the draft he travels the Midwest selling encyclopedias door-to-door to people who don’t want them, then returns to his hometown of Indianapolis. There he lands a series of temp jobs and hooks up with a hippie girlfriend before meeting the good woman who will become his wife. All seems right again until, one by one, all his beloveds succumb to their own fates—disease, old age, and war. Especially his son, especially war. Dwight struggles to overcome the loss of Bertrand and constantly replays letters from him in his head before realizing, with the help of yet another woman in his life, that the greatest challenge is not merely to survive, but to let go.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The narrator of Abe Aamidor’s new novel Letting Go, Dwight Bogdanovic, is deeply nostalgic in his recollections of the ’50s. But he is smart enough to know that being romantic about the past will just lead him in circles. At points in the novel, you wonder if Dwight will have the sense to move on with his life or else just get swallowed in the eddies of his past.

    And this narrative tension, in part, is why the novel is so engaging. Letting Go is also a quick read because of the author’s keen observational skills, which he brings to bear—with both affection and dry humor—on the city of Indianapolis, which might be unfamiliar literary territory for most.

    But this meditation on fathers and sons, on loss, and on the passage of time, should feel familiar to its readers because Dwight Bogdanovic is an authentic literary creation who reflects the struggles that we all have at some point in our lives.”

    Dan Grossman, Arts Editor, NUVO Newsweekly (Indianapolis)

  • “How do you measure a life? Is it simply the sum of events, relationships, decisions? Will it finish too late or too soon, like a book badly written? And who will value the life? In the first chapter of Abe Aamidor’s Letting Go, a bereaved father quotes a friend of Bertrand Russell saying, ‘Your life matters because you did live it.’ But his son Bertrand has died in Afghanistan. Will the father’s life still matter? Reading like a gorgeously written memoir, Letting Go retells the son’s life together with father’s and grandfather’s, through snapshots of people from different worlds, drawn together in America’s melting pot, sent to fight for great causes, and coming home again. Except the father sold encyclopedias and the son didn’t come home. Convincing first-person narration brings to life, and vividly contrasts, teenage days of cycling and the present-day voice of an old man viewing his ‘fitness goal.’ The ‘black blooming smell of soil after heavy rain,’ is contrasted with city streets where ‘buildings have…personalities,’ the regrets of the past with a desire to matter in the present, and the certainties of official voices with the nuanced nature of relationships. Birds are evicted from their trees, tribes from their land, and a man from the life he thought he’d built for himself. Small actions have large consequences, in life and in this novel, like concrete filling the space between wooden blocks to keep an old building standing, or memories tucked in the cracks of a sacred wall. Meanwhile a man, not yet so old, seeks a way forward that’s not so tied after all to the past. Only then can he truly look back and value those memories for what they are, proof that ‘life is for the living.’”

    Sheila Deeth, popular book reviewer and blogger

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About the Author

Abe Aamidor is a former daily newspaper reporter and the author of several books, including Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History. He is also the author of short stories published in the Gettysburg Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. He is a University of Chicago graduate and was born in Memphis, but grew up in Chicago from age seven.

About the Narrator

Mark Bramhall has won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration, more than thirty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has repeatedly been named by AudioFile magazine and Publishers Weekly among their “Best Voices of the Year.” He is also an award-winning actor whose acting credits include off-Broadway, regional, and many Los Angeles venues as well as television, animation, and feature films. He has taught and directed at the American Academy of Dramatic Art.