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Extended Audio Sample Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Audiobook, by Ayelet Waldman
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,107 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ayelet Waldman Narrator: Susan Denaker Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781415931660
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In this moving, wry, and candid novel, widely acclaimed novelist Ayelet Waldman takes us through one woman’s passage through love, loss, and the strange absurdities of modern life.

Emilia Greenleaf believed that she had found her soulmate, the man she was meant to spend her life with. But life seems a lot less rosy when Emilia has to deal with the most neurotic and sheltered five-year-old in New York City: her new stepson William. Now Emilia finds herself trying to flag down taxis with a giant, industrial-strength car seat, looking for perfect, strawberry-flavored, lactose-free cupcakes, receiving corrections on her French pronunciation from her supercilious stepson – and attempting to find balance in a new family that’s both larger, and smaller, than she bargained for. In Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Ayelet Waldman has created a novel rich with humor and truth, perfectly characterizing one woman’s search for answers in a crazily uncertain world.


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Quotes & Awards

  • A romantic, shocking . . . page-turner [that] actually says something new and interesting about women, families and love. The New York Times Book Review
  • Absorbing. . . . Compelling and artfully drawn. . . . The novel is beautifully paced and unfolds seamlessly. The Washington Post
  • A smart and finally affecting portrayal of a woman working her way out of her own grandiose self-image into something like real love. New York
  • The emotions Waldman instills in her protagonist are visceral and convincing. . . . [Emilia’s] always sharp, wickedly funny, opinionated and cheerfully bitter, lending depth and energy to this wise, entertaining book. San Francisco Chronicle

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yaffa Shira | 2/19/2014

    " I really liked the book, and liked it even more as I got close to the end. No unrealistic happy endings, and make-ups. I also thought the title was so apt only after I finished the book. Not that it wasn't that obvious throughout, I just didn't give it much thought until the end. I think Waldman is a good writer. So much of the book takes place in Central Park, and Waldman describes the park itself and the people who frequent it, that it made me so sad that I didn't even take advantage of the park while I lived in Manhattan, and made me want to vow to visit all of it when I go to NY. (Can't make that vow, knowing I can't uphold it) Now, I'd like to read her other books! Her name has absolutely no bearing on her content (this surprised me!) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Monica | 2/10/2014

    " I thought it would be a 3-star book but ultimately decided on 2 because I didn't really like any of the characters. While I certainly don't fault Emelia for wallowing in her misery (I don't I'd be as functional as she if I'd lost a child), she is right: it's not very interesting. Something about it got to me though-- I kept turning the pages. So points for plot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chalida | 1/29/2014

    " Waldman's writing grabs your attention. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ann | 1/27/2014

    " Well written but the main character is a self-centered histrionic drama queen. She lost her baby to SIDS on its second day of life, so of course one feels for her. But this pregnancy is a result of seducing a man married to someone else. The relationships do grow and change in a positive direction, but it was hard for me to like any of the characters much. Otherwise, it's a good book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lis | 1/25/2014

    " An interesting book about relationships and step-children. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jami | 1/18/2014

    " I enjoyed this book as a heartfelt depiction of what grief might feel like as a younger mother. I felt like Amelia's grief experience was easy to relate to, even though I've been fortunate enough to never experience the deep grief she did. Going months without cooking a single meal, always ordering in food, breaking down at the sight of other children- it all seemed believably real. Well written. Totally dysfunctional family, which made it all that more interesting to read. Not a Hollywood kind of story- although it has been made into a movie (The Other Woman) with Natalie Portman, which was a pretty close match to the book's storyline. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darci | 1/16/2014

    " This book... so hard to put down... so well written... until the last 50 pages. But to start at the beginning... this novel is the story of so many things. It's the story of a woman who had an affair and a child and a marriage with a married man. Its the story of a woman dealing with the SIDS death of her daughter. It's the story of what happens when we think life can be perfect and it turns out not to be. This novel is the story of so many things, all of them complicated. But the best part is, it is so well written... until the last 50 pages . By the last few chapters, it felt like the main character Emilia had to wrap up her issues so as to conclude the book in a timely fashion. In doing so, her personality and even her speech shifted significantly, which was a little jarring. Other than that, I loved this book and can't wait to get my hands on another one by this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn Peterson | 1/16/2014

    " This was a well written book, but just a bit slow for me. Now I've got to watch the Natalie Portman movie, The Other Woman, based on this book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lorri | 1/14/2014

    " Fun read, nothing memorable. A nice escape. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alice Mia | 1/7/2014

    " At first I didn't like it, bur slowly the story crawled in my heart and made me love it. Even though I didn't emphatized with the main character in some parts, the emotions were certainly real and very touching :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margo Candela | 12/30/2013

    " I have to admit I skimmed and read ahead so I know what happens even though I was pretty sure I knew from read what I read on the book jacket. Good writing though, very polished chick lit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colleen | 12/27/2013

    " I really enjoyed this. Emilia is a character I just knew, and understood, right from the start. Great character building for all of them. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ayelet | 12/22/2013

    " I only read it because the author's name is Ayelet "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marti | 12/19/2013

    " Due to a rather unsympathetic main character this book is not as good as Waldman's "Daughter's Keeper." Still worth reading. I see Waldman has gone back to nonfiction ("Bad Mommy") but I hope she has not completely given up on fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Val | 8/10/2013

    " A bit like We Need To Talk About Kevin in the sort of can't connect way, but nowhere nearly as dark. Has a somewhat too successful ending but a very engaging read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patricia | 6/4/2013

    " It was sort of slow and I kept waiting for it to get better but it didn't. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 9/25/2012

    " My favorite sort of novel and then the theme of a woman struggling after losing her infant daughter to SIDS. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi Sparta | 6/22/2012

    " Enjoyable reading, another great woman author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth Shields-Szostak | 4/17/2012

    " 1st edition, signed & inscribed by author "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha | 12/25/2011

    " Great book, even though I really disliked the main character -- kept wanting to smack her for how she treated the equally obnoxious child. So, a very good author can weave a compelling story even with characters you don't care for. Hmm. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andie Long | 11/23/2011

    " The blurb on the back read as if would be a humerous book and it was actually quite sad. Also the story got lost between pages of descriptive prose. Not my scene really overall, though enjoyed it in places. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 9/20/2011

    " The discovery of one of my new favorite authors. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 7/5/2011

    " I struggled to get interested in this but am glad I kept with it. Waldman is good at digging deep into a woman's soul and accessing her motives for living the way she does. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamara | 6/22/2011

    " Emotional story of grief and forgiveness and how love sneak up on you and heal. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gayle | 6/11/2011

    " I really liked this book and flew right through it. It's really more of a 3.5 star star. Very good chick lit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mila | 6/11/2011

    " Realistic narrator (I see many critics and readers split on how well they can tolerate her), and the character of William, her stepson, is fantastic. Believable, yet with a fairytale quality. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 6/9/2011

    " The story of a husband and wife, his ex-wife, and his son/her step-son. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 5/25/2011

    " One of my favourite books in 2006/2007. Worth every page. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrea | 5/21/2011

    " The blurb on the back read as if would be a humerous book and it was actually quite sad. Also the story got lost between pages of descriptive prose. Not my scene really overall, though enjoyed it in places. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dana Lynn | 5/4/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. I had seen the movie and then when I saw it was a book it went on my to read list immediately. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 4/23/2011

    " This was a really good read, and not so predictable in some ways, neither of which I expected. Also, I don't remember liking a book with such a seriously flawed protagonist for a long time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heleni | 4/7/2011

    " Great book with amazing characters. You'll fall in love with the protagonist in spite of her egocentric and self-indulgent tendencies. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alison | 4/2/2011

    " The story was pretty depressing and the grammatical errors made my head explode....... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 3/24/2011

    " I think I liked this book even though I spent most of it wanting to smack the tar out of the narrator. That goes to show how well written it was because I ended up not putting it down even though I thought she was an immature, insensitive, and narcissistic. "

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About the Author
Author Ayelet Waldman

Ayelet Waldman is an essayist and author of several books including Red Hook Road, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former criminal defense lawyer. Waldman currently lives in Berkeley, California with her Pulitzer Prize-winning husband Michael Chabon, their four children, and their Bernese mountain dog Fanny.

About the Narrator

Susan Denaker is an actress and Earphones Award–winning narrator. Her extensive theater credits include numerous plays in the West End of London, national tours, many English rep companies, including a season with Alan Ayckbourn’s company in Scarborough. In the US, she has appeared in Our Town and Sweet Bird of Youth at the La Jolla Playhouse and Breaking Legs at the Westport Playhouse.