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Extended Audio Sample Man in the Empty Suit, by Sean Ferrell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (758 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sean Ferrell Narrator: Mauro Hantma Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Say you’re a time traveler and you’ve already toured the entirety of human history. After a while, the outside world might lose a little of its luster. That’s why this time traveler celebrates his birthday partying with himself. Every year, he travels to an abandoned hotel in New York City in 2071, the hundredth anniversary of his birth, and drinks twelve-year-old Scotch (lots of it) with all the other versions of who he has been and who he will be. Sure, the party is the same year after year, but at least it’s one party where he can really, well, be himself. 

The year he turns thirty-nine, though, the party takes a stressful turn for the worse. Before he even makes it into the grand ballroom for a drink he encounters the body of his forty-year-old self, dead of a gunshot wound to the head. As the older versions of himself at the party point out, the onus is on him to figure out what went wrong—he has one year to stop himself from being murdered, or they’re all goners. As he follows clues that he may or may not have willingly left for himself, he discovers rampant paranoia and suspicion among his younger selves, and a frightening conspiracy among the elders. Most complicated of all is a haunting woman possibly named Lily who turns up at the party this year, the first person besides himself he’s ever seen at the party. 

For the first time, he has something to lose. Here’s hoping he can save some version of his own life.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An arresting setup—the same character is simultaneously the murder victim, suspect, and investigator—and Ferrell exploits it carefully…[presenting] the reader with some ugly truths about life and owning up to who we really are. Ferrell himself has jokingly called it the time-travel book of 3102, but I wouldn’t suggest waiting that long.”


  • “Out of this intriguing premise Sean Ferrell proceeds to spin a dark hybrid of Paul Auster and the film Memento, complete with a mysterious love interest…Best of all, however, is the evocation of mid-twenty-first century New York as a melancholy, dilapidated place high in entropy, cluttered with ruined buildings, and weirdly infested with parrots.”

    Toronto Star

  • “Ferrell’s novel satisfies as both a tale of a four-dimensional conspiracy and as a stark meditation on solitude.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “[Man in the Empty Suit has] an ingenious setup…both Looper and Man in the Empty Suit track the trajectory of a pained, lonely man who learns what it means to sacrifice for the sake of another’s well-being.”

    AV Club

  • Man in the Empty Suit has a clever enough premise that it could be straight out of a Philip K. Dick or Kurt Vonnegut novel.”

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • “A genre-bending read that's part noir and part sci-fi…[A] speedy story.”

    Time Out New York

  • “This is trippy book; a great read…Ferrell spins a web of lies, deceit, and self-loathing, sprinkles it with intelligent humor and wit, a dash of love and loss, and presents it to the reader on a silver platter.”


  • “Ferrell has written a brain-teasing, paradox-defying, time travel mystery in the tradition of such pretzel-bending-logic classics as Fritz Leiber’s The Big Time and Robert A. Heinlein’s ‘By His Bootstraps.’”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Full of imagination and head-scratching conundrums…It should definitely appeal to those who enjoy offbeat [sci-fi] and mystery fiction.”


  • “Engaging and thought-provoking…It will also appeal to readers of Stephen King’s 11/22/63.”

    Library Journal

  • “Narrator Mauro Hantman recounts this offbeat, paradoxical saga with convincing, amusing, and disturbing portrayals of the nameless protagonist’s many selves. It’s particularly amusing to hear Hantman’s delivery of his younger and elder selves criticizing each other. The verbal contrast he provides for the protagonist and grumpy, alcoholic Phil, who become friends, is striking. An uncommon plot and unconventional writing make audio the perfect vehicle for sample this oddball adventure—a treat for those who like mind-bending fiction.”


  • “A tour de force. Ferrell’s skill in plotting is matched only by his ability to bring fully formed characters to life. A moving and brilliantly executed puzzle of a novel.”

    Emily St. John Mandel, author of The Lola Quartet

  • “Ferrell’s humor and invention will draw you in, and the real emotion in his writing will keep you reading. A clever premise that deepens into a surprising and moving story about fate, identity, and how we shape our own lives and the lives of those around us.”

    Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

  • “Exceptional…for any sci-fi fan who enjoys a challenge.”

    Maine Edge

  • “Enter a mysterious woman with parrot tattoos, a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, Vonnegut-sharp humor, and Hemingway-spare prose, and you’ve got some seriously good sci-fi.”

    Book Riot

  • Man in the Empty Suit is a rich, complex novel…A slightly sinister, brooding tale of death and lost love.”


  • “Zips along in a smirking way.”

    Entertainment Realm

  • “A cerebral, noirish, and very unusual novel…A challenge for me to put down. This one made me think about it long after I was finished.”

    My Bookish Ways

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Andrew Shaffer | 2/18/2014

    " With "Man in the Empty Suit," Ferrell makes a strong case to be the Kurt Vonnegut of his generation. "Man in the Empty Suit" is alternately funny, sad, and thought-provoking. A serious mindfuck. I wish I could travel back in time and write this book myself. "

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

    " I enjoy time travel books, so this book grabbed my attention. It took me a while to get through. At times I felt it dragged. But, for the most part, a very interesting concept. What did you think of the parrots? I was waiting to 'get' the huge symbolism, but never quite got it?? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Maria | 1/25/2014

    " This book will make your head swim! Imagine being in a room full of versions of yourself from every year of your life. Then one little twist of fate, and you're not sure which of your own selves you can trust!!! If you think of everything you've done in your life...would you trust yourself in all situations? And what would you change if you could? These questions will run through your head as you try to keep all the versions of the main character straight!!! Have fun! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Carl | 1/17/2014

    " The book has one clever idea: every year a time traveler comes to the same hotel at the same time, to have a party with all his younger and older selves. When he is 39 years old he comes, and finds that his 40-year old self has been killed. But after that clever idea the novel goes way down hill. I never knew time travel could be so dull. "

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About the Author

Sean Ferrell’s fiction has appeared in literary journals such as the Adirondack Review and his short story “Building an Elephant” won the Fulton Prize. His debut novel, Numb, was described as “eye catching,” “daring,” and “offbeat.” He lives and works, in no particular order, in New York City.