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Download My New American Life: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample My New American Life: A Novel, by Francine Prose 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: Francine Prose Narrator: Ellen Archer Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Lula, a twenty-six-year-old Albanian woman living surreptitiously in New York City on an expiring tourist visa, hopes to make a better life for herself in America. When she lands a job as caretaker to Zeke, a rebellious high school senior in suburban New Jersey, it seems that the security, comfort, and happiness of the American dream may finally be within reach. Her new boss, Mister Stanley, an idealistic college professor turned Wall Street executive, assumes that Lula is a destitute refugee of the Balkan wars. He enlists his childhood friend Don Settebello, a hotshot lawyer who prides himself on defending political underdogs, to straighten out Lula's legal situation. In true American fashion, everyone gets what he wants and feels good about it.

But things take a more sinister turn when Lula's Albanian "brothers" show up in a brand-new black Lexus SUV. Hoodie, Leather Jacket, and the Cute One remind her that all Albanians are family, but what they ask of her is no small favor. Lula's new American life suddenly becomes more complicated as she struggles to find her footing as a stranger in a strange new land. Is it possible that her new American life is not so different from her old Albanian one?

Set in the aftermath of 9/11, My New American Life offers a vivid, darkly humorous, bitingly real portrait of a particular moment in history, when a nation's dreams and ideals gave way to a culture of cynicism, lies, and fear. Beneath its high comic surface, the novel is a more serious consideration of immigration, of what it was like to live through the Bush-Cheney years, and of what it means to be an American.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A tangy mixture of satire and sentiment…Ms. Prose uses her heroine’s outside status to make a lot of funny…observations about the cosseted life of well-to-do Americans.”

    New York Times

  • “Prose spins the many straws of American culture into a golden tale, shimmering with hilarious, if blistering, satire.”

    Washington Post

  • “Prose is dazzling in her sixteenth book of spiky fiction, a fast-flowing, bittersweet, brilliantly satirical immigrant story that subtly embodies the cultural complexity and political horrors of the Balkans and Bush-Cheney America.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “An illuminating and ultimately upbeat look at America’s immigrant situation that all fiction readers will enjoy.”

    Library Journal

  • One of the 2011 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Amara | 2/17/2014

    " This was actually a fascinating story. It shows the United States from the point of view of a modern day immigrant from Albania. EVERYTHING looks different from that point of view. The saints and sinners are in slightly different places. The laws and constitution looks a little different. One quote --and I'm not going to get this exact: "Albania and the United States are two countries on escalators moving in opposite directions but getting close to the same place". Scary, and I'm pretty sure I don't agree with everything, but it was really neat to see through different glasses. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Sarah Pi | 2/16/2014

    " This was an enjoyable and darkly comedic look at America through the eyes of a new immigrant, Lula. Her viewpoint is informed by her Albanian upbringing, and it's interesting to see where her Eastern European sensibilities clash with her new life, and where they hold her in good stead. The characters are not always sympathetic, but they make their own choices based on the situation at hand. My only reservation is that the satirical nature of the book forced some of the situations to come across a bit broadly. Then again, "My New American Life" is clearly another story that Lula tells; like any good storyteller, she knows that it is sometimes necessary to embellish the truth for the sake of story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Nancy | 2/14/2014

    " What I liked about this book was its understanding of Albania, a unique place that I've had the privilege to visit several times. Not sure though that without familiarity with Albanians that this book will resonate with others. A good summer read - wait for the paperback and bring to the beach next year! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Laurie | 1/25/2014

    " The narrator/main character is interesting, honest, and likeable. The story feels real. If, perhaps, too easily satisfied to stay with the surface of things, or just hint at what lies beneath. "

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