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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: April 2011 ISBN: 9780062072863
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“Francine Prose is a world-classsatirist who’s also a world-class storyteller.”—Russell Banks
 
Francine Prose captures contemporary America at itsmost hilarious and dreadful in My New American Life, a darkly humorousnovel of mismatched aspirations, Albanian gangsters, and the ever-elusiveAmerican dream. Following her New York Times bestselling novels BlueAngel and A Changed Man, Prose delivers the darkly humorous storyof Lula, a twenty-something Albanian immigrant trying to find stability andcomfort in New York City in the charged aftermath of 9/11. Set at the frontlines of a cultural war between idealism and cynicism, inalienable rights andimplacable Homeland Security measures, My New American Life is a movingand sardonic journey alongside a cast of characters exploring what it means tobe American. Download and start listening now!

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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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate Walker | 1/24/2014

    " Not really believable, and yet not over-the-top enough to be a farce, like Blue Angel, which I loved. It is lively, and I like the author's style, but the subject and plot aren't really holding my interest. Could be a matter of just not relating to the main character, a young Albanian immigrant nanny. I like the brooding divorced Dad. His son is kind of a drip. I don't know. I'll come back to it probably. Still in the binge and purge phase of new Kindle ownership. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristina | 1/18/2014

    " My New American Life is the story of Lula, an Albanian immigrant, trying to make her way in America. After working for several months in a Mexican restaurant, Lula is in danger of losing her tourist visa. She takes a job working for Mr. Stanley, an economics professor turned Wall Street investment banker, as a nanny/baby-sitter/guardian for Zeke, Mr. Stanley's teenage son. Luckily for her, Mr. Stanley (whom she thinks of as "Mister Stanley") is childhood friends with Don Settebello, a powerful immigration lawyer. Don gets her a work visa and is promising to get her a green card. She is bemused by Mister Stanley and Don's enjoyment of hearing about her former Albanian life and they want her to write her memoirs. To make them happy, she re-writes Albanian folk tales and spins them as her own creation, tales she heard from her granny. Just when she is danger of sinking into a dull American suburbia life, a trio of Albanian young men show up, call her "Little Sister," and ask her to hide a gun for them. Thus begins Lula's struggle to keep her quiet American life (which will hopefully lead to a green card) separate from her Albanian roots. Raki, the drink of good-bye and hello, of congratulation and consolation. Lula didn't think of herself as a nationalistic person. Mostly, in her experience, country was like religion, an excuse to hate other people and feel righteous about it. But then there was raki. Raki wasAlbania, it had that special taste. Even Albanians with no sentimental attachment to their home country brightened and got teary-eyed when the talk turned to raki. They got high just hearing the word (206).I liked this book. It took me a little while to really warm up to it, but I enjoyed it. It is very well-written and I liked the political satire. Lula wants to be American, but she wants to be American on her terms. She also tries to be a good person and the type of person Don and Mister Stanley thinks she is, but can't be because they want the immigrant they've heard about in fairy tales, the hardworking, honest, humble, eternally grateful immigrant. Lula is not that. She is hardworking and reasonably honest, but she sees America through the critical eyes of someone who has come from a Communist country in which honesty and good will can get you killed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz Sheridan | 1/16/2014

    " I had already read "Blue Angel" and "Household Saints" by Prose, and this book was pretty enjoyable. Lula, an Albanian woman working as a "nanny" for a high senior and waiting on her US citizenship, finds three Albanian "brothers" who inexplicably show up at her home andask that she stow a gun for them. Interesting ideas about American-ness. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Geni | 1/6/2014

    " The blurb calls this book a satire. I read it at face value, marveling at Lula's brilliance and marveling at some of the illogical plot turns and situations. The commentary on American culture was entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 12/29/2013

    " The ending wasn't well done, but otherwise engaging story from the viewpoint of a 20-something Albanian immigrant nanny. Wry observations about people and America. A great start, not well resolved. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Polly | 12/23/2013

    " Albanians! Gloomy employer! Disaffected teen! Lawyer! It's funny, the characters grab you, and Lula does come out OK in the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ric | 11/27/2013

    " Satirical look at mid-90's America thru the eyes of a nanny from Albania. Reasonably well done, the main character is always interesting, but lack of secondary character development and so little that actually HAPPENS make it less than a must-read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen Hulser | 9/19/2013

    " Energetic, captivating character whose Albanian eyes view the curious folkways of American middle class with wry amusement "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia Wilson | 7/19/2013

    " More humor than I expected and wonderful moments of clarity regarding American culture from an 'outsider's' point of view. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna Bijas | 6/19/2013

    " It's interesting however it seemed like nothing was accomplished. I give it a 3 bc I liked the dynamics of the characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 4/9/2013

    " I found this book very amusing and spot-on with ex-US satire. Loved it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 3/2/2013

    " Got this from the library at the request of my four year old. Enjoying it, although it is a bit modernistically depressing. My daughter has only had me read the first 20 pages to her as yet, but she likes it as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trace | 1/20/2013

    " Started out so strong, however, like the protagonist, seems to lose its way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tiki | 1/11/2013

    " Who would have thought an Albanian protaganist could be so endearing. Interesting to see the u.s. though her eyes. Prose lives up to her name! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Whisky Wells | 12/16/2012

    " Francine Prose resting on her laurels. come on francy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carol Rizzardi | 10/14/2012

    " An Albanian immigrant waitress turned suburban nanny tries to make sense of American life and culture. An enjoyable read, but certainly not "literature." "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tim Lepczyk | 8/10/2012

    " I read to page 64 and wasn't drawn into the writing or the characters. I love Prose's other work, but couldn't keep reading My New American Life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 3/13/2012

    " Very entertaining, not nearly as dark as the basic plot set-up would suggest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 K. A. O'Neil | 8/29/2011

    " There were a few cute or interesting moments, but overall I felt that it wasn't worth the read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb | 5/3/2011

    " Interesting premise but it could have been a better plot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 4/12/2011

    " This is a very nuanced novel that raises questions about the black/white nature of morality. If I ever become a professor, I would definitely teach it in an Ethics class. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/17/2011

    " I could barely bring myself to finish this nonsense. The only reason I brought myself to get to the last page is my desire to include it in my "52 Books" challenge, and didn't feel right about it unless I got to the end.

    Horrible. Poorly edited. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lety | 12/29/2010

    " It was an okay book. Good story-line, a little too predictable for my taste with an anticlimactic attempt at creating some kind of romantic ending. The beginning was the best part for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carol | 12/6/2010

    " Thought the ending was ridiculous. Not worth the time "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie | 9/18/2010

    " This has been done before, and done better.

    Though I love this:

    "Okay. Listen. What did the blind man say the first time he touched a matzoh?"
    Meyer shrugs. He's waiting.
    "Who wrote this shit?" Sol says. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tami | 8/12/2010

    " Ok, this book is already making me late to work - I keep wanting to curl up & read more in the morning. Either I really like it or I'm looking for an excuse not to go to work . . . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jscorse | 7/23/2010

    " Good attempt at a redemption story but not very believable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katilo | 3/18/2010

    " Didn't love it; didn't hate it. I think it could be improved. Some ideas were repetitive while others left undeveloped. As for the romance...eh, could have left that out....too predictable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ariel | 10/13/2009

    " Quality characters and an intriguing plotline: a neo-Nazi visits a brotherhood watch organization to help them help others from becoming prejudiced and bigoted like he was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JoJo | 9/10/2009

    " It was a bit2 wordy @ times for my taste, But
    it was funny & i really did enjoy it. =) "

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