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Extended Audio Sample New Life, No Instructions: A Memoir, by Gail Caldwell Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gail Caldwell Narrator: Gail Caldwell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author of Let’s Take the Long Way Home now gives us a stunning, exquisitely written memoir about a dramatic turning point in her life, which unexpectedly opened up a world of understanding, possibility, and connection. New Life, No Instructions is about the surprising way life can begin again, at any age.

“What do you do when the story changes in midlife? When a tale you have told yourself turns out to be a little untrue, just enough to throw the world off-kilter? It’s like leaving the train at the wrong stop: You are still you, but in a new place, there by accident or grace, and you will need your wits about you to proceed.

“Any change that matters, or takes, begins as immeasurably small. Then it accumulates, moss on stone, and after a few thousand years of not interfering, you have a glen, or a waterfall, or a field of hope where sorrow used to be.

“I suppose all of us consider our loved ones extraordinary; that is one of the elixirs of attachment. But over the months of pain and disrepair of that winter, I felt something that made the grimness tolerable: I felt blessed by the tribe I was part of. Here I was, supposedly solo, and the real truth was that I had a force field of connection surrounding me.

“Most of all I told this story because I wanted to say something about hope and the absence of it, and how we keep going anyway. About second chances, and how they’re sometimes buried amid the dross, even when you’re poised for the downhill grade. The narrative can always turn out to be a different story from what you expected.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • Brimming with insights and wisdom . . . As far as I’m concerned, Caldwell can write about whatever she pleases. . . . Unabashed dispatches from lifelong single women are a fairly recent phenomenon. Caldwell has so much more to teach us. Kate Bolick, The New York Times Book Review
  • Gail Caldwell offers the kind of wisdom and grace you’d wish a friend, sister, or mother might deliver. . . . Fans and new readers alike will find comfort in Caldwell’s voice. The Boston Globe
     
  • Quiet but powerful . . . an absorbing meditation on grief and rebirth in midlife. More
  • Eloquent and uplifting . . . [a story] to inspire you. Good Housekeeping
     
  • Graceful and reflective. USA Today
  • [Caldwell] confronts, with pluck and fortitude, the hurdles that life throws her way. Publishers Weekly
     
  • An uplifting journey . . . This book celebrates finding support where you least expect it. Woman’s Day
     
  • [A] beautifully written memoir. Parade
     
  • [A] thoughtful, wide-eyed view of the world . . . [Caldwell] ably explores the shifts of our hearts. Kirkus Reviews
     
  • Getting old, as they say, is not for sissies, and no one would call Pulitzer Prize–winner Caldwell a wimp. . . . There may not have been a road map for the life-changing trip [she] was about to take, but . . . Caldwell realized she had the power to endure. Booklist
     
  • New Life, No Instructions shows us how a lot of little things . . . add up to something much more significant: a new life, embarked upon and embraced. BookPage
  • New Life, No Instructions is beautifully written, lucid, and wise. We come of age again and again during the course of our lives, and need those who have traveled the path before us to shine a light, to lend a hand. Caldwell’s story is moving and gripping. I found myself feeling that I had indeed been given a valuable set of instructions for how to proceed with eyes and heart wide open. Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion and Slow Motion
  • In Gail Caldwell’s New Life, No Instructions we see a Pultizer Prize winner once again go out and earn the title. It is a meditation on how seemingly faint winds can blow us wildly off course; on how spending time with a beloved animal can benefit our basic humanity; and on what it means to overcome, at middle age, a multitude of blows. It is lyrical and smart and triumphant and you won’t read a more honest memoir in your life. Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and Half a Life
  • “[A] beautifully written memoir.”

    Parade

  • “Eloquent and uplifting…[a story] to inspire you.”

    Good Housekeeping

  • “An uplifting journey…This book celebrates finding support where you least expect it.”

    Woman’s Day

  • “Quiet but powerful…An absorbing meditation on grief and rebirth in midlife.”

    More

  • “Graceful and reflective.”

    USA Today

  • “It’s a rare writer who can transform a commonplace surgery into a launching pad for life’s big questions…[Caldwell’s] status as a never-married woman in her seventh decade, a growing demographic we still know so little about…makes the book not only a pleasure to read, brimming with insights and wisdom, but valuable as well.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Gail Caldwell offers the kind of wisdom and grace you’d wish a friend, sister, or mother might deliver…Fans and new readers alike will find comfort in Caldwell’s voice.”

    Boston Globe

  • "New Life, No Instructions is a memoir about a turning point that at first seems like more than a midlife crisis and then becomes something far more welcome than a catastrophe. An empowering remembrance for all of us changelings.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “Caldwell…again confronts, with pluck and fortitude, the hurdles that life throws her way—in this case, hip surgery while tending to a new pet Samoyed.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Readers will enjoy Caldwell’s thoughtful, wide-eyed view of the world around her and her musings on how we get our bearings in midlife…[Caldwell] ably explores the shifts of our hearts.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Getting old, as they say, is not for sissies, and no one would call Pulitzer Prize–winner Caldwell a wimp…There may not have been a road map for the life-changing trip [she] was about to take, but…Caldwell realized she had the power to endure.”

    Booklist

  • “Gail Caldwell is the ideal narrator for her own memoir, which depends so much on voice and character. She’s from Texas but has long lived in the Northeast, and we hear those histories in her accent. Her voice is a sweet low alto, and that too is the perfect range in which to pitch this story of loss, change, and courage in a single woman at midlife. Caldwell writes beautifully and is a loving friend, sister, and daughter. The structure for the book is provided by a stunning medical event in her life, how it challenges, and how she copes. It sounds painful, and there is plenty of both physical and psychic pain here, but Caldwell is a wonderful companion, full of gratitude and hope.”

    AudioFile

  • New Life, No Instructions is beautifully written, lucid, and wise. We come of age again and again during the course of our lives, and need those who have traveled the path before us to shine a light, to lend a hand. Caldwell’s story is moving and gripping. I found myself feeling that I had indeed been given a valuable set of instructions for how to proceed with eyes and heart wide open.”

    Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion and Slow Motion

  • “In Gail Caldwell’s New Life, No Instructions we see a Pultizer Prize winner once again go out and earn the title. It is a meditation on how seemingly faint winds can blow us wildly off course; on how spending time with a beloved animal can benefit our basic humanity; and on what it means to overcome, at middle age, a multitude of blows. It is lyrical and smart and triumphant and you won’t read a more honest memoir in your life.”

    Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and Half a Life

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