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Extended Audio Sample Pasadena: A Novel Audiobook, by David Ebershoff Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.39 out of 53.39 out of 53.39 out of 53.39 out of 53.39 out of 5 3.39 (36 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Ebershoff Narrator: Lorna Raver Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455179213
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This sweeping, richly imagined novel charts the rapid transformation of Southern California from frontier to suburb during the first half of the twentieth century. At the story’s center is Linda Stamp, a fisher girl born in 1903 on a coastal farm in San Diego’s North County, and the three men who upend her life and vie for her affection: her pragmatic farming brother, Edmund; Captain Willis Poore, a Pasadena rancher with a heroic military past; and Bruder, the mysterious young man Linda’s father brings home from World War I. Through the darkly handsome Bruder, Linda glimpses love and a world beyond her own. She follows him to the seemingly greener pastures of Pasadena, where he is the foreman of a flourishing orange ranch, the homestead and inheritance of the charming bachelor Willis Poore.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Pasadena is not merely a wondrous novel about California. It is a breathtakingly powerful novel about America. Here is an altogether mesmerizing story of a world forever transformed, as well as one of the most authentic and beautiful love stories I’ve ever read. Pure and simple, this book is a treasure.”

    Chris Bohjalian, New York Times bestselling author of The Secrets of Eden and Midwives

  • Pasadena is like a grand opera…Ebershoff must be applauded for the grandness of his design, for grand characters, for grand setting, and…for his grand vision of Pasadena as the center of ‘real history.’”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “Full of detail and unerring language…magically evokes the rich and varied landscape of Southern California.”

    Boston Sunday Globe

  • “Both a triumph of historical re-creation and a full-bodied romance…You feel that, if you were transported back to Pasadena in 1925, Ebershoff’s book would enable you to find your way around perfectly.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “Ebershoff’s crafting of characters is so sharp, so perfect, that we ache for most of them…[He] has us in thrall, and every word he writes counts.”

    Fort Worth Star-Telegram

  • “A luxurious tragedy…gorgeous, full of romance and disaster…Pasadena is a novel to get lost in.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Rich with exuberant details…difficult to put down…Ebershoff has a luxuriant way with words, and through his beautiful prose he includes readers in the intrigue of a swiftly passing shop window, the refinement of a well-made lobster trap, and the coarseness of a saloon filled with whores and their clients. The many details bring us closer to each character’s motives, and when the last page is read we may even realize that the book moved us to a different time and place—just like a good book should.”

    Amazon.com Review

  • “Lorna Raver performs with great intelligence and enthusiasm. Her flexible voice reaches from sultry to shrill to raspy effortlessly.”

    AudioFile

  • “Linda and Bruder are soulfully reminiscent of Emily Brontë’s ill-fated Cathy and Heathcliff and their tragic depiction of unfulfilled romantic passion in Wuthering Heights. This is a rich blend of California history in a well mastered plot that maintains an enduring element of surprise.”

    Booklist

  • “A meticulously researched narrative that combines elements of gothic fairy tale, nineteenth-century romance, and the rise and decline of an enchanted American city, Pasadena is a traditional family saga in the very best sense.”

    Carolyn See, author of The Handyman

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 2/19/2014

    " A huge sweeping novel of a family that settles in Southern California at a time when it is still undeveloped and vastly different from the East Coast. It is also an ill-fated love story which is the real heart of the novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbi | 2/17/2014

    " I read this several years ago and saw David speak at Vroman's. Scenes still pop up in my mind as I drive around Pasadena. It's so deliciously visual and heartbreaking. I can still feel the sweat on the workers in the orange groves. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Judy | 2/16/2014

    " Having grown up in the Pasadena area, and moving back here as an adult, I enjoyed reading this book purely for the fact that Mr. Ebershoff did an impressive job of weaving together much of Pasadena's history. Unfortunately, that can not be said for the story or for the characters. The story within a story with Bruder pouring his secrets out to Mr. Blackwood was simply not believable. Mr. Ebershoff wants to create a history that is akin to East of Eden, but sadly, Great American Novel material, this is not. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha Newman | 2/15/2014

    " I liked it. But it was a convoluted story and the characters were a little vague and you don't have a good sense of what motivates them. It would make a good miniseries. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie Tomchak | 2/12/2014

    " It seems that there is more to Pasadena (and for that matter, Carlsbad) than I the Rose Bowl. I hadn't known about the hot springs in Carlsbad, nor how Pasadena changed from an Orange Grove to a modern city. When I slept in the streets of Pasadena with my family I noticed how it would sometimes rain, even though the legend was that it NEVER rained on the Rose Parade. Perhaps some of this mythologizing comes out in the novel. Ebershoff has created a modern Wuthering Heights, as many have noticed, but despite its smooth prose, it makes one think more of Dynasty, or one of those other evening soap operas where snobbish landowners exploited the poor cooks and foremen and there were all sorts of guilty secrets tortuously revealed. In this novel, as in the later Danish Girl, the plot gallops along and we hardly get to know the characters before they leave for a few months or years or leave entirely. Nonetheless, it is a southern california I recognize, and the novel did not seem 400+ pages long, it just galloped along. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ann | 2/6/2014

    " Wonderful writing. Loved the author's use of language. But ultimately I just didn't care about the characters. I gave up half way through the book. Will try another one by this author, though. "The 19th Wife" has been recommended to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Pauli | 1/30/2014

    " This is a fabulous book by a very talented writer. It's just a way too long! Took me several weeks to finish all 485 pages and I felt bogged down by it at times. I just wanted to hurry up and finish it so I could move on with my life. Otherwise, I have thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to this new (to me) genre of historical fiction via David Ebershoff's work. It really gives you a sense of the times that the writer is describing in an entertaining way. Mr. Ebershoff is a fabulously descriptive writer, to a fault. This is part of the reason that the book was so painfully long! Overall, if you're not into historical fiction or super long (for no reason) books, I'd say skip it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fractalss | 1/26/2014

    " A very TIMELY book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 1/26/2014

    " This is one of those sweeping multigenerational sagas -- really mostly 2 generations, but that's the sort of romantic feel it's going for. It falls a little flat and drags towards the end, but I enjoyed it because it's about my hometown and had some fun historical bits (and some inaccurate, or should I say "fictional" ones). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue Boyd | 1/20/2014

    " I liked this book because it give the history and culture of California and Pasadena. 2005 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz Taylor | 12/21/2013

    " Pretty good novel, little slow sometimes, but great story and really captures the era. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brooke Binkowski | 12/11/2013

    " Beautifully written, reminded me a lot of T.C. Boyle. I understand what Ebershoff was trying to do with the book, but I wish there'd been more clarification about what ended up happening to some of the characters I'd grown to care about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Umstead | 10/23/2013

    " Lovely story about what life was like back at turn-of-the-cenury (20th) Southern California, when Pasadena was the cultural epicenter and Los Angeles was a mere backwater. Delightful descriptions and heartfelt character renderings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 C2 | 10/19/2013

    " Rich story that spans decades following WWII. Historically fun if you've spent time in California or even just watch the Rose Parade every New Year's Day. This book kept me going back to previous chapters to search for clues I missed as the story unravels. A good summer read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 10/17/2013

    " This very long novel ( painfully long) is a story set in the background of California coastal history. It's a story of star crossed lovers. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cheri | 9/1/2013

    " A long story about life and love and change in early 20th century Southern California. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 7/20/2013

    " Having lived in southern california I could identify with many of the settings. Loved the story and and the historical insight as well "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Colleen | 4/19/2013

    " This book was really good in parts - but overall, it was too descriptive and narative - taking away from the story line. I found it frustrating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 10/14/2012

    " History of Pasadena; interesting! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dree | 11/6/2011

    " Excellent, excellent book. Long but doesn't get boring. Author did his homework too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gayle | 9/11/2011

    " Good read, but falls short in comparison to East of Eden. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 5/19/2011

    " Great material, but it never quite blossoms. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sally Anne | 4/18/2011

    " Turgid. Lurid. Long. Would be an okay bad movie. Only recommended to those with a deep interest in Southern California history and then only when there are no other choices. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 11/10/2010

    " Pretty good novel, little slow sometimes, but great story and really captures the era. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacqui | 11/8/2010

    " Beautifully done family saga reminiscent of Steinbeck's works. Very evocative; you can feel the heat, smell the ocean, and visualize the decay of an old Pasadena property. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Colleen | 9/21/2010

    " This book was really good in parts - but overall, it was too descriptive and narative - taking away from the story line. I found it frustrating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 C2 | 7/22/2010

    " Rich story that spans decades following WWII. Historically fun if you've spent time in California or even just watch the Rose Parade every New Year's Day. This book kept me going back to previous chapters to search for clues I missed as the story unravels. A good summer read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 7/21/2010

    " Lovely story about what life was like back at turn-of-the-cenury (20th) Southern California, when Pasadena was the cultural epicenter and Los Angeles was a mere backwater. Delightful descriptions and heartfelt character renderings. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Suze | 2/11/2010

    " This is one book I gave up on. I actually don't know why I bought it, as I didn't like 'The Nineteenth Wife' by this author, either!

    Too much detail, and a depressing story.

    Maybe I should pay attention to my own reviews! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 9/8/2009

    " A huge sweeping novel of a family that settles in Southern California at a time when it is still undeveloped and vastly different from the East Coast. It is also an ill-fated love story which is the real heart of the novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 8/8/2009

    " Having lived in southern california I could identify with many of the settings. Loved the story and and the historical insight as well "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Betsy | 8/5/2009

    " Interesting read about the burgeoning California city "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julia | 7/30/2009

    " I just couldn't get into this one and didn't identify with the characters. I really enjoyed the 19th wife but this book was very different. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 7/17/2009

    " I liked this book because it give the history and culture of California and Pasadena. 2005 "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ann | 6/22/2009

    " Wonderful writing. Loved the author's use of language. But ultimately I just didn't care about the characters. I gave up half way through the book. Will try another one by this author, though. "The 19th Wife" has been recommended to me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 6/11/2009

    " Beautiful language. Deep, complex, sometimes hateful characters. Hopelessly tragic at points, but always a passionate, tenacious story.

    Sigh. I've finished it. So sad and so beautiful. "

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About the Author
Author David EbershoffDavid Ebershoff is the author of two novels, Pasadena and The Danish Girl, and a short-story collection, The Rose City. His fiction has won a number of awards, including the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Lambda Literary Award, and has been translated into ten languages to critical acclaim. Ebershoff has taught creative writing at New York University and Princeton and is currently an adjunct assistant professor in the graduate writing program at Columbia University. For many years he was the publishing director of the Modern Library, and he is currently an editor-at-large for Random House. He lives in New York City.
About the Narrator

Lorna Raver, named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Voices of the Year, has received numerous Audie Award nominations and fourteen AudioFile Earphones Awards. An experienced stage actress, she has also guest-starred on many top television series and starred in director Sam Raimi’s film Drag Me to Hell. Her numerous audiobook credits include The Age of Innocence, Up from Orchard Street, The Lodger, Selected Readings from the Portable Dorothy Parker, and Diamond Ruby.