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Extended Audio Sample Pilgrims, by Elizabeth Gilbert Click for printable size audiobook cover
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (769 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elizabeth Gilbert Narrator: Coleen Marl Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Elizabeth Gilbert published Pilgrims, her beautiful, bristly short story collection, in 1997, nine years before Eat, Pray, Love, her exuberant, raw meditation on divorce, depression, and healing, made her suddenly famous. Pilgrims peels back convention to reveal, with empathy and droll language, the primitive nuttiness and courage that lends ordinary people heart.

By definition, modern pilgrims are wanderers, struggling through daily grinds to find redemption or the true purpose of life. Each of the tart, spiny characters inhabiting Gilbert’s twelve stories is searching for something—her pilgrims hang out on ranches and in bars, in remote corners of Wyoming and Montana, and vegetable markets in the Bronx. There is sturdy Martha Knox, a ranch cook, with a dark, brown braid “thick as a girl’s arm”, and Rose, an elderly widow who drives a kindergarten school bus, crammed one morning with ghosts, all adoring suitors from her unchaste past. None of Gilbert’s characters is immediately charming, but all compel with their routine habits and dustbowl looks.

Coleen Marlo, narrator of Pilgrims, has a silk slip of a voice that ably roams from the coarse drawl of a rodeo cowboy to the hollow whine of Babette, a bawdy Manhattan nightclub singer. Under Marlo’s finespun, intelligent narration, listeners will find an intuitive collaborator to Gilbert’s good flow.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “With her first story collection, Gilbert proves herself to be a capable fiction writer. Many of her nonfiction strengths carry over: she draws her characters beautifully, and her sentences are sharp and bright. She has retained her gift for dialogue.”

    Los Angeles Times, editorial review

  • “Gilbert’s first collection of short stories is remarkable for its breadth, range of setting, and subject matter. Each world her characters inhabit, whether ranchlands in the West or the Bronx Terminal Vegetable Market, is authentic and fully realized. Her stories do not finish with clever twists or pat endings; we simply spend time with her characters and believe that they go on living after the story is finished…An outstanding debut; highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “A fine first collection of twelve stories that are richly varied in setting and content, and enlivened by their author’s flair for vigorous dialogue and concise summary statement…It’s true that all her characters seek respect or self-definition, and also that many of them are looking for love, of whatever kind is available, in all the wrong places with all the people likeliest to hurt or disappoint them…The best kind of debut volume: a striking display of a versatile writer flexing her muscles and tackling a broad array of subjects and themes.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Whether trashing those on high or celebrating those below, [Gilbert] moves stealthily, avoiding the temptation to grandstand, moralize or, especially, patronize.”

    New York Times Book Review

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Alexandra Catiste | 10/22/2013

    " I was expecting more about this book. They have short stories, and most off them aren't so goog. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tracey | 12/21/2012

    " some of the stories in this collection were great. In fact, I thought that a few could have easily developed into novels. However, more than a few we're lack luster and I was ready to finish them easily. this collection is not like her other 2 books which I felt we're pretty captivating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kate Baggott | 10/25/2012

    " Better than Gilbert's self-absorbed autobiographies. The characters are full of charm, humour and heartbreak. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Elaine | 7/28/2012

    " Well written, engaging stories. Got tired of the rebellious characters so I didn't finish it. "

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