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Extended Audio Sample Radiant Days, by Elizabeth Hand Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (130 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elizabeth Hand Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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She is a painter. He is a poet. Their art bridges time. 

It is 1978. Merle is in her first year at the Corcoran School of Art, catapulted from her impoverished Appalachian upbringing into a sophisticated, dissipated art scene. It is also 1870. The teenage poet Arthur Rimbaud is on the verge of breaking through to the images and voice that will make his name. The meshed power of words and art thins the boundaries between the present and the past—and allows these two troubled, brilliant artists to enter each other’s worlds.

Radiant Days is a peerless follow-up to Elizabeth Hand’s unforgettable, multiple-starred Illyria.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Hand returns with a surreal tale of art’s ability to transcend time…Hand’s descriptions of art and poetry as they are being made are breathtaking…and her troubled, beautifully drawn characters make the heart ache.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Liz Hand celebrates Arthur Rimbaud in Radiant Days, which throws down the gauntlet in more ways than one. The Patti Smith of YA writes with an attitude and beauty that defies all stereotypes. This is sound and fury a sixteen-year-old needs to hear, and we are lucky to have her shaking things up like no other author.”

    Locus

  • “Suffused with powerful images of light, this intensely lyrical portrait of two androgynous young artists who magically traverse a century to briefly escape their equally disturbing worlds expands the themes of artistic isolationAn impressive blend of biography and magical realism.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Real enchantment is always sought by our sad, starved world and rarely found. Elizabeth Hand’s work possesses it in every word.”

    Francesca Lia Block, award-winning author

  • One of the Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books for Teens in 2012

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Sandie | 2/7/2014

    " This book takes the starving artist to the next level and adds starving teenagers and run aways. I actually did not like Merle, the main character. I could not understand her decision to drop out of school and waste her college education. Although I like the time travel aspect, I didn't really care for Arthur either. He was an angry young man and I didn't like it when he deserted Merle when she was in his era. Both characters seem to think thievery would further their careers - if you could call their lives headed to a career during most of the novel. Most of the time I thought they'd be found dead on the street. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Barbara | 2/3/2014

    " Although this book contains many powerful passages and picked up speed once I reached the first half, it started off quite slowly for me, possibly because it was hard for me to like Merle, one of the book's main characters. She's in her first year of art school in Washington, DC, living life on the edge, barely surviving, and eventually drawn into an affair with her teacher. I wanted to see her honing her craft and learning art techniques amid all the painting at home and the tagging on the city's streets as Radiant Days. Her part of the story is set in 1978, and I found it rather absurd that so few could recognize the originality of the art she was creating. On one special night, she encounters poet Arthur Rimbaud along the banks of the Potomac, and that encounter changes everything for both of them. Rimbaud's story mostly occurs in 1870 as he continuously runs away from home and works on his poetry, some of which seems to refer to Merle. Merle's work, in turn, draws inspiration from their shared moments. The author moves her characters from one time and place to another seamlessly, and she captures their worlds vividly. Her depiction of Rimbaud seems more authentic than Merle, who never really showed much of her Appalachian roots. Because of the artistic and musical connections among the two and Ted, the brilliant homeless musician, I kept thinking of a more sophisticated Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist as I read this one. Older teen readers fascinated with the punk movement and the avant-garde are likely to be drawn to this book as they imagine the possibilities of time travel and inspiration from unexpected sources. For me, it ended up being an interesting read with a cool premise that ultimately left something lacking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tracy Bigari | 1/18/2014

    " This starts a little slow, but ends up being an interesting little tale of two struggling artists from different worlds and different eras. The author is quite poetic, and I enjoyed the way she weaved these two lives together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Julia Mcconnell | 1/2/2014

    " A strange little book about a female painter in the 70's named after Merle Haggard, the French poet Arthur Rimbaud, and time travel. "

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