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Radiant Days Audiobook, by Elizabeth Hand Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Elizabeth Hand Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2012 ISBN: 9781481590044
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (130 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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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.

Download and start listening now!


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.”


  • “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 Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 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 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 Tracy | 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 Julia | 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamila | 12/29/2013

    " This book is poetic and haunting. The time travel is cool. I appreciate Hand's descriptions of Merle's art and DC and NY in the 70s. Maybe I'll read some Rimbaud now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 11/11/2013

    " I read this so fast that I couldn't believe I had already come to the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jacelover555 | 10/16/2013

    " Confusing at first but it gets better "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angel | 9/30/2013

    " I need Illyria now. Review pending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Corrie | 7/20/2013

    " This book was okay. I liked the idea more than the execution. The author has a distinct writing style that is not for everyone, including me, it seems. It's just kind of...blah. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashley | 6/29/2013

    " This book either did not work well on audio or is just 'meh' in general. It has so many great elements and fascinating ground to cover, but it never gelled for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott | 5/6/2013

    " Great novel. Unique story, characters and connections. Love of art and music. I wish more authors and books could be this unique and creative. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Daleine | 4/6/2013

    " I do not know how to describe this book. To some it may be a great book but it is not for me. The book is to retro or new age for my taste. The poetry is dark as are both of the young characters. I think there may be a lot of people who would like the book. I just found that it was not of my taste. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shawn | 2/18/2013

    " I've read better books by Elizabeth Hand. I'm disappointed but I can't really recommend this one. The cover is awfully cheesy, too. I should have known to skip this one, since you can totally judge a book by its cover. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brianna | 9/27/2012

    " A poetic piece of work. My first experience with Elizabeth Hand, but I'm hooked. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ellen | 9/26/2012

    " One of the rare books I couldn't get beyond page 50. I liked Illyria, and was willing to give this one a try, but the overwrought prose just did me in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Reilly-Rose | 8/12/2012

    " The novel links the timelines of Arthur Rimbaud in 1870 with Merle, talented young artist in 1978 Washington, D.C. the power of expression through art, poetry, music, and mythology demonstrate that time is more permeable than you might imagine. The novel is lyrical and satisfying. "

About the Author

Elizabeth Hand is the author of more than fourteen cross-genre novels and collections of short fiction. Her work has received the Shirley Jackson Award (three times), the World Fantasy Award (four times), the Nebula Award (twice), as well as the James M. Tiptree Jr. and Mythopoeic Society Awards. She is a longtime critic and contributor of essays for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Salon, Boston Review, and the Village Voice, among many others.

About the Narrator

Cassandra Campbell has won multiple Audie Awards, Earphones Awards, and the prestigious Odyssey Award for narration. She was been named a “Best Voice” by AudioFile magazine and in 2018 was inducted in Audible’s inaugural Narrator Hall of Fame.