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Extended Audio Sample Reservation Road, by John Burnham Schwartz Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,340 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Burnham Schwartz Narrator: Stanley Tucci, John Shea, Anne Twomey Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A riveting novel of feeling and suspense in which grief and punishment become tragically intertwined.

At the close of a beautiful summer day near the quiet Connecticut town where they live, the Learner family—Ethan and Grace, their children, Josh and Emma—stop at a gas station on their way home from a concert. Josh Learner, lost in a ten-year-old’s private world, is standing at the edge of the road when a car comes racing around the bend. He is hit and instantly killed. The car speeds away.

From this moment forward, Reservation Road becomes a harrowing countdown to the confrontation between two very different men. The hit-and-run driver is a small-town lawyer named Dwight Arno, a man in desperate need of a second chance. Dwight is also the father of a ten-year-old boy, who was asleep in the car the night Josh Learner was killed. Now Dwight must decide whether to run from his crime or to pay the price for what he did. Ethan Learner, a respected professor of literature at a small New England college, has seen his orderly world shattered in a single moment, yet persists in the belief that he can find the unknown man who killed his son. Behind their stories are those of eight-year-old Emma, who can't stop thinking her brother's death was her fault, and of Grace, who must find the strength to keep herself and her family together, and to be the mother Emma so badly needs.

In a gripping narrative woven from the voices of Ethan, Dwight, and Grace, Reservation Road tells the story of two ordinary families facing an extraordinary crisis—a book that reads like a thriller but opens up a world rich with psychological nuance and emotional wisdom. Reservation Road explores the terrain of grief even as it astonishes with unexpected redemption: powerful and wrenching and impossible to put down.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A pleasure to read. Suspense is redefined here... Sandra Scofield, Newsday
  • A lovely book, full of life and feeling Peter Matthiessen
  • One of those rare--very rare--novels that you don't so much read as inhabit...But it's the novel's conclusion, as perfect as it is sudden, shocking and completely unexpected, that will stick in your memory. Tom Dehaven, Entertainment Weekly
  • A beautiful novel. An important novel David Bowman, New York Observer
  • Both a beautiful, wrenching story of redemption, and a novel of exquisite suspense Anne Lamott
  • A first-rate work of fiction disguised as a page-turning thriller David Halberstam
  • An unexpected pleasure...It will leave the reader entranced as well as moved. Erica Noonan, Boston Herald
  • A non-stop read...a wonderful writer Ward Just
  • A triumph of form, pacing and power...character-driven as it is, it reads like a thrille, swift and complete. Kit Reed, New York Times Book Review
  • It possesses a conclusion of such power that it would be a literary crime to reveal it. Deirdre Donahue, USA Today
  • This is a shattering book, imagined with startling emotional precision and generosity. And though it begins in catastrophe, Reservation Road turns out to be a kind of map of connectedness: Touch a child here and the whole world trembles out of orbit; everyone bleeds; finally, perhaps, after great pain, everyone heals. John Burnham Schwartz is awfully young to own this much wisdom, but there it is, on every page. Rosellen Brown
  • A powerful and affecting novel...haunting...highly suspenseful...compelling to read. Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
  • Spellbinding...a haunting tale Booklist
  • A poignant thriller...quietly breathtaking...a suspenseful literary novel Betsey Osborne, Vanity Fair
  • A 1998 New York Times Notable Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Beth | 2/10/2014

    " Wow! I couldn't put this book down. The ending was not what I expected. A "Wrenching story of redemption" (as the comments on the back say) sums it all up. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kathi Derevan | 2/6/2014

    " This is a haunting and beautiful story; it keeps seeping into my mind days after putting it down. The characters don't want o stay on the page, they keep appearing here and there throughout the day. "

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

    " suspenseful. a page turner. easy reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Daniel Crews | 1/30/2014

    " After a horrible event, this book follows the emotional journeys of all those involved. The exploration of guilt, grief, and the reverberations we feel at the seams presents a bit of life that I recognize right away. It has a fairly good ending for a book of this type as well. And for you lit geeks, it has an interesting use of first person AND third person omniscient perspectives. I really liked this one. "

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