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Extended Audio Sample Reservation Road Audiobook, 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: October 2006 ISBN: 9780739343579
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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

  • 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
  • A lovely book, full of life and feeling Peter Matthiessen
  • A pleasure to read. Suspense is redefined here... Sandra Scofield, Newsday
  • A poignant thriller...quietly breathtaking...a suspenseful literary novel Betsey Osborne, Vanity Fair
  • Spellbinding...a haunting tale Booklist
  • A powerful and affecting novel...haunting...highly suspenseful...compelling to read. Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
  • 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 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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Edijkelly Salvatore | 1/26/2014

    " I enjoyed this book, though I found the mother's character to be underdeveloped and some of the father's behavior to be a little difficult to believe. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tim | 1/19/2014

    " I got this book thinking I would watch the Mark Ruffalo movie afterwards. Unfortunately, I really had no desire to live through all that pain again. I guess this is more a character piece than a twisty turny plotty book and it definitely felt real and believable (and in a strange way made me grateful everything is going so swimmingly in my life), but, at the end of the day, I just needed a little more plot. The end also got a little melodramatic for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michele | 1/11/2014

    " I enjoyed this book while at the same time finding it completely depressing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chien-ying | 1/10/2014

    " A realistic character study of how people deal with loss and tragedy. Hearbreaking and touching, this is one of my favorite books! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 1/4/2014

    " Excellent story and excellent narration in this audiobook version. I am going to move right on to 1)watching the movie and 2)reading the sequel, Northwest Corner. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 1/4/2014

    " This was pretty upsetting subject matter but well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 G | 12/30/2013

    " It's a better version of something I would have read in a creative writing class in college, but a worse version of Andre Dubus. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn Sherman | 12/19/2013

    " This was a quick summer read. I enjoyed the different points of view. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cat | 8/17/2013

    " Such a haunting book. The same event & its aftermath told by three different people. It is beautifully written & manages to paint the picture of grief, loss & guilt vividly. I only wish the ending were more conclusive! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Routzahn | 4/6/2013

    " This was a difficult book to get through. The movie was totally different from the storyline. I think I approve of the ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 12/18/2012

    " I love when books change the point of view in each chapter. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 kristy | 12/2/2012

    " I thought this book was depressing. It took me a long time to read because it was easy to put down and long in between to pick up. The wonderful "F" bomb was used a lot! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Seed | 9/9/2012

    " It was an enticing read even though I had an idea of the ending based on the sequel I read prior, Northwest Corner. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Salma S. Rammeya | 7/16/2012

    " I've Learned that a human being is a mass of emotions, contrasting, yet combined and related. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 4/9/2012

    " Tough subject matter, great story, crazy ending! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amber | 4/2/2012

    " What kind of an ending was that?! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Theresa | 1/8/2012

    " This book reminded me a lot of Lovely Bones. It was an interesting story, but somewhere along the way I became lost as to when the characters thoughts/feelings started to shift to where they were at the end. Also, not a big fan of the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trisha | 6/15/2011

    " Heart-breaking and beautifully written. Wonderful characters and a unique storyline. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan Odetta | 5/3/2011

    " This is a story of loss without redemption. Maybe that will come in the sequel. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carrie | 12/21/2010

    " Sad,depressing and didn't like the ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 9/23/2010

    " 5 out of 5...This book made me cry so much... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carla | 7/18/2010

    " I listened to this book on tape a long time ago and was reminded of it while reading another Burnham Schwartz novel. I remember it as a haunting story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Derek | 2/9/2010

    " This was an excellent book but it really made me feel for the family's loss, so strongly that I kind of wished that I wasn't reading it as I kept on turning the pages. Very powerful emotionally. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 2/4/2010

    " grief & guilt of shakespearean proportions!! A riveting dark tale, wonderfully told. I appreciated having 3 separate voices on this CD book. "

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About the Author
JOHN BURNHAM SCHWARTZ is the author of the novels Claire Marvel, Bicycle Days, and Reservation Road, which was made into a motion picture based on his screenplay, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, and Jennifer Connelly. His books have been translated into more than fifteen languages, and his writing has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times and The New Yorker. He lives with his wife and their son in Brooklyn, New York.
About the Narrators

Stanley Tucci is an actor, writer, film producer, and film director. He was nominated for several notable film awards, including an Academy Award for his performance in The Lovely Bones. Other recent celebrated roles include The Devil Wears Prada and Julie & Julia. He has won two Golden Globe Awards and has also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his role as Johnny in the 2002 Broadway revival of Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.

John Shea’s career includes more than forty films, most notably the Academy Award-winner Missing. His television work includes Lois and Clark and Mutant X, and he has appeared in more than twenty-five plays on and off-Broadway and in London's West End.

Anne Twomey is an accomplished actress of both stage and screen. Her Broadway credits include Orpheus Descending with Vanessa Redgrave, To Grandmother’s House We Go, and Nuts, for which she received a Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award. Her many television appearances include guest roles on Seinfeld, Law & Order: SVU, Spin City, and the Christopher Reeves’ movie-of-the-week Rear Window. She has also appeared in the films Picture Perfect and Orpheus Descending. Her audiobook narrations have won her five AudioFile Earphones Awards.