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Extended Audio Sample Sacred Time: A Novel Audiobook, by Ursula Hegi Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (506 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ursula Hegi Narrator: Annabella Sciorra, Mercedes Ruehl, Bobby Cannavale Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2003 ISBN: 9780743549622
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The bestselling author of Stones From the River delivers her most ambitious and dramatic novel yet -- the unforgettable story of an endearing, but flawed, Italian American family.
In December 1953 Anthony Amedeo's world is nested in his Bronx neighborhood, his parent's Studebaker, the Paradise Theater, Yankee Stadium -- and in his imaginatin, where he longs for a stencil kit to decorate the windows like all the other kids on his street. Instead, he gets a very different present: his uncle Malcolm's family.
Malcolm is in jail for stealing -- once again -- from his latest new job, and Anthony's aunt and twin cousins settle into the Amedeos' fifth floor walk-up. Sharing a room with girls is excruciating for Anthony, despite his affinity for the twins. But the real change in Anthony's life comes one evening when he causes the unthinkable to happen, changing each family member's life forever.
Evoking all the plenty and optimism of postwar America, Sacred Time spans three generations, taking us from the Bronx of the 1950s to contemporary Brooklyn. Keenly observing the dark side of family -- and its gracefulness -- Hegi has outdone herself with this captivating novel about childhood's tenderness and the landscape of loneliness.
Hegi reveals how the transforming power of a singular event can reverberate through a family for generations. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Sacred Time offers its own version of hope in the face of despair, of truth in a new era of secrecy and evasion.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Hegi deftly explores the subtle, unexpected ways in which people are undone in the wake of tragedy and the self destructive impulses to which they yield out of helplessness.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • Sacred Time is an ambitious piece of writing.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Hegi...vividly evokes the Italian-American community of the Bronx, and readers will recognize her skill at capturing the complex dynamics of large families.” 

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bobbi | 2/11/2014

    " Seven-year-old Anthony Amedeo's comfortable life with his caterer father, Victor, and his mother, Leonora, is disrupted when his ne'er-do-well Uncle Malcolm goes "elsewhere" (a family euphemism for prison) and his Aunt Floria moves into the Amedeo apartment with her eight-year-old twin daughters. They arrive just before Christmas 1953, and soon afterwards, one of the twins plunges to her death from an open window. The tragedy will define the lives of everyone in the two families and change them as surely as their Bronx is changing. Even before the accident, trouble was brewing. Leonora, aware that her husband is having an affair, considers divorce and dallies with a much younger man, but reluctantly allows her philandering husband to return. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mel | 2/4/2014

    " This book starts out in the 1950's and goes to present. It was a short and interesting read though the plot was a bit weak compared to Stones from the River. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julie | 1/25/2014

    " I picked this up from the library when I had about 2 minutes to find a book. Since I had loved Stones from the River, I figured I was safe with Ursula Hegi. It wasn't until I got home and had time to open it that I realized I had already read it about 8 years ago. I have carried a memory of this book (a particular scene/revelation) with me all these years, but could never remember the name of the book. Unfortunately, it wasn't a good memory--more of a that-was-really-annoying memory. So, I won't be re-reading this one. Meh. Back to the library. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Garlan | 1/20/2014

    " This was a another great story from Hegi about a family living in the Bronx in the 1950's. Told from several points of view over a span of 40+ years, we're introduced to Anthony, Floria, Leonora and Belinda, as they tell their story about family and what binds us to one another, all the while dealing with tragedy, loss, guilt and forgiveness. Hegi gives each character depth and peronality, but especially Floria and Leonora. I would have given the book 5 stars, but for one section that I didn't care for. Others may find that to be one of the most moving or powerful scenes in the book, but for me, it was too drawn out. A solid 4 1/2 stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marsha | 1/19/2014

    " OK. Sept 2006 -- OK "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jaime | 1/13/2014

    " I read this too fast, and on a plane, to be able to give it four stars. Ursula Hegi is certainly one of my new favorites. I love the way she brings the reader into each character in this and the other books I've read. We're never in danger of tunnel vision; never stuck in the mind of any one person. (Aside: I wish more humans could broaden their views in this way.) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michelle | 1/11/2014

    " It never caught my interest, so I quickly stopped reading. Boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fergie | 11/29/2013

    " This was the last Hegi novel I had to read. It was my least favorite of them all but was still an enjoyable read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 11/23/2013

    " This was fast paced and hard to put down, almost a 5 by Laura's rating scale. It is very different than Hegi's books about Germany. It was almost like someone else wrote it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Stacey | 11/17/2013

    " Horrible...had to put it down and stop reading it. Just wasn't into it and didn't want to waste any more time on it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ann | 11/4/2013

    " I just couldn't get into this book at all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christiane | 10/28/2013

    " Multiple perspectives and fifty years in the life of a family. Each of Hegi's characters was beautifully individual, and the whole book laces together gorgeously. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 KDawn | 9/29/2013

    " I really like Hegi's style of writing and how she puts a book together, but I didn't really care for this story all that much. I can't put my finger on why, but there you are. Others I know have truly enjoyed it, so give it a whirl. See what you think. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jess | 9/14/2013

    " engrossing characters but a slow read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rebecca | 4/20/2013

    " Read half and couldn't finish "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robyn | 1/22/2013

    " I didn't love this book, I really loved her "Stones from the River" so I was expecting too much. She writes well but just not my favorite story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 10/22/2012

    " One of my favorite parts of this book is when Anthony's mother puts him in the clothes he received for his birthday, photographs him, and says in the Thank You card that it is his favorite clothing item. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 4/12/2012

    " My favorite is the chapter where Floria is dying, drifting randomly through bits and secrets of her life, surrounded by her family. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julie | 3/17/2012

    " Nothing special. Hegi is a good writer, but this story of the effects on a family, over a 50-year-period, of a child's death just didn't grab me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda Schone | 2/17/2012

    " I really enjoyed the stories of this Italian family. I would recommend it as good reading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ruth | 2/14/2012

    " I've liked all the other Hegi books I've read but this one didn't work for me. I grew up with one foot in Italian America. I didn't think this rang true. I wondered how she got th an Italian-American family from her German roots, and remember thinking she shoulda stayed at home. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristine | 11/21/2011

    " Sad book and I didn't totally get into it, but I still enjoyed bits of it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hollis | 11/8/2011

    " I've loved everything Hegi has written, so this one was somewhat a disapointment. It's difficult for me to articulate what it was that didn't work in this book (other than that it was depressing!) I do feel I got a good feel for the characters. It just wasn't her best "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 5/3/2011

    " Really good book about the stories, mostly hidden from others, that shape our lives and interactions. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Stacey | 8/16/2010

    " Horrible...had to put it down and stop reading it. Just wasn't into it and didn't want to waste any more time on it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 3/28/2010

    " One of my favorite parts of this book is when Anthony's mother puts him in the clothes he received for his birthday, photographs him, and says in the Thank You card that it is his favorite clothing item. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 2/10/2010

    " This was a good book. I enjoyed the POV shifts and the character and thematic development. I am impressed, also, by how Hegi was able to move into this culture and show it so well.

    Lovely ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 2/7/2010

    " This was the last Hegi novel I had to read. It was my least favorite of them all but was still an enjoyable read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michelle | 8/30/2009

    " It never caught my interest, so I quickly stopped reading. Boring. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hollis | 6/18/2009

    " I've loved everything Hegi has written, so this one was somewhat a disapointment. It's difficult for me to articulate what it was that didn't work in this book (other than that it was depressing!) I do feel I got a good feel for the characters. It just wasn't her best "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valerie | 5/30/2009

    " the impact of fear and secrets on families can be immense...well written and thought provoking... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Angie | 5/21/2009

    " Book on CD... having three narrators was helpful, but at times, the two ladies didn't differentiate well between their characters. The cover jacket was more interesting than the plot of the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jess | 5/8/2009

    " engrossing characters but a slow read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry | 4/26/2009

    " For me, this novel was very erratic in holding my interest. I had to switch to another book before I could come back to it and finish it. Much of the writing is compelling but some seems disjointed. "

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About the Author
Author Ursula Hegi

Ursula Hegi is the author of The Worst Thing Ive Done, Sacred Time, Hotel of the Saints, The Vision of Emma Blau, Tearing the Silence, Salt Dancers, Stones from the River, Floating in My Mothers Palm, Unearned Pleasures and Other Stories, Intrusions, and Trudi & Pia. She teaches writing at Stonybrooks Southampton Campus and is the recipient of more than thirty grants and awards.

About the Narrators

Annabella Sciorra was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, as Annabella Gloria Philomena Sciorra. She is an actress and producer, known for her roles in the films What Dreams May Come, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, and Jungle Fever. She was previously married to Joe Petruzzi.

Bobby Cannavale is a film, stage, and television actor. He has appeared in numerous television shows and films, but he is perhaps best known for his role as a reincarnated matchmaker on ABC's Cupid. He won an Emmy for his guest appearance on the hit show Will & Grace.