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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Louisa Hall Narrator: Adrienne Rusk, Bill Jurney, Christopher Ashman, Jennifer Page, Joe Ochman, Suzan Crowle Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A thoughtful, poignant novel that explores the creation of Artificial Intelligence—illuminating the very human need for communication, connection, and understanding

In a narrative that spans geography and time, from the Atlantic Ocean in the seventeenth century to a correctional institute in Texas in the near future, and told from the perspectives of five very different characters, Speak considers what it means to be human and what it means to be less than fully alive.

A young Puritan woman travels to the New World with her unwanted new husband. Alan Turing, the renowned mathematician and code breaker, writes letters to his best friend’s mother. A Jewish refugee and professor of computer science struggles to reconnect with his increasingly detached wife. An isolated and traumatized young girl exchanges messages with an intelligent software program. A former Silicon Valley Wunderkind is imprisoned for creating illegal lifelike dolls.

Each of these characters is attempting to communicate across gaps—to estranged spouses, lost friends, future readers, or a computer program that may or may not understand them. In dazzling and electrifying prose, Louisa Hall explores how the chasm between computer and human—shrinking rapidly with today’s technological advances—echoes the gaps that exist between ordinary people. Though each speaks from a distinct place and moment in time, all five characters share the need to express themselves while simultaneously wondering if they will ever be heard, or understood.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Speak is that rarest of finds: a novel that doesn’t remind me of any other book I’ve ever read. A complex, nuanced, and beautifully written meditation on language, immortality, the nature of memory, the ethical problems of artificial intelligence, and what it means to be human.”

    Emily St. John Mandel, New York Times bestselling author

  • Speak reads like a hybrid of David Mitchell and Margaret Atwood; a literary page-turner that spans four centuries and examines the idea of who and what we define as human. Louisa Hall has written a brilliant novel.”

    Philipp Meyer, New York Times bestselling author

  • “An inventor, a child bride, Alan Turing, a mysteriously ill teenager, and a refugee make up this novel’s haunting chorus of souls in search of human connection.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “This is a sensitive, beautiful, and timely novel that measures our very human need to speak against our possibly more vital need to be heard. Put down your phone for a while and read it.”


  • “Strange, beautiful, and unputdownable.”

    New York Post, Best Novels to Read this Summer

  • “Hall capably weaves the stories to form a beautiful rumination on the nature of memory and the frailty of human relationships.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Hall subtly weaves a thread through a temporally diverse cast of narrators. Like all good robot novels, Speak raises questions about what it means to be human as well as the meaning of giving voice to memory.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • Oprah Pick
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month
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About the Author

Louisa Hall grew up in Philadelphia. After graduating from Harvard, she played squash professionally while finishing her premedical coursework and working in a research lab at the Albert Einstein Hospital. She holds a PhD in literature from the University of Texas at Austin, where she currently teaches literature and creative writing, and supervises a poetry workshop at the Austin State Psychiatric Hospital. She is the author of the novel The Carriage House, and her poems have been published in the New Republic, Southwest Review, Ellipsis, and other journals.