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Extended Audio Sample Stone Arabia Audiobook, by Dana Spiotta Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,447 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Dana Spiotta Narrator: Elisabeth Rodgers Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2011 ISBN: 9781482980936
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Stone Arabia is about family, obsession, memory, and the urge to create—in isolation, at the margins of our winner-take-all culture.

In the sibling relationship, “there are no first impressions, no seductions, no getting to know each other,” says Denise Kranis. For her and her brother Nik, now in their forties, no relationship is more significant. They grew up in Los Angeles in the late seventies and early eighties. Nik was always the artist, always wrote music, always had a band. Now he makes his art in private, obsessively documenting the work, but never testing it in the world. Denise remains Nik’s most passionate and acute audience, sometimes his only audience. She is also her family’s first defense against the world’s fragility. Friends die, their mother’s memory and mind unravel, and the news of global catastrophe and individual tragedy haunt Denise. When her daughter Ada decides to make a film about Nik, everyone’s vulnerabilities seem to escalate.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Added to the brilliant glitter of Ms. Spiotta’s earlier work…is something deeper and sadder: not just alienation, but a hard-won awareness of mortality and passing time…Both a clever meditation on the feedback loop between life and art and a moving portrait of a brother and sister, whose wild youth on the margins of the rock scene has given way to the disillusionments and vexations of middle age.”

    New York Times

  • “Transfixing…It’s as though Nabokov had written a rock novel.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia is a dreamlike meditation on fame and success, technology and the imagination. The novel beautifully manifests Ms. Spiotta’s gift for transforming her keen cultural intelligence into haunting, evocative prose.”

    Jennifer Egan, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad

  • “Evocative, mysterious, incongruously poetic...gritty, intelligent, mordent, and deeply sad...Spiotta has created, in Stone Arabia, a work of visceral honesty and real beauty.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Outstanding…Male American writers have talked about the incursion of the real into territory previously held by the novelist’s capacity for invention; but who before Spiotta has written about reality’s threat not to imagination but to memory itself?…An essential American writer.”


  • “Dana Spiotta’s stunning, virtuoso novel Stone Arabia plays out the A and B sides of a sibling bond.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “[Stone Arabia] explores the inner workings of celebrity, family, and other modern-day mythologies.”


  • “Fascinating…Resonant…What’s most remarkable about Stone Arabia is the way Spiotta explores such broad, endemic social ills in the small, peculiar lives of these sad siblings. Her reflections on the precarious nature of modern life are witty until they’re really unsettling.”

    Washington Post

  • “Is there a more electrifying novelist working than Dana Spiotta?…[Stone Arabia] makes for a sharp character study: A portrait of the artist as middle-aged never was. Yet Spiotta’s genius is to recognize that Nik’s journey is representative not just for his sister or his mother but for every one of us.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Superb and original…Dana Spiotta nails this cultural moment in America…She’s a remarkable stylist, with fine-honed sentences, risky structural choices, and kaleidoscopic points of view.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Spiotta’s extraordinary new novel is an inspired consideration of sibling devotion, Southern California, and fame…With her novel’s, clever structure, jaundiced affection for Los Angeles, and diamond-honed prose, Spiotta delivers one of the most moving and original portraits of a sibling relationship in recent fiction.”

    Publisher Weekly (starred review)

  • “Elisabeth Rodgers…performs with admirable attention and skill, smoothly distinguishing the characters’ sexes, ages, and emotional states.”


  • A 2011 Barnes & Noble Best Book for Fiction
  • A Washington Post Best Book of 2011
  • A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2011
  • An Entertainment Weekly Best Book of 2011
  • A Boston Globe Book of the Year for 2011
  • A New York Times Notable Book for 2011
  • A Newsweek Best Book of 2011
  • A 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
  • A 2011 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
  • A 2011 Salon Magazine Best Book of the Year

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mundi | 2/17/2014

    " This was a well-written book, but overall it just didn't really make me feel anything - it was just kinda there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa Griffin | 1/28/2014

    " If I could give half stars, I'd have given this one 3.5 - somewhere between "liked" and "really liked" it. On the plus side, the book is intelligent, filled with quotable lines, fun rock and roll references and people so real you're sure you know them. On the other side, it's really sad, reminding us that the arrogance and idealism of youth inevitably give way to the disillusionments of middle age and dysfunctional relationships and unpaid bills. Tough. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wesley | 1/20/2014

    " A strange book about a woman whose brother spent his adult life making himself into an imaginary rock star. In the end it is not clear whether the brother himself is a creature of her imagination. Regardless, the depiction of a strange family that is nonetheless close is very good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elliott | 1/18/2014

    " What took me so long to read this? One of the best novels I've read in a long, long time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Philip Bardach | 1/3/2014

    " Anemic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Peter Dyer | 12/18/2013

    " While Ms. Spiotta is a fantastic writer, I never got to the point where i could not put this book down. The story just never really grabbed me. I normally never disagree with Michiko Kakutani, my favorite ny times critic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 12/17/2013

    " Brilliant, & very timely. This is a book I'll be thinking about for a long time, as it covers a lot of ground. What is reality in this reality TV age? Does truth matter in a time when we're only concerned with truthiness? Can an individual control their legacy? Lots to chew on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 10/27/2013

    " slightly unnerving but I still enjoyed it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeremy | 10/4/2013

    " Essentially flawless. About a brother and a sister in their late 40's: a musician and his ideal (and only audience) and the dangers of sympathizing too closely with the news. It is easily the one of the best novels I have read in recent years... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bob Lopez | 10/1/2013

    " In the end, I just didn't care enough. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 J.cinnamond | 2/8/2013

    " two character novel where one lives a fantasy life illustrated in his journals and the other supports the him. I just didn't care enough about either character towards the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 HiphopQuyn | 6/15/2012

    " a short book about a reclusive musician who falsely chronicles his career over twenty years and his sister, who suffers from loneliness and lack of memory. interesting, but unremarkable. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dennis Matthews | 11/15/2011

    " Requires patience. Found Denise to be tiresome and annoyingly verbose. Failed to see much of a point for either the abundance of tangential words or the storyloine itself. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abby Jean | 11/14/2011

    " probably more enjoyable if you know LA or the punk/glam music scene. interesting story about how we create and maintain our own identities. perhaps a bit slight. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen | 10/12/2011

    " I enjoyed this book and it held my attention. An interesting look a the intersection of medicine and ministry in Inda. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Wei Tchou | 9/28/2011

    " Best thing about teaching this book was that a student said she cried all weekend reading it because she, too, had artists for parents "

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About the Author
Author Dana Spiotta

Dana Spiotta is the author of Lightning Field, a New York Times Notable Book; Stone Arabia, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; and Eat the Document, a finalist for the National Book Award. She was recently awarded the John Updike Award. She lives in Syracuse, New York, with her husband and daughter.

About the Narrator

Elisabeth Rodgers is an actress and AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. After graduating from Princeton University, she completed a two-year program at William Esper Studio, where she studied with Maggie Flanigan. Her audiobook narration training came from Robin Miles, who has also directed her in several productions. She has recorded dozens of books for a multitude of publishers.