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Extended Audio Sample Ten Thousand Saints, by Eleanor Henderson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,202 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Eleanor Henderson Narrator: Steven Kaplan Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2011 ISBN: 9780062072795
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“Eleanor Henderson is in possession of an enormous talent which she has matched up with skill, ambition, and a fierce imagination.  The resulting novel, Ten Thousand Saints, is the best thing I’ve read in a long time.”
—Ann Patchett, bestselling author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder

A sweeping, multigenerational drama, set against the backdrop of the raw, roaring New York City during the late 1980s, Ten Thousand Saints triumphantly heralds the arrival a remarkable new writer. Eleanor Henderson  makes a truly stunning debut with a novel that is part coming of age, part coming to terms, immediately joining the ranks of The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud and Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude. Adoption, teen pregnancy, drugs, hardcore punk rock, the unbridled optimism and reckless stupidity of the young—and old—are all major elements in this heart-aching tale of the son of diehard hippies and his strange odyssey through the extremes of late 20th century youth culture.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Eleanor Henderson is in possession of an enormous talent, which she has matched up with skill, ambition, and a fierce imagination. The resulting novel…is the best thing I’ve read in a long time.”

    Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder

  • Ten Thousand Saints is funny, touching, artistic, surprising, lovely, eye-opening, and very, very wise.”

    Arthur Phillips, New York Times bestselling author of The Song Is You

  • “Henderson does not hold back once: she writes the hell out of every moment, every scene, every perspective, every fleeting impression, every impulse and desire and bit of emotional detritus. She is never ironic or underwhelmed; her preferred mode is fierce, devoted and elegiac.”

    New York Times

  • “An irresistibly rich and engrossing novel…poignant, complex…Henderson brilliantly evokes the gritty energy of New York City in the ’80s, and the violent euphoria of the music scene. The hard-edged settings highlight the touching vulnerability of young characters.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Henderson proves herself to be an expert ethnographer; her detail work is phenomenal…But her characterizations demonstrate Henderson’s greatest skill. Even the ones who receive comparatively little stage time are always precisely defined…Not all of these characters are particularly appealing, but they’re memorable, and Henderson’s affection for them is palpable.”

    Washington Post

  • “I loved Ten Thousand Saints; again and again I was stopped cold by beautiful chapter-ending sentences. I remember this Manhattan, the Sunday matinees at CB’s, the rage over yuppies colonizing the East Village.”

    Dean Wareham, lead singer of Galaxie 500 and Luna and author of Black Postcards

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the July 2011 Indie Next List
  • A 2011 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2011 Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Prize for First Fiction Finalist
  • One of the 2011 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Scott | 2/20/2014

    " Yeah, I wasn't really convinced by Eleanor Henderson's too-long debut novel, set in New York City and southern Vermont in the early 1980s and starring a bunch of teenagers who, at various points, lose their virginity, smoke a lot of weed, huff freon, have a baby, get abandoned by their parents, die, live in Alphabet City squats, get AIDS, get tattoos, get in fights, and, for a big chunk of the book, play in a straight edge band and espouse the whole don't drink/smoke/fuck (also, here: /eat meat) lifestyle. Sounds promising, right? And the NYTBR gave it great front-page review, but really, the whole thing--the tone, the dialogue, the characters and their actions--seemed dangerously close to a YA book. Like, I kinda expected Johnny and Ponyboy to stroll onto the scene at any moment. Also: I didn't buy several key relationships, which provide the motivation for much of the narrative (and so, obviously, I didn't believe much of the narrative). Also, the settings felt forced, especially in the EVill. Basically it felt like Henderson did a lot research about the era, but no way did she live it. 2.5 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 2/12/2014

    " Deeply disturbing but couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie Shaurette | 1/28/2014

    " Realistic, fully developed characters populate this heartfelt coming-of-age story set in the late 80s. Yes I'm a sucker for a good NYC read, not to mention one dealing with the complexities of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but this one is worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tobi Kramer | 1/26/2014

    " I thought this was just an ok book. There were just some things I couldnt find believable, or relate to. "

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

    " I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to read about a place and situation i'm not familiar with, especialy since I'm close to the same age as the characters in the book. Reading about people's drug problems doesn't always sound like fun to me, but i enjoyed how Henderson showed the change in a person's list from drugs to their kind of religion. It's kind of a dark book, so i wouldn't read it if you're wanting something warm and fuzzy. But I would recommend it to someone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lou King | 1/20/2014

    " quick engrossing read with an overall likable cast of characters. After I finished the book I read the reading group questions. one asked, which was the best parent. I find myself going to Harriet, and wonder am I wrong? "

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

    " I was drawn to this book because of it's setting in Burlington, VT. where my son Kevin attended UVM for one year. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 11/25/2013

    " A great read...unique characters, interesting plot line with a variety of twists. Henderson's writing style keeps the reader interested in the main character as well as the few minor characters on the periphery. Definitely worth picking up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Remy Kothe | 10/21/2013

    " Really good. Excellent characters. She nailed northeast coming of age in the 80s...ugh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scputval | 9/1/2013

    " Very readable. Big cast of characters. But sometimes the plot seemed absurd. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lola425 | 8/19/2013

    " Liked all the characters, although I found Johnny and Rooster's relationship the most interesting. I missed Teddy throughout the whole book so Jude, Johnny, and Eliza's motivations and actions felt real to me. Loved the setting and think it really captured the straight edge scene. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Georgette | 1/17/2013

    " The 80's straight edge scene is a backdrop to this story. Jude and Teddy are best friends, the friendship broken only by the unexpected and shattering death of Teddy. Jude goes to pieces, his relationship with his independently-thinking mother, absent but loving father, and petulant sister g "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sheila | 11/3/2012

    " Didn't like it nor finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 HiphopQuyn | 10/21/2012

    " this book grew on me. it's a very vivid picture of a group of kids growing up in vermont and new york in the eighties. the writing is so gripping that although the first sentence of the book tells you that one of the main characters is about to die, I still felt shocked when it happened! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarahjane | 9/22/2012

    " It's like the Outsiders for straight edge. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki Madden | 8/14/2012

    " Good book. Easy quick read.The author is good at leading the reader into the next chapter. I gave it three starts because it just didn't jump out at me as fantastic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Earnie | 7/13/2012

    " Didn't want this to end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kari | 6/23/2011

    " This book made Franzen look warm & fuzzy at first. Bloomed into more than was expected. Startling & beautiful, sometimes challenging. Reminiscent of "Angels In America" & "Rent" but with that straight edge that's unexpected, "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brian | 6/19/2011

    " While it's not horribly written, the story line is too difficult to follow at times and jumps around way too much. I can appreciate where the author was trying to go with this, but i simply couldn't get into it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linnet | 6/19/2011

    " The night Jude's friend Teddy dies from an overdose, Teddy impregnated Eliza. Jude, at sixteen, begins a journey from drugs to straight-edge (no drugs, no sex, no meat.) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki | 6/17/2011

    " Good book. Easy quick read.The author is good at leading the reader into the next chapter. I gave it three starts because it just didn't jump out at me as fantastic. "

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