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Extended Audio Sample The Black Isle Audiobook, by Sandi Tan Click for printable size audiobook cover
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: Sandi Tan Narrator: Sarah Zimmerman Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9781611134858
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There are ghosts on the Black Isle.
Ghosts that no one can see.
No one … except Cassandra.

Uprooted from Shanghai with her father and twin brother, young Cassandra finds the Black Isle’s bustling, immigrant-filled seaport, swampy jungle, and grand rubber plantations a sharp contrast to the city of her childhood. And she soon makes another discovery: the Black Isle is swarming with ghosts.

Haunted and lonely, Cassandra at first tries to ignore her ability to see the restless apparitions that drift down the street and crouch in cold corners at school. Yet despite her struggles with these spirits, Cassandra comes to love her troubled new home. And soon, she attracts the notice of a dangerously charismatic man.

Even as she becomes a fearless young woman, the Isle’s dark forces won’t let her go. War is looming, and Cassandra wonders if her unique gift might be her beloved island’s only chance for salvation.

Taking listeners from the 1920s through the Japanese occupation during WWII to the Isle’s radical transformation into a gleaming cosmopolitan city, The Black Isle is a sweeping epic—a deeply imagined, fiercely original tale from a vibrant new voice in fiction.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Destined to be among summer’s sleeper hits is filmmaker Sandi Tan’s gulpable first novel…A juicy psychosexual odyssey set against some of the more blood-curdling episodes of twentieth-century Asian history.”


  • On The Black Isle, a young woman grows old with the Twentieth Century, haunting her own life as history conspires to render her a secret. Sweeping in scope, impressively imagined, ruthlessly readable. Steve Erickson, author of These Dreams of You
  • Rich in vivid characters, and written with great imagination and intelligence, The Black Isle is a remarkable novel. A haunting book, mesmerizing in its beauty, which stayed with me long after I finished the last page. Judith Freeman, author of The Long Embrace and Red Water
  • The narrator of The Black Isle recounts her tales of fantastic events -- erotic, supernatural, horrific -- so convincingly that Tarot cards might as well be baseball cards in her book. An irresistible feat of storytelling, The Black Isle blends what Midnight's Children did for the former Bombay with what Dorothy did for Oz. Tom Carson, author of Gilligan's Wake and Daisy Buchanan's Daughter
  • “Beautifully written, with a story line that spans seventy years, The Black Isle is a historical novel that is both breathtaking and haunting. The characters are vivid—some simply charming, some horrifyingly scary—and the plot has so many twists and turns it seems as though you’re reading a winding country road…The Black Isle is an engaging and engrossing novel that will absolutely captivate you and should not be missed. It will take you on a journey you will not soon forget.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Sarah Zimmerman’s performance of Sandi Tan’s debut novel demands attention…Zimmerman recounts Ling’s paranormal, erotic, frequently grotesque observations with controlled understatement. Fascinating.”


  • “Tan’s ambitious debut is a gripping historical novel set on an exotic island…Tan’s imagination seems boundless…Conveying an atmosphere of corruption, violence, and betrayal, Tan anchors the narrative with authoritative details of time and place, and social and ethnic rituals…Mesmerizing.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Tan constructs a debut novel that is beautifully written yet deeply disturbing. Gritty and intensely erotic, it grips readers with Cassandra’s visions while pushing them away with the brutality of her life. Not a story for the faint of heart, it will engage those looking for a gothic depiction of WWII in Asia and the ghosts that haunt us.”

    Library Journal

  • “Tan reveals a rich imagination and a lush style in this first novel…A frequently riveting if grisly story that will sweep readers into the action.”


  • “A cinematically epic ghost story…compelling…ambitious.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “On the Black Isle, a young woman grows old with the twentieth century, haunting her own life as history conspires to render her a secret. Sweeping in scope, impressively imagined, ruthlessly readable.”

    Steve Erickson, author of These Dreams of You

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week
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About the Author
Sandi Tan was born in Singapore, and has an MFA in Film from Columbia University. Her short films have been shown around the world at venues like the New York Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand, MOMA and on the European arts broadcaster, arte. She lives in Pasadena, Calif., with her husband, the culture critic John Powers, and their grouchy Siamese, Nico.
THE BLACK ISLE is her debut novel.
About the Narrator

Sarah Zimmerman is an actress and Audie Award–nominated narrator. She has performed on Broadway, in regional theaters across America, and in numerous guest-starring TV roles. She is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory and the Old Globe/USD.