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Download The Book of Jonas Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Book of Jonas, by Stephen Dau Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (733 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen Dau Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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An exceptional debut novel about a young Muslim war orphan whose family is killed in a military operation gone wrong and the American soldier to whom his fate—and survival—is bound

Jonas is fifteen when his family is killed during an errant United States military operation in an unnamed Muslim country. With the help of an international relief organization, he is sent to America, where he struggles to assimilate—foster family, school, a first love. Eventually he tells a court-mandated counselor and therapist about a US soldier, Christopher Henderson, responsible for saving his life on the tragic night in question.

Christopher’s mother, Rose, has dedicated her life to finding out what really happened to her son, who disappeared after the raid in which Jonas’ village was destroyed. When Jonas meets Rose, a shocking and painful secret gradually surfaces from the past and builds to a shattering conclusion that haunts long after the final sentence. Told in spare, evocative prose, The Book of Jonas is about memory, about the terrible choices made during war, and about what happens when foreign disaster appears at our own doorstep. It is a rare and virtuosic novel from an exciting new writer to watch.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “With its spare prose and nuanced plot that loops back and forth chronologically, Dau’s first novel is an absolutely compelling account of the damage done to all sides by armed conflict. An essential addition to the literature of war.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Dau’s novel offers deeply resonating truths about war and culture, about family and loss that only art can reveal. A literary tour de force.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Narrator Simon Vance brings the brittle and tremulous text into a heartbreaking, blooming presence.”

    Library Journal (starred) Audio Review

  • “Intriguing characters reveal the effects of war on both victim and victimizer, and raise important questions about the emotional implications of modern warfare.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Narrator Simon Vance infuses urgency into the sparse prose and gripping events…He delivers the narration at a rapid pace that mimics the turbulent thoughts of the main character as well as the unfolding of elements of the plot.”


  • “A sobering and accomplished read meant to prick the conscience; highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by The Loopy Librarian | 2/1/2014

    " The Book of Jonas is an elegantly written book that stimulates thought and emotion while challenging conventional viewpoints on war and religion. While I didn't necessarily agree with the actions or beliefs of the main characters, I was fascinated and empathetic. The sparse prose and short chapters meant no word was wasted and the story moved quickly between past and present and various points of view. I was profoundly moved by this engrossing book that packed a powerful punch in nearly poetic fashion. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Marie Rossi | 1/22/2014

    " Couldn't get note rested enough to complete it. Pretty slow moving . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ann Schaffer | 1/19/2014

    " I listened to this book on round trip between Waterloo, Iowa and Chicago, Illinois. What an enjoyable drive! The Book of Jonas tells the story of a war refugee from the middle east. The story is a mix of memories from Jonas' youth, events of the war, and his struggle to cope in the US. It is brilliantly writen. The author knows just what to leave out, if that makes sense. He gives clues, but lets the reader put the puzzle together. It would be a wonderful discussion book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Pam Gardow | 1/13/2014

    " Heartbreaking look at war through the eyes of a Muslim teen and a young GI after a village is mistakenly targeted and innocents are killed. This is one of my favorite new books!! "

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About the Author
Author Stephen Dau

Stephen Dau worked for ten years in postwar reconstruction and international development prior to studying creative writing at Johns Hopkins University and Bennington, where he received an MFA. His work has appeared in McSweeny’s, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, on MSNBC, and elsewhere. The Book of Jonas is his first novel. Originally from western Pennsylvania, he currently resides in Brussels.