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Extended Audio Sample The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart: A Novel, by Mathias Malzieu Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,113 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mathias Malzieu Narrator: Jim Dal Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Edinburgh, 1874. Born with a frozen heart, Jack is near dead when his mother abandons him to the care of Dr. Madeleine—witch doctor, midwife, protector of orphans—who saves Jack by placing a cuckoo clock in his chest. It is in her orphanage that Jack grows up, amid tear-filled flasks, eggs containing memories, and a man with a musical spine. Dr. Madeleine warns Jack that his heart is too fragile for strong emotions: he must never, ever fall in love. But of course, he does, on his tenth birthday, and with head-over-heels abandon, for a bespectacled young street performer with a soul-stirring voice. But it’s not only Jack’s heart that’s at risk, it’s his very life. Now begins a wild journey of escape and pursuit, from Edinburgh to Paris to Andalusia, where Jack will finally learn the great joys—and the greater costs—of owning a fully formed heart.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Malzieu’s prose is distinctly original, spitting and fizzing with unique similes and striking metaphors, wonderfully translated by Sarah Ardizzone.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Affords considerable escapist pleasures…Malzieu sketches European landscapes and crafts figurative language with irresistible relish…Calling to mind a host of cultural touchstones, from Pinocchio to The Wizard of Oz, this kaleidoscopic picaresque will enchant many adults and young people alike.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This delightful fantasy contains all the components of a traditional fairy tale, but Malzieu’s rich, often sexual, imagery carries it to a much more adult level. The celebrated Jim Dale is an inspired choice to present this quirky take on a timeless love story. His lovely English accent, gift for creating voices, and mastery of pace and intensity make this performance a real treat…Dale’s skills will enthrall adult listeners as they enjoy the magic of Malzieu’s enticing tale. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “Malzieu uses vivid metaphors and fantastical inventions to craft a beautifully written tale of love, both maternal and romantic…not unlike a Tim Burton film—dreamy, dark, and magical.”

    Library Journal

  • “Malzieu’s dark, fanciful Tim Burton-esque story is dually delightful and sorrowful. Multiple Grammy, Tony, and Audie award winner Jim Dale infuses his inimitable charm into this French fable, bringing it vividly to life.”

    Library Journal (starred audio review)

  • “A phantasmagorical novel.”


  • “Music from Malzieu’s band Dionysos is seamlessly and appropriately included at the beginning and end of the story. Jim Dale, talented narrator of the Harry Potter series and many other audio titles, captures the beautiful language of this novel in a fully-voiced reading. Jack’s Scottish accent is gentle and easily understood, and the voices of other characters are easily distinguishable. Older teen and adult listeners are in for a treat with this recording. Some graphic sex and language.”


  • Audie Award Finalist
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2010AudioFile Best Book of the Year

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jess | 12/17/2013

    " This book was absolutely wonderful. I read it in less than a day, it was fun and interesting and the language was beautiful. I would definitely recommend it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Irene | 9/12/2013

    " Este libro es de esa clase que, aunque es muy sencillo, te mueve emociones y te hace reflexionar un poco. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Nitasia | 1/10/2013

    " Fantastic, love the depth of imaginative detail! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Nadia | 10/11/2012

    " Mi aspettavo di meglio. Comunque di facile lettura. "

  • > Show All
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About the Author
Author Mathias Malzieu

Mathias Malzieu is the lead singer of the French rock band Dionysos. The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart is the basis for an album that he wrote, and he will codirect an animated feature-film adaptation, optioned by Luc Besson. This is his third novel and the first to be translated into English. Born in 1974 in Montpellier, he now lives in Paris.