Download The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying Audiobook

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying Audiobook, by Nina Riggs Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Nina Riggs Narrator: Cassandra Campbell, Kirby Heyborne Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2017 ISBN: 9781508241430
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book)
Regular Price: $17.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $14.95$7.95$7.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )


“Stunning…heartrending…this year’s When Breath Becomes Air.” —Nora Krug, The Washington Post

“Beautiful and haunting.” —Matt McCarthy, MD, USA TODAY

“Deeply affecting…simultaneously heartbreaking and funny.” —People (Book of the Week)

“Vivid, immediate.” —Laura Collins-Hughes, The Boston Globe

Starred reviews from * Kirkus Reviews * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal *

Best Books of 2017 Selection by * The Washington Post *

Most Anticipated Summer Reading Selection by * The Washington Post * Entertainment Weekly * Glamour * The Seattle Times * Vulture * InStyle * Bookpage * Bookriot * Real Simple * The Atlanta Journal-Constitution *

An exquisite memoir about how to live—and love—every day with “death in the room,” from poet Nina Riggs, mother of two young sons and the direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the tradition of When Breath Becomes Air.

“We are breathless, but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other.”

Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer—one small spot. Within a year, the mother of two sons, ages seven and nine, and married sixteen years to her best friend, received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal.

How does one live each day, “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty?

Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, even as she wrestles with the legacy of her great-great-great grandfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nina Riggs’s breathtaking memoir continues the urgent conversation that Paul Kalanithi began in his gorgeous When Breath Becomes Air. She asks, what makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?

Brilliantly written, disarmingly funny, and deeply moving, The Bright Hour is about how to love all the days, even the bad ones, and it’s about the way literature, especially Emerson, and Nina’s other muse, Montaigne, can be a balm and a form of prayer. It’s a book about looking death squarely in the face and saying “this is what will be.”

Especially poignant in these uncertain times, The Bright Hour urges us to live well and not lose sight of what makes us human: love, art, music, words. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Deeply affecting…simultaneously heartbreaking and funny.”


  • “Superb…I put down The Bright Hour a slightly different, and better, person…and also feeling, as Riggs did, ‘the hug of the world.’”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “[This] memoir by a young mother with terminal cancer is touching and wickedly funny.”


  • “A thoughtful and heartbreaking exploration of what makes life meaningful in a person’s remaining days…It’s a book every doctor and patient should read.”

    USA Today (4/4 stars)

  • “Vivid, immediate.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Narrator Cassandra Campbell is just perfect. She matches Riggs’s emotions at every stage, and her lovely smooth voice has a bittersweet quality. The memoir manages to be both entertaining and heartbreaking…The short afterword from Riggs’s husband is narrated by Kirby Heyborne. It feels like losing a beautiful friend when it’s over. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • Washington Post Top 10 Book That We Loved
  • AudioFile Earphones Award Winner
  • New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
  • People Pick of the Week
  • Amazon Best Book of the Month for June 2017
  • Glamour Magazine Pick of Summer Reads
  • Real Simple Pick
  • An NPR Best Book of 2017
  • A Washington Post Best Book of 2017
  • A BookRiot Pick of Incredible Audiobooks

Listener Reviews

Be the first to write a review about this audiobook!
Write a Review

About the Author

Nina Riggs received her MFA in poetry in 2004 and published a book of poems, Lucky, Lucky, in 2009. She wrote about life with metastatic breast cancer on her blog, Suspicious Country, and her work has appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times.

About the Narrators

Cassandra Campbell, Audie Award–nominated narrator and winner of several Earphones Awards, has performed in regional theaters across the country and in several off-Broadway shows at the Public Theater and the Mint Theater. In addition to narrating audiobooks, acting, and directing, she is a commercial and documentary voice-over artist.

Kirby Heyborne is a musician, actor, and professional narrator. Noted for his work in teen and juvenile audio, he has garnered over twenty Earphones Awards. His audiobook credits include Jesse Kellerman’s The Genius, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, and George R. R. Martin’s Selections from Dreamsongs.