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Extended Audio Sample The Brothers K Audiobook, by David James Duncan Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (6,251 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David James Duncan Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2008 ISBN: 9781455193370
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David James Duncan’s first novel, The River Why, met with such enthusiastic praise for its journey of self-discovery that it became a contemporary classic, with readers comparing Duncan to J. D. Salinger, Ken Kesey, and John Irving. In The Brothers K, Duncan amplifies this considerable accomplishment with a tender and powerful story that centers around a Pacific Northwest family in the early 1960s.

The Chance family is wild about baseball and cantankerous about religion. Papa is a gifted but luckless minor-league pitcher whose big-league hopes are fading. Mama is a devout Seventh Day Adventist, constantly in motion to save her wayward sons. When a mill accident crushes Papa’s thumb and Mama’s inexplicable fanaticism threatens to shred what little the family has in common, parents and children find themselves embattled over the ideals represented by baseball and religion.

It is young Kincaid, the easygoing middle child, who chronicles the humor and spiritual beliefs that alternately sustain and confound this family in a small Washington mill town. And it is through his maturing voice, as his brothers leave town to enter one of the country’s most bewildering decades, that we hear the inescapable tensions wrought from one American generation testing another’s vulnerabilities. Through the Chances, David James Duncan asks sublime questions about life, self-sacrifice, and enduring love in an ever changing world.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The pages of The Brothers K sparkle!”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Duncan is a wonderfully engaging writer.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “This ambitious book succeeds on almost every level and every page.”

    USA Today

  • “A stunning work: a complex tapestry of family tensions, baseball, politics, and religion, by turns hilariously funny and agonizingly sad.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “If John Irving reimagined The Brothers Karamazov as one of his kooky families and Thomas Pynchon did a rewrite, the result might be something close to this…it scores a home run.”

    Library Journal

  • “Marvelously detailed and poignant, and a garden of delights for baseball lovers.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A family drama of the highest order…Look no further for some of the most fallible, lovable, and utterly absorbing characters in modern literature.”

    Powells.com Staff Pick

  • Winner of the American Library Association Best Book Award
  • A New York Times Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/13/2014

    " Possibly my favorite novel of all time, competing with Potok's The Chosen. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aimee | 2/8/2014

    " This book is epic. 5 brothers growing up in the sixties. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather the Hillbilly Banjo Queen | 2/1/2014

    " Duncan's use of language is amazing! That is a sad little explanation describing what he does and why this book is so great. He is just so honest with everything. I loved every second of this book and laughed until I cried while reading it. When you are done with the book, each main character has become someone you know personally and you love them and don't want it to end. I do have to warn the people that don't like to read salty language...it's in here. Beware. OK, I've done my duty. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 H. Ryan | 1/30/2014

    " (Thanks James, why didn't I read this years ago when you recommended it?) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pegeen Mulhern | 1/30/2014

    " Excellent writing, insightful look at family life and the sixties "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brandon | 1/29/2014

    " This is my all time favorite book. Duncan manages to delve into a families life and love for one another without being cheesy. He is also insightful and hilarious. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 1/23/2014

    " Such a great novel, the writing was delicious - so well crafted! Amazing family saga, and if you're familiar with "The Brothers Karamazov" you'll get a kick out of the subtle similarities to the three brothers... Just beautiful, moving and a pleasure to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joel | 1/20/2014

    " One of my favorite books. Set in Vietnam era and as the first description I encountered of it read "about the important things in life: God, family, and baseball." Funny and marvelous. Re-read every 1-2 years. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marsena Dufresne | 1/18/2014

    " I hatehatehate baseball, but Duncan is such an excellent author, I actually cared about the father's baseball career. I loved this family and the book feels new every time I read it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steve | 1/11/2014

    " This went no where. Had no interest in it after 50 pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly | 1/10/2014

    " A beautiful novel that chronicles an amazing family through the eyes of one of the brothers "K". I laughed, I cried, and was sad to tell the characters goodbye. What more can you ask? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 emily robinson | 1/5/2014

    " One of my all-time favorites. Awesome character development. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 BlueLikeTheSky | 12/30/2013

    " It's been years since I read this book in my Oregon bookgroup, although my Texas book group read it this year (yeah, I know,l am a slacker). My memory (as the estrogen pours out of my brain) is of a wonderful tale masterfully told. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Renel Ralston | 12/16/2013

    " This is one of those books that you get so involved with that you feel like you are part of the family. You laugh, you cry. You never want this book to end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leah VanderStoep | 12/10/2013

    " This is a great book about family, relationships, baseball, and love. This may be the only time in my life I experience a deep appreciation for baseball. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katrina | 4/24/2013

    " Other people get just as annoyed as I do about mixing up "your" and "you're." :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karlie | 4/23/2013

    " I got so attached to the characters and to the Chance family in general. Definitely a page-turner and I loved his writing style. Awesome book! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Zach | 4/20/2013

    " 80 pages is enough to tell you if something is worth finishing. Not worth finishing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ltshaw | 3/23/2013

    " Family, religion, politics and baseball!! This book has it all and is told in such an endearing tone you don't want to put it down and can even be heard chuckling out loud while reading. Highly recommend. Good for women but especially for guys that like baseball. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kerrycapp | 2/8/2013

    " Great book about family, especially the complexity of sibling relationships. Once it got going I couldn't put it down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashleigh | 11/24/2012

    " Ryan introduced this book to me when we were dating...awesome! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frances | 6/8/2012

    " Incredible - excellent read and I'm not a baseball fan. this book made me laugh and weep - themes of family, love, war, baseball, growing up, pacific northwest - all wrapped into a sweeping saga that is beautifully written. Highly recommend "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 3/20/2012

    " READ THIS. Lots of laughs and tears. Just wonderful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roy Howard | 11/24/2011

    " A novel that combines American history, cultural criticism, philosophy, theology, family relations and especially baseball with remarkable humor throughout the sprawling story. This is a classic and now is the best season of the year to read it again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karyn | 10/16/2011

    " Its been a really long time since I was so fully engaged in a story. The characters are so very realistic that it is hard to believe that they do not exist outside of David James Duncan's mind. Amazing, amazing, amazing. I recommend it to everyone. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 LauraLee | 9/14/2011

    " Stroy was great and I could really relate to the big family aspects. Little too much profanity for my liking, but a great story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracywendt Wendt | 7/11/2011

    " I can't believe I finally finished it! I had a hard time with the first half, but the second half was un-put-down-able. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill Casali | 7/9/2011

    " Loved it. Would give it 5 stars but I had a hard time getting through some of Peter & Everett's college days...this may or may not be due to pregnancy brain. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Conrad | 6/22/2011

    " What a creative author! Why hasn't he published any new books in the past 15 years? The use of four letter words keeps me from recommending it to others though they were appropriate in context. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ariel | 6/17/2011

    " Wow! Completely new take on the Brothers Karamazov! Not aligned enough to be plagiarism, but reminiscent of the style (anecdotal, drawn-out, etc.) of Dostoevsky and carrying vague plot references, enough for me to be just satisfied. Also completely hilarious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 6/4/2011

    " Great read. Really well written. Not often I can enjoy a book that delves into religion as much as this one did. Can get a little scattered and long winded at times. Helps to enjoy baseball. I'm sure there are some deeper meanings I missed but I still liked it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leah | 6/4/2011

    " So good I bought it for my stepdad, and my mother has already stolen it from him. Made me care about baseball.

    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 6/2/2011

    " This sprawling opus chronicles one family's journey from innocence to brokenness and back to something not unlike wholeness. Capturing both the joy and sorrow of coming of age, The Brothers K is a memorable portrait of love and faith that endures the weathering of life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 5/24/2011

    " I'm in the midst of this book, which was highly recommended by a friend. I'm lukewarm on the book. My reading of this has been put aside. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 5/1/2011

    " After a slow start, I soon found that I couldn't put it down. The author is clearly "swinging for the fences" with this one and he is mostly successful (maybe a "triple" anyway). Sort of "Look Homeward Angel" meets Forrest Gump. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 4/22/2011

    " Not going to lie, this book starts getting good at 292...(645pages) if you can hang tough you won't be disappointed. It is definitely something that I would not read unless chosen by my book club, which it was. But I'm very glad that I read it and I really liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 4/5/2011

    " Excellent character book. I thought the first half was better than the second, but it was brought all together again at the end. The characters were entertaining and lovable. An excellent family saga. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 3/31/2011

    " Easily one of my top 5. This is a book that makes you wonder what you love more....the story or the words themselves. Masterful. Was very excited recently to learn this was being assigned in school. Well worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie | 3/15/2011

    " I loved this book. Wow -- such a great story. The last 30-40 pages were serious tear-jerkers. I found myself having a hard time holding back tears on the afternoon ferry commute. "

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About the Author
Author David James Duncan

David James Duncan, novelist, essayist, and fly fisherman, is the award-winning author of two bestselling novels, as well as a collection of short stories and a memoir. His novel The Brothers K won the American Library Association Best Books Award and was a New York Times Notable Book. His work has appeared in Harper’s, Sierra, and Gray’s Sporting Journal. He lives with his family beside a Montana trout stream.

About the Narrator

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.