The Childrens Crusade: A Novel Audiobook, by Ann Packer Play Audiobook Sample

Download The Children's Crusade: A Novel Audiobook

The Childrens Crusade: A Novel Audiobook, by Ann Packer Play Audiobook Sample
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Author: Ann Packer Narrator: Cotter Smith, Santino Fontana, Marin Ireland, Thomas Sadoski, Frederick Weller Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Audio Length: Release Date: April 2015 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781442383883

Publisher Description

From New York Times bestselling, award-winning author Ann Packer, a “tour de force family drama” (Elle) that explores the secrets and desires, the remnant wounds and saving graces of one California family, over the course of five decades.

Bill Blair finds the land by accident, three wooded acres in a rustic community south of San Francisco. The year is 1954, long before anyone will call this area Silicon Valley. Struck by a vision of his future family, Bill buys the property and proposes to Penny Greenway, a woman whose yearning attitude toward life appeals to him. In less than a decade they have four children. Yet Penny is a mercurial housewife, overwhelmed and undersatisfied, chafing at the conventions confining her.

Years later, the three oldest Blair children, adults now and still living near the family home, are disrupted by the return of the youngest, whose sudden presence sets off a struggle over the family’s future. One by one, they tell their stories, which reveal Packer’s “great compassion for her characters, with their ancient injuries, their blundering desires. The way she tangles their perspectives perfectly, painfully captures the tumult of selves within a family” (MORE Magazine).

Reviewers have praised Ann Packer’s “brilliant ear for character” (The New York Times Book Review) and her “naturalist’s vigilance for detail, so that her characters seem observed rather than invented” (The New Yorker). Her talents are on dazzling display in The Children’s Crusade, “an absorbing novel that celebrates family even as it catalogs its damages” (People, Book of the Week). This is a “superb storyteller” (San Francisco Chronicle), Ann Packer’s most deeply affecting book yet, “tragic and utterly engrossing” (O, The Oprah Magazine).

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  • “In The Children’s Crusade, Ann Packer flawlessly executes the most daring, difficult, and exhilarating feat in the novelist’s repertoire: to re-create the history of an era and a place through the history of one family…pulling it off with mastery.”

    - Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
  • “A tour de force family drama…An engrossing saga… Packer brilliantly constructs the siblings’ narratives with both an appealing lightness and an arresting gravitas…Packer’s golden touch makes us care deeply for this memorable tribe.”

    - Elle
  • “Tender, absorbing… Packer has great compassion for her characters, with their ancient injuries, their blundering desires. The way she tangles their perspectives perfectly, painfully captures the tumult of selves within a family.”

    - More
  • “An artful portrait of a California family.”

    - Vanity Fair
  • “If Robert, Ryan, Rebecca, and James are the storytellers here, it is their mother Penny who is the heart of the book…In vigilant detail, Packer chronicles the seemingly tiny ways that personal needs and memories from childhood make us the people we can’t help but be for the rest of our lives.”

    -, editorial review
  • “Packer offers a flawless, compassionate portrayal of each family member at both their best and worst and shows what a strong hold the past has on the present. Literary fiction at its finest. Highly recommended.”

    - Library Journal (starred review)
  • “A quiet novel with unexpected power…This wise and emotionally resonant story captures the long-rippling effects of family relationships.”

    - BookPage
  • “Told in the most elegant prose…extraordinarily compassionate…A masterful portrait of indelible family bonds.”

    - Booklist (starred review)
  • “Packer is an expert at complicated relationships…Beautifully precise prose… A marvelously absorbing novel.”

    - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • “This audiobook is expansive in its narrative voices as well as its narrative scope…Cotter Smith et al. are expressive narrators as the novel’s points of view shift from chapter to chapter. As each narrator portrays one of the Blair siblings, their individual voices blend beautifully with those of the surrounding chapters, creating a true familial effect. The strong quality in each voice not only provides aural unity but also propels the listener forward. Flawlessly paced and produced, this is an outstanding listen. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    - AudioFile
  • “A coming-of-age tale of family as well as an American pastoral; the language is beautiful, painterly…Ann Packer’s eye for detail, her genius at evoking an era with such faithfulness, and her mastery of story make us identify with and deeply care for her characters.”

    - Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
  • “In shimmering prose and with exceptional wisdom, Ann Packer examines the life of a California family, laying bare the relationships between brother and sister, parent and child, while at the same time revealing the ways in which the past casts both shadow and light on the present.”

    - Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train


  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for April 2015
  • A BookPage Top Pick in Literary Fiction for April 2015
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A People Magazine Best Book of 2015

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About the Author

Ann Packer is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Songs Without Words and The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, the latter of which received a Great Lakes Book Award, an American Library Association Award, and the Kate Chopin Literary Award. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, the Washington Post, Vogue, and Real Simple. She lives in northern California with her family.

About the Narrators

Cotter Smith is an American actor of stage, film, and television. As an audiobook narrator, he has won two Earphones Awards and was a finalist in 1997 for the prestigious Audie Award.

Santino Fontana is a stage actor, director, and composer. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program and recently provided the voice of Prince Hans in Frozen. In 2015 he became the first guest artist to perform three times in the space of one year with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Marin Ireland is a voice artist who has won five Earphones Awards as well as the prestigious Audie Award for Best Female Narration in 2020. She is an award-winning actress known for her starring role in the Broadway show Reasons to Be Pretty, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. She has appeared in a number of off-Broadway shows and television series, including Homeland, Unforgettable, The Killing, The Following, and others.