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Extended Audio Sample The Dead Do Not Improve Audiobook, by Jay Caspian Kang Click for printable size audiobook cover
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (338 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jay Caspian Kang Narrator: Feodor Chin Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9780449011218
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On a residential Bay Area block struggling with the collision of gentrifier condos and longtime residents, stymied recent MFA grad Philip Kim is sleeping the night away when bullets fly through a window in his apartment building and end up killing one of his neighbors. Philip only learns about the murder the next day when bored and Googling himself. But when he gets caught up in the investigation and becomes the focus of an elaborate, violent scheme, he will learn far more than he ever wanted to about his former four-eggs-at-a-time borrowing neighbor Dolores Stone, a.k.a. “The Grey Beaver,” and her shocking connections to an underworld only a city like this one could create.

Siddhartha “Sid” Finch, a homicide detective bitter about everything except his gorgeous wife, and his phlegmatic, pock-marked partner Jim Kim, land the case. Sid and Jim race after Philip through a menacing, unknowable San Francisco fending off militant surfers, vaguely European cafés, and aggressive Advanced Creative Writing students as they all try to figure out just who’s causing trouble in this city they love to hate. 

Exceedingly unique, pulsing with vigor and heart, and loaded with fierce, fresh language, The Dead Do Not Improve confirms Jay Caspian Kang as a true American original as obsessed with surfing and surviving as with the power of unforgettable storytelling.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christopher Cariola | 2/15/2014

    " It is a fast paced easy read that surely would make for an interesting movie adaption. Unique style by King in using two different perspectives from two fun characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonty Lombard | 1/18/2014

    " Humorous insight into a korean-americans take on american pop culture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jesse | 1/8/2014

    " This book was written by and features as a main character a guy who went to Bowdoin and then moved to San Francisco. If you did neither, then my review will probably not be much help (though it may be transferrable to other NESCAC schools). Those of you who went to Bowdoin may remember Jay from hating on everything in Ritalin magazine, while also appearing to really enjoy life. That still captures his style pretty well. And there's plenty to hate on in San Francisco and New England small college culture, which same as in Ritalin magazine, I found really amusing. The book had a lot of literary references and of those, the ones that I got I also really enjoyed. So for those who enjoy weirdness, negativity, San Francisco, and New England (or hate either of those last two) I highly recommend this book. If you dislike either of the first two, then steer clear. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa Beaulieu | 1/5/2014

    " Let me say right off the bat, I have no idea - literally none - what happened in this book at the end, how the "mystery" was resolved. And yet, I still liked it very much. It made me laugh out loud at places - I am not sure, but I think that having myself been an east-coast transplant living in SF Bay area made me appreciate the humor more than some might. For instance, he calls his anonymous neighbor "Performance Fleece". If that doesn't make you laugh right now, this might not be the book for you. Or it might be, hell I don't know, I didn't get 50% of it at all. Like, I bet a surfer would have been howling when the characters were on the beach arguing, but the lingo went right over my head. And tho I have no idea why the homeless man was giving a performance at the end, or why people started shooting, there was something so cynically true and funny about San Franciscans putting some poor schizophrenic schmuck onstage and mistaking it for art, that I went along with it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 David Parks | 12/20/2013

    " Just couldn't get into this book. It failed to draw me in from the start and page after page the spark I was hoping for just never happened. Not a terrible book, just not for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lacy Lalonde | 12/15/2013

    " Excellent read. I thought about this book every minute when I wasnt reading it. AND I learned some things. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 12/3/2013

    " Thought this was pretty good. Snappy prose, the occasional Tolstoy-ism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lucas | 11/11/2013

    " Fun, quick read. I was hooked from the start, but the ending felt tacked on and kept me from giving it five stars. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Edna B | 6/8/2013

    " i had a few hours to kill and left my nook at home.....the first hundred pages of this book felt so effort-full to get through it was stressing me out....so i put it down.....and thank god i didn't waste another minute of my life. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christine | 11/14/2012

    " The writing was good, the reflections on an immigrant experience thoughtful, and the sendup of Cafe Gratitude hilarious and spot-on. But the plot was completely unintelligible. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharon Pelletier | 11/7/2012

    " Odd, dark, comical, confusing - brought to mind Steve Erickson and David Foster Wallace. The city of San Francisco is a character in the melee, and the most vivid one at that. I need to read it again and make a flow chart! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeri | 10/1/2012

    " This book was very hard for me to read through. I'm not sure if it was because of the style of writing, the not so lovable characters, or all the references to current culture but something just did not come together for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mcquilzniaks | 9/1/2012

    " So unique I was a bit confused at times. Like an acid trip when there are gaps of time that just whip forward and all of a sudden you are surfing with a dolphin "

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About the Author

Jay Caspian Kang was born in Seoul and grew up in North Carolina. He is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and works as an editor at Grantland. He lives in Los Angeles.

About the Narrator

Feodor Chin is a two-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award. He is an actor classically trained at the American Conservatory Theater and UCLA. His acting career includes numerous credits in film, television, theater, and voice-over. For more information please visit FeodorChin.com.