The First Desire: A Novel Audiobook, by Nancy Reisman Play Audiobook Sample

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Author: Nancy Reisman Narrator: Bernadette Dunne Publisher: Random House Audio Audio Length: Release Date: September 2004 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9780739317648

Publisher Description

1929. Buffalo, New York. A beautiful July day, the kind one waits for through the long, cold winters. Sadie Feldstein, née Cohen, looks out her window at the unexpected sight of her brother, Irving. His news is even more unexpected, and unsettling: their elder sister, Goldie, has vanished without a trace. With Goldie’s disappearance as the catalyst, The First Desire takes us deep into the life of the Cohen family and an American city, from the Great Depression to the years immediately following World War II. The story of the Cohens is seamlessly told from the various perspectives of siblings Sadie, Jo, Goldie, and Irving—each of whose worlds is upended over the course of the novel, the smooth veneer of their lives giving way to the vulnerabilities and secrets they’ve managed to keep hidden—and through the eyes of Lillian, the beautiful woman their father, Abe, took as a lover as his wife was dying. But while Abe’s affair with Lillian stuns his children, they are even more shocked by his cold anger in the wake of Goldie’s disappearance. The First Desire is a book of great emotional power that brings to life the weave of love, grief, tradition, and desire that binds a family together, even through the tumultuous times that threaten to tear it apart.

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Quotes

  • “Nancy Reisman has written a book in which the sentences are so lush, the characters are so vivid, and the story is so compelling, I felt I had stepped inside the world she created and had taken up residence. I want to tell you how much I loved it there. The First Desire is not a book to be merely read. It is a book to be lived.”

    - Ann Patchett, New York Times author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto
  • “Reisman’s hypnotic prose makes her…characters live. And her sympathy and wealth of detail make the Cohens’ world our own: specific, inescapably flawed, unpredictably meaningful, and very, very real.”

    - People
  • “A book of rhythms and reveries…Rich in atmosphere…The First Desire is a mystery story, left unsolved because the mystery is identity itself.”

    - New York Times Book Review
  • “Accomplished…Reisman’s sumptuous prose, and her canny knowledge of the corrosive ways an average family can come apart, make The First Desire a lovely, absorbing companion.”

    - Entertainment Weekly (reader’s choice)
  • “A superb new writer…Reisman, whose sensually charged, often outright stunning style strongly evokes Virginia Woolf…proves herself a rare master of internal drama, able to isolate the moment that effects a sea change within a lifetime of compromise.”

    - Vogue
  • “A continuing testament to the paradoxical ease with which family ties unravel…Intensely affecting and thought-provoking.”

    - Washington Post Book World
  • “A debut of luminous, distinctive quality…This is a writer quietly taking her own bold course, and to travel with her as she does is a joy.”

    - Boston Globe
  • “A triumph…[Reisman] proves herself Virginia Woolf’s equal in sketching how interior vistas can collide with exterior limits in women’s lives. The First Desire is a marvelous testament to how family can both sustain and destroy us, a delicate dance through the family minefields, written in language both limpid and wise…We will not have room to say enough [about] the wonder of Reisman’s prose.”

    - Detroit Free Press
  • “Intense and moving…Aside from the grace of the writing, The First Desire astonishes most in the intimacy it grants us with five fully realized characters.”

    - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • “Haunting…Reisman’s genius [is having] produced a book that generates its own world and holds the reader captive, willingly, to its landscape. Reisman creates this miracle through the power of her writing.”

    - San Francisco Chronicle

Awards

  • One of the 2004 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Customer Reviews

Write a Review
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Beautiful, sad, tender. "

    - Cathann403, 7/29/2013
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " A really great book. It held my interest right from the start; wondering what happened to the missing sister, Goldie. "

    - Diane, 5/29/2013
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " I read this in 2006 and absolutely loved it. The language, the secrets, the slow accretion of life . . . am now listening to the audiobook. Looking forward to Reisman's next book. "

    - Sara, 11/15/2012
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " 3 1/2 stars. Really good & very well- written. "

    - Alexis, 9/5/2012
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " I love that this book takes place in Western NY. The writing is fabulous and Reisman captures the essence of everyday life and life over time perfectly. "

    - Nancy, 4/5/2011
  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

    " [snide comment redacted due to feelings of guilt] "

    - Geoffrey, 1/3/2011
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " I liked this book. It told the story from the perspective of the different complex and flawed siblings. I recommend the book. "

    - Sharon, 11/13/2010
  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

    " I tried for 25 pages but I just couldn't muster up any interest in Goldie's disappearance or how her family felt about it. "

    - Deanna, 4/29/2010
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " I love that this book takes place in Western NY. The writing is fabulous and Reisman captures the essence of everyday life and life over time perfectly. "

    - Nancy, 4/3/2010
  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

    " I tried for 25 pages but I just couldn't muster up any interest in Goldie's disappearance or how her family felt about it. "

    - Deanna, 1/2/2008
  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

    " [snide comment redacted due to feelings of guilt] "

    - Geoffrey, 10/6/2007
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " 3 1/2 stars. Really good & very well- written. "

    - Alexis, 8/5/2007

About the Author

Nancy Reisman is the author of House Fires, a short story collection that won the 1999 Iowa Short Fiction Award. Her work has appeared in, among other anthologies and journals, Best American Short Stories 2001, Tin House, and the Kenyon Review. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She lives in Ann Arbor, where she currently teaches creative writing at the University of Michigan.

About the Narrator

Bernadette Dunne is the winner of more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. She studied at the Royal National Theatre in London and the Studio Theater in Washington, DC, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center and off Broadway.