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Extended Audio Sample The Grief of Others Audiobook, by Leah Hager Cohen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,390 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Leah Hager Cohen Narrator: Pam Ward Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2011 ISBN: 9781452674629
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Is keeping a secret from a spouse always an act of infidelity? And what cost does such a secret exact on a family?

The Ryries have suffered a loss: the death of a baby just fifty-seven hours after his birth. Without words to express their grief, the parents, John and Ricky, try to return to their previous lives. Struggling to regain a semblance of normalcy for themselves and for their two older children, they find themselves pretending not only that little has changed, but that their marriage and their family have always been intact. Yet in the aftermath of the baby’s death, long-suppressed uncertainties about their relationship come roiling to the surface. A dreadful secret emerges with reverberations that reach far into their past and threaten their future.

The couple’s children, ten-year-old Biscuit and thirteen-year-old Paul, responding to the unnamed tensions around them, begin to act out in exquisitely—perhaps courageously—idiosyncratic ways. But as the four family members scatter into private, isolating grief, an unexpected visitor arrives, and they all find themselves growing more alert to the sadness and burdens of others—to the grief that is part of every human life but that also carries within it the power to draw us together.

Moving, psychologically acute, and gorgeously written, The Grief of Others asks how we balance personal autonomy with the intimacy of relationships, how we balance private decisions with the obligations of belonging to a family, and how we take measure of our own sorrows in a world rife with suffering. This novel shows how one family, by finally allowing itself to experience the shared quality of grief, is able to rekindle tenderness and hope.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Cohen’s stunning writing and ruthless, beautiful magnification of soul-crushing sorrow that threatens the Ryries’ day-to-day family life mesmerizes, wounds, and possibly even heals her readers. Her courageous novel (she knows of what she writes) is to be savored.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “This is an ambitious novel offering insight into the rift between the public and the private, and illuminating the many ways in which we deal with tragedy.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An engrossing and revealing look at family…Leah Hager Cohen writes about difficult subjects with unfailing compassion and insight.”

    Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children

  • “With gorgeous prose, Cohen skillfully takes us from past to present and back again as she explores the ramifications of family loss, grief, and longing.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindi | 2/15/2014

    " This novel is so rich with emotion and imagery, with well-developed, multi-faceted characters. I wanted to savor every word - a beautiful read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 1/30/2014

    " I really liked this book, even though it was far from a "happy" read. For a librarian, I suck at writing reviews, so I will just say that it was very atmospheric, and one of those books where I had no trouble at all picturing the scenes. Would make a great basis for an Indie film. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra Morris | 1/14/2014

    " This is a heartbreaking book; I especially liked the characterization of the son Paul. A quiet, moving novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy | 1/12/2014

    " Excellent Book, such great characters! I read it on the Kindle and loved it so much I bought a hard copy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol Cantrell | 1/1/2014

    " A good, thought provoking booking. Well worth reading. I liked the central family and then the others who made up the extended family unit, very well developed. It was nice to read a book with a tough theme that actually ends up on a solid upbeat. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ivy | 10/15/2013

    " There were some interesting parts and relationships, but something about the way the story was written made it hard for me to really sympathize and care about any of the characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Ratkowski | 9/4/2013

    " Writing was beautiful - not a quick, easy read but definitely worthwhile. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kendra | 9/2/2013

    " I didn't hate this book or like it much. It had little impact on me despite it being about a very emotional loss that I thought would be touching and raw. It didn't get there for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 8/16/2013

    " More like three and a half stars. This is a finely drawn portrait of a family how their lives are shaped by grief, and secrets, and how they find ways to move on. There's not much 'happening' it's just a very quiet, interior sort of book. Well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marisa | 7/13/2013

    " I love a book that has such powerful emotional, you just can't help becoming invested in it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristin P | 7/1/2013

    " Beautifully written with details and emotion. A true look inside a family, she is such a good writer that I felt sad reading it because all of the characters are dealing with such loss and how to cope. "

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

    " A story about how loss and secrets affect a family and the individuals in the family. A good, painful read with some insights into grief and loss. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie Aschenbrenner | 10/15/2012

    " Wow! I really took my time and savored this one. The writing was just lyrical! I would have to stop and really contemplate, she had such a wonderful way of saying things! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 7/1/2012

    " Beautiful writing of a blah story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Betsy | 5/21/2012

    " Would give it 3.5 stars. Many beautiful passages, but not sustained. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kb | 3/22/2012

    " Pregnancy and dead babies. Oh my. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lise | 1/22/2012

    " Beautifully written and provocative portrait of a couple whose relationship fissures become cracks when they retreat from one another to handle their grief instead of sharing it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lorna | 11/21/2011

    " Enjoyed the writing style, but hated the very last chapter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 11/2/2011

    " Wonderful characters and writing. The story is not linear and that annoyed me occasionally when I really interested in one chapter and wanted to see what happened next. The book is about how a family and a young man deal with death. It is not upbeat but definitely worth the read.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 10/27/2011

    " A lovely novel about a family as it deals--or doesn't deal--with grief after the loss of a baby. the author DOES NOT PRESS--and the result is beautiful and very touching . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 10/25/2011

    " I liked this book a lot. Chapters took turns focusing on each of the six characters, all of them interesting, very real. Like the way she ended the book, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 10/22/2011

    " I wanted to like this much more than I did. Would have given it 2 1/2, but raised to 3 since couldnt lump with other 2-star books. Another dysfunctional family tale that just was. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcia | 10/21/2011

    " Not quite 3 stars, but more than 2. I liked the morose title, and not unexpectedly, the novel was about a dysfunctional family, involving two pregnancies and several children, parents (of course) and a few other people. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan | 10/18/2011

    " This book examines the effects of unresolved, undealt with grief on the lives of the family and their friends. Very insightful
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 10/18/2011

    " I would give this book a 3 1/2 star rating if I could. I started off thinking it was really boring and I didn't like its detached style. But, after a while I did get into the story and started feeling for at least some of the characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 10/7/2011

    " This is a well-written, engrossing book. The Ryrie family tries to go on with life as usual after the death of an infant; however, secrets, betrayals, and unresolved issues start to surface as the family pretends that everything is the same as before. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Geege | 10/6/2011

    " I really really liked this book -- great descriptions of and insights into the interior lives of the characters.
    "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennifer | 10/5/2011

    " Slow start - didn't get through half of it! "

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About the Author
Author Leah Hager Cohen

Leah Hager Cohen is the author of several novels, including The Grief of Others, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize, selected as a New York Times Notable Book, and named one of the best books of the year by the San Francisco ChronicleKirkus Reviews, and The Globe and Mail, and the forthcoming No Book but the World. She is also the author of numerous nonfiction titles, including Train Go Sorry. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review.

About the Narrator

Pam Ward found her true calling reading books for the blind and physically handicapped for the Library of Congress’ Talking Books program. The fact that she can work with Blackstone Audio from the beauty of the mountains of Southern Oregon is an unexpected bonus. She has won two AudioFile Earphones Awards.