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Extended Audio Sample The Ha-Ha: A Novel Audiobook, by Dave King Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,997 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Dave King Narrator: Terry Kinney Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2005 ISBN: 9781594831928
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Howard Kapostash has not spoken in 30 years. Ever since a severe blow to the head during his days in the Army, words unravel in his mouth and letters on the page make no sense at all. Because of his extremely limited communication abilities, a small repertory of gestures and simple sounds, most people think he is disturbed. No one understands that Howard is still the same man he was before enlisting, still awed by the beauty of a landscape, still pining for his high school sweetheart, Sylvia.Now Sylvia is a single mom with troubles of her own, and she needs Howard's help. She is being hauled into a drug rehab program and she asks Howard to care for her 9-year-old son, Ryan. The presence of this nervous, resourceful boy in Howard's life transforms him utterly. With a child's happiness at stake, communication takes on a fresh urgency, and the routine that Howard has evolved over the years, designed specifically to minimize the agony of human contact, suddenly feels restrictive and even dangerous. Forced out of his groove, Howard finds unexpected delights (in baseball, in work, in meals with his housemates). His home comes alive with the joys, sorrows, and love of a real family. But these changes also open Howard to the risks of loss and to the rage he has spent a lifetime suppressing.

Written with a luminous simplicity and grace, The Ha-Ha follows Howard down his difficult path to a new life. It is a deeply moving and unforgettable story about the cost of war and the infinite worth of human connection.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Dave King vividly connects us to a character whose own connections to the outside world are almost nonexistent.”

    Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel

  • The Ha-Ha is a merry, serious inquiry into how love is given and accepted by memorable characters.”

    Frederick Busch, author of The Night Inspector

  • The Ha-Ha is an immense pleasure.”

    Nicholas Christopher, author of A Trip to the Stars

  • “A skillful debut with several surprises.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “King offers a deeply genuine performance of this subtle yet affecting novel.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The writing is excellent, and King creates tender, complex characters on different paths to recovery.”

    Bookmarks magazine


  • “The reader is drawn into Howie’s world and roots for him with every first step he takes.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn | 2/16/2014

    " Poignant without being overly sentimental. It's about a vietnam war veteran, but the war is not really a central theme of the book - rather, it's the life-changing injury the vet receives after being on the ground only a few days. I like the irony of the only story-telling voice in the book being a man who cannot speak or write. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 1/25/2014

    " I loved this book. It was touching and heartbreaking in the best way. The characters were very well-done - especially the main character. I look forward to reading more from Dave King. "

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

    " Intriguing novel about a man who can communicate in language other than by writing. And yet, his relationships were varied and deep. A novel of hope "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christine | 12/10/2013

    " An interesting premise (based on a man who cannot speak), but got really borning since there is hardly any dialogue. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Bill Alexander | 11/29/2013

    " Whole lot of nothing "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erika | 11/15/2013

    " The only book I read in 2007. I'm glad it was such a good one. I wanted to give Howard a big hug, and Ryan, too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny Wheelbarrow | 10/24/2013

    " Thank goodness for The Quill Book awards. I never would have found this book without hearing of these awards. This book led me to read every Quill winner I could locate. The Ha-Ha is the story of a man with both literal and figuative barrier seperating him both emotionally and physically. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kurt | 10/24/2013

    " A mute Vietnam vet takes care of his ex-girlfriend's nine-year-old while she is in rehab. What could go wrong? I found it fairly engaging and even mildly charming. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marcia Higgins | 10/23/2013

    " This is a low-key book but I found myself rooting for the characters. Loved the authors style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 8/27/2013

    " Loved some parts; hated some parts. Good basic story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 8/10/2013

    " I listened to the unabridged audio, and can highly recommend it. Howard is mute, yet you're hearing his thoughts, a far more intense experience than reading them in print. Moreover, the narrator does a great job with the other characters as well, especially Laurel's soft Texas twang. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hannah | 7/10/2013

    " I had trouble leaving this book alone. I recommend it as a vacation book as you will procrastinate on other tasks during its read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 4/11/2013

    " Simply put, one of the best novels I read in 2008. Proof that, with enough interior information about him, a character doesn't need to be completely likable to be lovable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gail | 3/10/2013

    " Loved getting inside Howard's head and hearing his story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel Drenning | 1/3/2013

    " very good storyline. loved it. heart wrenching. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gail Teele | 9/18/2012

    " I read this because it was recommended in a local newspaper featuring local writers. I enjoyed this as I grew up in the age of Vietnam Nam. This is a story of a man who suffered from drug addiction and his inner most thoughts. Good not grat. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tammie | 8/20/2012

    " This was a clever book with the narrator being mute. It had several surprises and was astonishingly hopeful! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abi | 8/17/2012

    " Stumbled on this one. Gave it a try and ended up enjoying it. A different kind of book. Triumphs and struggles. Well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kamila | 7/17/2012

    " This book was well written but lengthy. A good story but I felt that I needed to put it down and take a rest from it at times. Actually I read a quick book while I reading this book just because I needed to take a break. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ardyce | 7/18/2011

    " A great story about a Vietnam vet who is still somewhat damaged from the war- he can't talk- and his friendship with the young son of an old friend. One of my favorites of the last few years "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 6/28/2011

    " Mindy recommended this to me-Emma read it and gave it a thumbs up-just started it last night. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Flannery | 6/28/2011

    " Really enjoyed this book. A very different story and characters are unique. Reads fast with short little chapters, which is much needed for me right now! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Midge | 6/17/2011

    " The summary above does a good job of describing this book...which I loved! The story has great character development, a smooth story-line, emotion (but not phony), surprise, with some craziness thrown in. I really enjoyed it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl | 6/13/2011

    " A great read! Very strong writing and possibly the only book where the main character is mute. After reading a chapter it actually took me a minute to realize I could in fact talk.

    It's about the power of redemption and recovery and the powerful way children can affect our lives. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ms. S........... | 5/24/2011

    " ...not bad, not bad... overcoming obstacles and makeshift families... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie | 5/22/2011

    " I wasn't expecting much from this book, but it turned out much better than I was thinking. The main character was so complex very intriguing. Some of the situations in the story were a little too explicate for me, but overall, I was pleasantly surprised. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurie | 4/15/2011

    " Slightly odd viewpoint but an interesting read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 3/26/2011

    " This did not sound like a book I would enjoy. Picked it up because I was nearing the bottom of my "to read". Could not put it down. Truly a moving story. Stayed with me long after I finished it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 3/2/2011

    " Fantastic moving novel of a man who makes connections with others in spite of grave handicaps. Sad, funny, and evocative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet | 3/2/2011

    " Another book where language -- or lack of it -- makes the difference. A man injured in war and unable to speak, but otherwise unharmed physically or mentally, has to negotiate relationships past and present, all without words. "

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About the Author

Dave King holds a BFA in painting and film from Cooper Union and an MFA in writing from Columbia University. He has been published in Paris Review and Big City Lit and he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in New York.