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Download The Hour I First Believed: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Hour I First Believed: A Novel Audiobook, by Wally Lamb Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.18 out of 53.18 out of 53.18 out of 53.18 out of 53.18 out of 5 3.18 (34 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Wally Lamb Narrator: George Guidall Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2008 ISBN: 9780061771323
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When high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives. But when Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right.

While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers five generations' worth of diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in his family's house. As unimaginable secrets emerge, Caelum grapples with the past and struggles to fashion a future from the ashes of tragedy. His quest for meaning is at once mythic and contemporary, personal and quintessentially American.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Part picaresque, part Russian novel, part mystery…Caelum is an unusual, provocative character, neither a hero nor an antihero but a regular guy experiencing both the tragic and the absurd. His tone is by turns funny, irritating, depressive, and sentimental—which is to say, recognizably human.

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[Lamb knows just how to let the details of a tragedy unfold without decoration or commentary. He’s a master at the kind of direct, unadorned narrative that brings these events alive in all their visceral power…This portrayal of a couple dealing with the asymmetrical effects of trauma is Lamb at his best, wholly sympathetic, deeply moving.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “A moving story…that seesaws between hope and despair.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A page-turner…Lamb remains a storyteller at the top of his game.”

    USA Today

  • “Audacious...profound and moving…A soaring novel as amazingly graceful as the  classic hymn that provides the title.”

    Miami Herald

  • “Lamb’s narrative…quickly pulls the reader into the lives of its characters…Lamb casts a wide net and hauls back themes both grand and personal…Lamb is exceptional in his exploration of the direct and indirect impacts of survivor guilt.”

    Denver Post

  • “Lamb does an extraordinary job narrating some of the most terrifying tragedies of the past ten years…This is an epic journey that ponders the inexplicable nature of tragedy and its terrible repercussions. Through the chaos, Lamb reveals a quiet thread of hope.”

    Rocky Mountain News

  • “Every character is rendered with vivid, utterly convincing depth…A heck of a page-turner.” 

    Dallas Morning News

  • “Wally Lamb is a remarkable talent…In his latest novel, he nimbly weaves real events, especially the Columbine school shootings, with the fictional story of Caelum Quirk.”

    Columbus Dispatch

  • “Lamb has crafted another affecting, engrossing tone about complicated, interesting characters.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “Lamb…has delivered a tour de force, his best yet.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Guidall’s performance makes for spellbinding listening.”

    AudioFile

  • “Narrator George Guidall reads with an earnest, familiar voice. He draws listeners into this fascinating tale with nothing more than raw emotion and honesty; rarely does such a straightforward performance tap into the human psyche so effectively.”

    Publishers Weekly (audio review)

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
  • Selected for the December 2008 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Taylor Beachy | 2/20/2014

    " I couldn't finish this book. Chapter 4 and I was as lost as two polar bears in a snow storm. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Auna | 2/18/2014

    " I'll preface this by saying that I LOVE Wally Lamb. I Know This Much is True and She's Come Undone are two of the best books I've ever read. I wanted to love this book, I really, really did and three stars might be a bit generous. It was a difficult book to get through. I don't mind that there were some tough issues covered in the book and I don't mind reading about them. It just felt disjointed, I didn't care about the characters (there were several points where I downright hated both of the main characters -- Caelum and Maureen, Maureen especially -- and honestly didn't care what happened to them). I was disappointed. Hopefully Lamb's next novel will be much more enjoyable to read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Erin | 2/14/2014

    " This is about Columbine. I just couldn't get into it and actually stopped reading it. Just too depressing a topic and way off topic sometimes for me. I am really suprised because I loved some of Wally Lamb's other books, but the last two I read were bombs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daphne | 2/5/2014

    " This book tells another side of the story the effects of a shooting. I love Wally Lamb's writing his stories keep me reading all night long. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin Hansen | 2/2/2014

    " It was good but ... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jenn | 1/23/2014

    " After falling in love with his previous novels, I could not even finish this book. Was very disappointed and would not recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jolene | 1/20/2014

    " I think that Wally Lamb is one of the most amazing contemporary writers of our time. As much as I wanted to love this book, I just couldn't. This book was just too long. It was as if Lamb and two great idea for two separate books, but squished it all together into one instead. I found that I just didn't want to read it anymore and had to force myself to get to the end. Very disappointing. "

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

    " I loved this book - a work of fiction mingled with the true event details of the Columbine shootings. Anything Wally Lamb writes is a hit. I love that he doesn't pump out the novels, he takes his time and spins the most intricate and interesting tales. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Danyelle Jones | 1/15/2014

    " Was a good book, but very long and hard to follow. Starts out great and somehow winds around to nothingness. The first half is very hard to read about Columbine but very good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 12/22/2013

    " This was a good story, but it was a little drawn out. There were dialogues that were repeated to the point where U thought that I lost my place. I listened to the audio version and it was 20 CD's. I think thagt it could have b een around 15. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Janel | 12/20/2013

    " listening to it.. couldn't get through the first disk. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rheba Smith | 11/4/2013

    " I thought I'd hate this book. I didn't want to read about Columbine. But there was so much more to it, and, in the end, I enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz Mansky | 10/28/2013

    " Good book, plenty of twists. A little long winded at times. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Patty Kocis | 10/23/2013

    " This book is terrible. Strong start, but endless rambling, confusing tangents and disconnected plot lines just made me frustrated. I can't believe I finished it. Ugh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 10/2/2013

    " I love this guy's writing and have since his first book. This one is particularly dense in plot...almost enough to make me sit it down. Almost! Very sad but uplifting in the end. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Betty | 4/2/2013

    " What a disappointment - after She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True could not wait for Wally Lamb's next novel and After reading this one I did come undone from BOREDOM!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret Dillon | 4/1/2013

    " I found the meshing of the two stories, his wife's breakdown and his search into his own family history, awkward. I also question the using of real people in a work of fiction, although the author defends his reason for doing so. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 3/22/2013

    " Great book but sooooo many different story lines that at times it was hard to read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy | 11/16/2012

    " LOVE LOVE LOVE Wally Lamb. Please publish something soon! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chrissy Cleveland | 10/5/2012

    " Slow start, but loved the book "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sarah | 7/14/2012

    " Like many others, this book was a huge let down. Very slow. Very depressing. Very blah. I always finish the books I start, but after 2 weeks of forcing myself to keep reading, I finally raised my white flag and surrendered. I just couldn't take one more page. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Owlie | 6/15/2012

    " It took me a few times to get into this book but then I couldn't put it down. Parts of it grabbed my attention and other parts were all over the place or drawn out. Worth the read but other Wally Lamb books were better in my opinion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kara | 12/31/2011

    " One of my all time favorites. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth Williams | 12/26/2011

    " Of the three Wally Lamb books I have read, this is my least favorite. It took me several months to read it and almost forgot about finishing it. However, the book takes a turn and the ending is beautiful. :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy | 7/3/2011

    " Columbine? The Civil War? Mark Twain? Mythology? And Tesla? Yup~it is all here! <3 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beverly | 5/20/2011

    " This is one of Linda Corcoran's favorite authors. I am not as crazy about him. I did like this - alot going on - Columbine and a lot of trauma. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 5/19/2011

    " This was not as good as I thought it would be...I loved She's Come Undone, and there are parts of this book I loved, but overall it was quite disturbing and somewhat hard to get through at times. And WAY too long. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deborah | 5/14/2011

    " Whew, somewhat exhausting with turmoil on top of turmoil. Almost felt like it could be 2 separate books. I felt a little cheated in the end, wanted to see how this couple came out of it together. But I did enjoy it, very well developed characters which is nice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/14/2011

    " Very very depressing and dark - so be prepared for that - but overall I thought it was a very good book. The characters are interesting and they story is gripping... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tara | 5/9/2011

    " The minute to monuite reenactment of the massacre was rivieting! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maggie | 5/8/2011

    " I thought it was an interesting read with a lot of side stories happening and the author even refers to characters in his previous books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 5/8/2011

    " I waited patiently for 10 years for another Lamb novel. I devoured it and loved it. I sobbed and sobbed the last 1/4 of the book. Amazing. Thank you, Wally Lamb. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 5/6/2011

    " Many stories in one book. I loved it. It was a mixture of facts and fiction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 4/30/2011

    " Very well-written, but like 3 REALLY depressing novels in one. Just a warning. "

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About the Author
Author Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb is the author of the New York Times and national bestseller The Hour I First Believed, as well as the novels She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, both #1 New York Times bestsellers and Oprah’s Book Club selections. He lives in Connecticut with his family.

About the Narrator

George Guidall, winner of eighty AudioFile Erphones Awards, has twice won the prestigious Audie Award for Excellence in Audiobook Narration. In 2014 the Audio Publishers Association presented him with the Special Achievement Award for an audiobook narrator of exceptional stature and accomplishment. During his thirty-year recording career he has recorded over 1,100 audiobooks, won multiple awards, been a mentor to many narrators, and shown by example the potential of fine storytelling. Among Guidall’s narration achievements are Crime and Punishment, The Iliad, and John Irving’s A Widow for One Year, which earned him an Audie Award for best unabridged narration of a novel, an honor he captured again for his rendition of Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True. Guidall’s forty-year acting career includes starring roles on Broadway, an Obie Award for best performance off Broadway, and frequent television appearances.