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The Incarnations: A Novel Audiobook, by Susan Barker Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Susan Barker Narrator: Joy Osmanski, Timo Chen Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2015 ISBN: 9781442387034
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Hailed as “China’s Midnight’s Children” (The Independent) this “brilliant, mind-expanding, and wildly original novel” (Chris Cleave) about a Beijing taxi driver whose past incarnations over one thousand years haunt him through searing letters sent by his mysterious soulmate.

Who are you? you must be wondering. I am your soulmate, your old friend, and I have come back to this city of sixteen million in search of you.

So begins the first letter that falls into Wang’s lap as he flips down the visor in his taxi. The letters that follow are filled with the stories of Wang’s previous lives—from escaping a marriage to a spirit bride, to being a slave on the run from Genghis Khan, to living as a fisherman during the Opium Wars, and being a teenager on the Red Guard during the cultural revolution—bound to his mysterious “soulmate,” spanning one thousand years of betrayal and intrigue.

As the letters continue to appear seemingly out of thin air, Wang becomes convinced that someone is watching him—someone who claims to have known him for over one thousand years. And with each letter, Wang feels the watcher growing closer and closer…

Seamlessly weaving Chinese folklore, history, and literary classics, The Incarnations is a taut and gripping novel that sheds light on the cyclical nature of history as it hints that the past is never truly settled. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “A thrilling journey through a thousand years of obsession and betrayal and a vivid tapestry of the individual’s struggle against the tyranny of history, this is the most extraordinary work of imagination you’ll read all year.”

    Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

  • “Suspend your disbelief, flow along with this wonderful book, like the crazy traffic flowing around Beijing’s six ring roads…The book moves effortlessly from past to present and back again….Masterful.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Barker’s remarkable new novel is ambitious in scope, scholarly in depth, and absolutely riveting. The Incarnations works on a number of levels, pulling together so many strands of history and perspectives and drawing them into a compelling and convincing tale. Part history, part love story, with good doses of horror, comedy, and philosophy, it is ultimately a thriller and a page-turner…The effect is explosive.”

    Sunday Morning Post (UK)

  • “An utterly remarkable novel, it is certainly a very different book from Rushdie’s but just as important in its historical and cultural sweep….Barker’s storytelling is lively and addictive…She has an eye for the absurd and darkly comic.”

    Independent (London)

  • “Barker resembles David Mitchell in the ability to weave together past and present in a convincing, and ultimately intriguing, manner.”

    Sydney Morning Herald

  • “An extraordinary novel. Erudite, intriguing, and compulsively readable, The Incarnations takes the reader on an intimate and mesmerizing journey through Chinese history. Susan Barker, a born story-teller, has written one of the most remarkable novels of recent years. "

    John Boyne, author of A History of Loneliness

  • “A brilliant, mind-expanding and wildly original novel. "

    Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee

  • A BookPage Top Pick for August 2015
  • Shortlisted for the 2015 Kirkus Prize for Fiction
  • A 2015 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
  • A Shelf Awareness Best Book of 2015

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About the Author

Susan Barker is the author of Sayonara Bar and The Orientalist and the Ghost, both longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. She grew up in East London with a Chinese-Malyasian mother and a British father, and studied creative writing at the University of Manchester. She spent several years living in Beijing while working on The Incarnations, and currently lives in the UK.

About the Narrator

Joy Osmanski, theater, television, and film actress, is an award-winning audiobook narrator who has won three AudioFile Earphones Awards. She graduated from Principia College with a degree in creative writing and received her MFA from UC San Diego.