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Extended Audio Sample The Listener, by Shira Nayman Click for printable size audiobook cover
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (170 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Shira Nayman Narrator: Jefferson Mays Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Two years after the end of World War II, a mysterious figure, Bertram Reiner, appears at Shadowbrook, a private asylum whose elegant hallways, vaulted ceilings, and magnificent grounds suggest a country estate more than a psychiatric hospital. At first, the chief psychiatrist, as genteel as his aristocratic surrounds, considers his charismatic patient to be a classic, though particularly intriguing, case of war neurosis. But as treatment progresses, Dr. Harrison’s sense of clarity clouds over, and he is drawn into Bertram’s disquieting preoccupations.

Then, late one night, an intruder is sighted on the hospital grounds, the first in a series of uncanny events that appear to the doctor to be strangely linked; clues abound, yet the truth about Bertram seems always to slip away. Meanwhile, Dr. Harrison’s own long-buried troubles reemerge with brutal force. As the careful contours of his existence begin to waver, the doctor is plunged into dangerous, compulsive territory.

When Dr. Harrison finds himself spying on his head nurse, Matilda, even following her one midnight through the underground tunnels that join the hospital buildings, he knows there is no turning back. He is desperate to get to the bottom of the intertwining mysteries connecting Bertram, Matilda, and himself, and senses that everything in his life, and theirs, is at stake.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Listener explores with great subtlety and perceptiveness the issues of trama and quilt, illustrating the complexity of the way in which a mind that has experienced horrors—whether as perpetrator or victim—may create elaborate defenses that are paradoxically self-destructive.” 

    Charles Palliser, author of The Quincunx and The Unburied

  • “Nayman turns a jaundiced eye on her own profession…The line between sanity and insanity and the questioning of the rules that govern the patient-doctor relationship are consistently intriguing.” 


  • “Vividly imagined and evoked.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Risapopelka | 2/7/2014

    " Bah. Read it for book club and couldnt finish it. I felt like I didnt really care about the main character and he was more creepy than anything. I felt like the author was trying too hard to write from a man's perspective and just could not deliver. There was nothing holding me to stay with this book. Good book club discussion though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Karen | 2/2/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book--the writing and the story--right up until the end when I had NO IDEA what happened! The book was obviously building up to have a mysterious twist and I thought I'd had it figured out--but I guess not. Can anyone explain it to me? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Elizabeth Lally | 2/1/2014

    " Had the potential to be really good, but i just got confused... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Heidi | 1/22/2014

    " Loved it! I could hardly put this down. Well written and a great psychological thriller. I don't understand the low ratings for this book as the plot was so complex and interesting. Read it! "

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About the Author

Shira Nayman is a writer and psychologist/consultant. She also teaches literature and fiction writing. She is the recipient of the Cape Branch Award for an Emerging Woman Writer and of three grants from the Australia Council for the Arts. Born in South Africa, she grew up in Australia, has lived in Israel, Mexico, and France, and currently lives in Brooklyn.