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Download The Listener Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Listener Audiobook, 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: December 2009 ISBN: 9781440791604
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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.” 

    Booklist

  • “Vividly imagined and evoked.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 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 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 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 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! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katie Grainger | 1/13/2014

    " I had very high hopes for The Listener, the blurb made the book appear exciting and with lots of twists and turns. The first two parts of the book lived up to expectation. The psychology was riveting and the characters were well shaped. However the third part of the novel just crawled along to an easily predictable conclusion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Merry | 1/12/2014

    " A funny book - I found it absorbing, even though I wasn't sure if it was a good book. I have noticed that books about psychiatrists often portray them as creeps, or not so astute as they are supposed to be, or messed up people. I'd love to hear others' thoughts about it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kt Thames | 1/10/2014

    " Interesting plot but the writing was disjointed. The most interesting character in the book, Bertram Reiner, is the one you end up learning about the least. I wish the flashbacks and jumping from scene to scene had been more seemless. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Laura | 1/4/2014

    " Boring & contrived. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Donna | 12/21/2013

    " A strange story of madness. Takes place in a private asylum in New York in 1948 which caters to men with war neurosis. You have to "stay sharp" while trying to figure out this book. I found the effort not worth it. Nothing was clear cut. Everything was filled with ambiguity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kat | 10/12/2013

    " North Side Book Club (NSBC) selection for April 2010 "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mindy | 10/2/2013

    " Really tried to like this book, but just couldn't stay interested. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joye | 9/29/2013

    " I know this book did not get a lot of positive reviews, but I liked it. It posed a lot of moral questions about behavior in war & madness. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 9/27/2013

    " Excellent psychological thriller "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jess | 4/7/2013

    " predictable, story itself was eh "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bridget | 2/4/2013

    " This book was disappointing for me. It started off strong and interesting but about one third of the way through the plot started getting lost in its own muck and mire. It just seemed to degenerate into torpor. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melissa | 12/11/2012

    " I never like it when the narrator's sanity is in question. I feel like that's cheating. A crazy narrator gives the author license to write anything and there is nothing for the reader to hold on to that's rational or reasonable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanna | 10/2/2012

    " I thought this book started out strong but halfway through lost itself. The plot became oddly rushed halfway through and the payoff was, in the end, not worth it. What a shame, as I was completely enthralled for the first half, but ultimately I would not recommend it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sarah Agresta | 10/5/2011

    " It is very unusual for me to not understand a book, but this one got me. It left me confused, and it wasn't very good to begin with. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barbara Bryan | 5/3/2011

    " Started good, then i got bored and didn't finish. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Abigail (Abbe) | 3/1/2011

    " i got almost halfway through and realized the book was boring me. "

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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. 

About the Narrator

Jefferson Mays has won two AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audio narrations. He is also an award-winning theater and film actor. In 2004 he won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, an Obie Award, and a Theatre World Award for his solo Broadway performance in I Am My Own Wife, a Pulitzer Prize–winning play by Doug Wright. He holds a BA from Yale College and an MFA from University of California–San Diego.