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Download The Living Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Living, by Annie Dillard Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,333 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Annie Dillard Narrator: Grace Conlin Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Ninety miles north of Seattle on the Washington coast lies Bellingham Bay, where a rough settlement founded in the 1850s would become the town of Whatcom. Here, the Lummi and Nooksack Indian people fish and farm, hermits pay their debts in sockeye salmon, and miners track gold-bearing streams.

Here, too, is the intimate, murderous tale of three men. Clare Fishburn believes that greatness lies in store for him. John Ireland Sharp, an educated orphan, abandons hope when he sees socialists expel the Chinese workers from the region. Beal Obenchain, who lives in a cedar stump, threatens Clare Fishburn’s life.

A killer lashes a Chinese worker to a wharf piling at low tide. Settlers pour in to catch the boom the railroads bring. People give birth, drown, burn, inherit rich legacies, and commit expensive larcenies. All this takes place a hundred years ago, when these vital, ruddy men and women were “the living.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An invigorating, intricate first novel…An august celebration of human frenzy and endurance.”

    New York Times

  • “An august celebration of human frenzy and endurance [and]…an invigorating, intricate first novel. Annie Dillard [shows a] tremendous gift for writing in a genuinely epic mode.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “An invigorating, intricate first novel…An august celebration of human frenzy and endurance…Annie Dillard [shows a] tremendous gift for writing in a genuinely epic mode.”

    New York Times

  • “Above all, a novel about the precarious, wondrous, solitary, terrifying, utterly common condition of human life.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “An impressive piece of fiction and a riveting hunk of history.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “[An] impressive piece of fiction and a riveting hunk of history…The many readers who have been drawn in the past to Dillard’s work for its elegant and muscular use of language won't be disappointed in these pages…She has given herself a landscape large enough to challenge her talents.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “The kind of book a reader sinks into completely…The characters are so compelling, the setting so detailed, so convincing, so absolutely complete…The Living is an extraordinary accomplishment.”

    Boston Sunday Globe

  • “The kind of book a reader sinks into completely…The characters are so compelling, the setting so detailed, so convincing, so absolutely complete…The Living is an extraordinary accomplishment, one of those rare occasions when the written word results through the magic and talent of the author in the creation of the whole world.”

    Boston Sunday Globe

  • “A panoramic, hypnotic novel…A novel of character that blends history, social change and individual dreams in a sophisticated, seamless prose.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Engrossing…As usual in Dillard’s work, sparkling prose and striking insights abound…A triumph of narrative skill and faithful research.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Engrossing…As usual in Dillard’s work, sparkling prose and striking insights abound…a triumph of narrative skill and faithful research.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A compelling portrait of frontier life [with] a large and richly varied cast of characters…unflinching in its delineations of pioneer life at its worst and best…Dillard’s view of ‘the living’ in its many senses is a fine novel that is an essential purchase for all fiction collections.”

    Library Journal

  • “As I listened to Dillard’s story I was struck by the beauty of the landscape and the history of an area that I love. I often imagine how it once looked, and thanks to Dillard I now have a better picture.”

    Omnibus

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Julie H. | 2/19/2014

    " This is one of those novels where the landscape is as much a character as any named individual. This was a great opportunity to read about natives and newcomers in and around Puget Sound, the effects of lumber companies on the area, and why Seatttle's downtown looks a bit like it does. Beautiful writing and really strong storytelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by David Morman | 2/13/2014

    " I enjoy everything by Dillard. This is a long historical saga that follows a large cast of pioneer characters through the late 1800s in and around present-day Bellingham. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Heather | 2/12/2014

    " This book got into my skin like the good pioneer dirt and the deathsong of burning redwoods. I think Annie Dillard is my new favorite. I loved the epic sweep of this novel; every character became as irritating and loveable as my own household mates, every animal and being took my breath away with his or her particular awareness and being. I am inpsired to research, to write, to learn, to think, to breathe, to climb, to swim, to drown in the waters of life and literature. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lara | 1/31/2014

    " I thought that this book was a little hard to get into but, once I did, I really enjoyed it. Beautiful and sad. "

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