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Extended Audio Sample The Mineral Palace: A Novel Audiobook, by Heidi Julavits Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (230 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Heidi Julavits Narrator: Susan Ericksen Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2005 ISBN: 9781596006577
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In a bold debut novel of the Great Depression, a young dosctor's wife uncovers the sordid secrets of a withering Colorado mining town, even as she struggles with the ravaging truths about her marriage and her child. In the drought-ridden spring of 1934, Bena Jonnsen, her husband Ted, and their newborn baby relocate from their home in Minnesota to Pueblo, a Western plains town plagued by suffocating dust storms and equally suffocating social structures. Little can thrive in this bleak environment, neither Bena and Ted's marriage nor the baby, whom Bena believes - despite her husband's constant assurances - is slipping away from her. To distract herself from worrying, Bena accepts a part-time position at Pueblo's daily newspaper, The Chieftain, reporting on the "good works' of the town's elite Ladies' Club leaders, women such as Reimer Lee Jackson and her plans to restore the town's crumbling monument tot he mining industry - the Mineral Palace - to its turn-of-the-century grandeur. Bena is drawn to the Mineral Palace and to the lurid hallways of Pueblo's brothel, befriending a prostitute, Maude, and Red, a reticent cowpoke. Through these new emotional entanglements, Bena slowly exposes not only the sexual corruption on which the entire town is founded, but also the lies enclosing her own marriage and the sanctity of motherhood. She returns again and again to the decaying architecture of the Mineral Palace; within its eroding walls she is forced to confront her most terrifying secret, which becomes her only means for salvation. With her gritty and magical prose, Heidi Julavits elegantly examines the darker side of paternity and maternity, as well as the intersection of parental love and merciful destruction. The Mineral Palace is a startling and authentic story of survival in a world of decadence and depravity. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erinkate | 1/30/2014

    " I generally adore what Julavits does with character and structure, but the dark and painful nature of this book make it hard for me to finish. And when I did, I felt a little raw, like I'd just lost a scab. The writing itself, the craft, of course, was lovely. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherry | 1/29/2014

    " I loved this book. I picked it up not knowing what to expect, didn't read the dust jacket and just jumped into it. After getting into it a little bit, I did read the dust jacket and learned that it was the authors first book. Wow! What an amazing talent. I was mesmerized by the story. I will be looking for more books by this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 12/24/2013

    " Bena is the female representative of settling for less and wanting so much more than a women of that time (perhaps, any time period) can have. She is plagued with boredom, isolation, temptation, and stereotypes that mean to keep her in her place and to prevent her from mixing with people that society deems beneath her. And so, like the moth to a flame, she is drawn to what is forbidden and dangerous. It is Bena's internal questions and external behaviors that fascinated me and has kept her in my memory. Yes, it is a sad and depressing story that takes place in a sad and depressing time and town. But, I believe this struggle, perhaps uniquely female struggle (ie Madame Bovary) will continue to be relevant until it has been replaced in our minds with a new struggle. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 ilana stern | 12/20/2013

    " i dont know... 1/2 way done and debating whether or not i should put it down. i like her. sorta. maybe i just like the way she looks, but not how she writes. to be honest... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 10/26/2013

    " I wanted to give this book a one, because it made me so depressed. It's ability to depress me was telling of good storytelling though, so I gave it a three. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Hildy | 10/2/2013

    " In the vein of Joyce Carol Oats within the vindictive victory. Kind of intense, but you find yourself racing through it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 10/2/2013

    " Beautiful writing, but a few moments in which you are reminded this is a first novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valentina | 9/30/2013

    " This book is beautifully written, although it could have been even better with some tighter editing (some parts I felt were not necessary to the plot line). Quite depressing, so only tackle it if you are firmly planted on the line of mental stability. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Meg - A Bookish Affair | 9/22/2013

    " I could not get into this book at all. The writing is stilted and the characters are fairly unlikeable and not in a good way. Bena moves with her cheating husband from Minnesota to Pueblo, Colorado during the Great Depression. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 7/9/2013

    " The sky behind them was ominous again. The sun bobbed stupidly in its diminishing patch of blue. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Liz | 5/14/2013

    " It just didn't hold my interest. I've moved on, and feel better for it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steven | 12/25/2012

    " Really, really bad. Droll, unimaginative, and plodding contemporary tripe. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 7/22/2012

    " I read this a long time ago. I picked it up because it was about Pueblo, a city I adore, and I thought I would get some background on the theater that is built in the park by I-25. I think the park is called Mineral Park and the theater is called Mineral Palace. More later. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Matt | 3/18/2012

    " I can't believe I made it to the end of this dreary and harrowing account of misery and infanticide. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane Lapierre | 1/27/2012

    " Very dark book. I had to put it down several times when the situation got too grim, but then I had to pick it up again to see what was happening. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Savirra | 9/20/2011

    " I should agree that for me, this is a fierce novel. I've been far from reading lately, and choosing this book for a somewhat starter of my old habit was a good decision. This book has a crazy control over my heartbeat, that's indeed what I'm looking for! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Esther | 8/1/2011

    " The book has some strong passages and characters but I was a bit disappointed with the second half. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carlina | 6/13/2011

    " This book is in the time of the dustbowl. It is kind of boring till the end of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maudie | 3/11/2011

    " A Christmas gift from my granddaughter that lasted long past the opening. The snows of February were less cold and the chores of housework less deary with Bena around. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy | 2/21/2011

    " This is quite possibly one of the best books I've ever read. The more I read Julavitz the more I come to love her style of writing and her descriptive talents! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valentina | 1/17/2011

    " This book is beautifully written, although it could have been even better with some tighter editing (some parts I felt were not necessary to the plot line). Quite depressing, so only tackle it if you are firmly planted on the line of mental stability. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 5/13/2010

    " Very dark book. I had to put it down several times when the situation got too grim, but then I had to pick it up again to see what was happening. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carlina | 9/9/2009

    " This book is in the time of the dustbowl. It is kind of boring till the end of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 7/1/2009

    " Beautiful writing, but a few moments in which you are reminded this is a first novel. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Hildy | 9/15/2008

    " In the vein of Joyce Carol Oats within the vindictive victory. Kind of intense, but you find yourself racing through it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Meg - A Bookish Affair | 5/4/2008

    " I could not get into this book at all. The writing is stilted and the characters are fairly unlikeable and not in a good way. Bena moves with her cheating husband from Minnesota to Pueblo, Colorado during the Great Depression. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy | 11/13/2007

    " This is quite possibly one of the best books I've ever read. The more I read Julavitz the more I come to love her style of writing and her descriptive talents! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 ilana | 10/21/2007

    " i dont know... 1/2 way done and debating whether or not i should put it down. i like her. sorta. maybe i just like the way she looks, but not how she writes. to be honest... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Liz | 8/7/2007

    " It just didn't hold my interest. I've moved on, and feel better for it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Insidemyshell | 7/24/2007

    " The book has some strong passages and characters but I was a bit disappointed with the second half. "

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About the Author
Author Heidi Julavits

Heidi Julavits was born in Portland, Maine, in 1968. She graduated from Dartmouth College and has an MFA from Columbia University. Her short stories have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, the Best American Short Stories, Zoetrope, among other places. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, Elle, and the Best American Travel Essays. She is a founding coeditor of the Believer, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Ben Marcus, and their two children.

About the Narrator

Susan Ericksen is an actor and voice-over artist. She has been awarded nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards as well as the prestigious Audie Award. As an actor and director, she has worked in theaters throughout the country.