Extended Audio Sample

Download The Pesthouse Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Pesthouse Audiobook, by Jim Crace Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,258 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jim Crace Narrator: Michael Kramer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2007 ISBN: 9781415940778
Regular Price: $20.00 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $17.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

Once the safest, most prosperous place on earth, the United States is now a lawless, scantly populated wasteland. The machines have stopped. The government has collapsed. Farmlands lie fallow and the soil is contaminated by toxins. Across the country, families have packed up their belongings to travel eastward toward the one hope left: passage on a ship to Europe.

Franklin Lopez and his brother, Jackson, are only days away from the ocean when Franklin, nearly crippled by an inflamed knee, is forced to stop. In the woods near his temporary refuge, Franklin comes upon an isolated stone building. Inside he finds Margaret, a woman with a deadly infection and confined to the Pesthouse to sweat out her fever. Tentatively, the two join forces and make their way through the ruins of old America. Confronted by bandits rounding up men for slavery, finding refuge in the Ark, a religious community that makes bizarre demands on those they shelter, Franklin and Margaret find their wariness of each other replaced by deep trust and an intimacy neither one has ever experienced before.

The Pesthouse is Jim Crace’s most compelling novel to date. Rich in its understanding of America’s history and ethos, it is a paean to the human spirit.

Download and start listening now!

BK_BKOT_000938

Quotes & Awards

  • “A suspenseful road novel…Crace’s mordant humor shines darkly…A meditation on some of the deepest questions about America.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “A dark envisioning…The best part of this novel, perhaps for [its characters] as well as us, is the hauntingly rendered depiction of what is already gone.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Throughout [The Pesthouse], a delicate, touching shy romance blossoms…Crace is a writer about plain things, but he writes about them in a way that’s both startling and subtle, a shimmering surface over still depths.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Forceful…[Crace’s] prose carries the contours of a Donatello sculpture as [he] chisels gracefully flowing sentences with eloquence, precision, and the occasional cheeky hint of the impish.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Graceful and haunting…Crace is the coldest of writers, and the tenderest.”

    New York Times

  • “Sly…A sweet, screwball love story…Crace lavishes his story with descriptions of nature and creates landscapes in crystalline detail.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Subtly conveyed…Crace manages to strike the right chord with clarity and precision.”

    London Review of Books

  • “Refreshing in its scope and ambition…A compelling adventure.”

    Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

  • “Wonderful…Crace is a writer of great gifts…The poet of detail.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Deft…Crace’s imagination is matched by his crystalline prose.”

    Charleston Post and Courier

  • “Haunting…Moving, lyrical…A remarkably imaginative rendering [of America].”

    Telegraph (London)

  • “[Crace has] a muscular way with words…[He] presents a compelling picture of an America betrayed by its overfetishization of rugged individualism and of Americans paradoxically at their best when cutting against the grain.”

    Playboy

  • “[Crace’s] precise, earthy prose revels in the landscape of destruction.”

    Observer (London)

  • “Sly…A quintessential American story.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Beautifully written…The Pesthouse finds [Crace] not just on his own best form, but arguably on the best form any English writer has shown in the last couple years.”

    Spectator (London)

  • “A cracking adventure story…Crace pulls off a transcendent ending that offers a biting commentary on the ongoing American experiment.”

    Entertainment Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ab | 2/20/2014

    " While not my favorite novel to date, this book is a very fascinating take on the dystopian novel. The setting is America, in what seems like pre-industrial era, but it is actually in the future when we've run out of natural resources and everything comes to a stand-still. Machines stop, nothing modern works any longer, and we are reverted back to horse and carriage, water wells and mills, etc. The midwestern states seem to be hit the hardest and have no news of what is happening on the east coast except travelers passing through say that boats are taking people to Europe where jobs, technology, and food abound. The story follows two characters trying to make it to the ships to Europe, who encounter highway bandits, a coastal road made entirely of garbage, an ark filled with a crazy religious cult which shuns anything metal, and people captured as slaves to work digging for metal scraps now regarded as useless treasures. Definitely a worth while read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caryl | 2/19/2014

    " Another post-apocalypse vision of America. Repeated themes of man at the mercy of nature, religion as construct of man. The Finger Baptists and the Helpless Gentlemen were almost as funny as the Pope. I didn't think the book was as perfect as Quarantine or Being Dead, but almost. One of my favorite writers. I wish I had his imagination. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bad Flu | 2/12/2014

    " Post apocalytic fiction as it should be. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frederick Bingham | 2/5/2014

    " A post-apocalyptic story set in the eastern United States.Franklin and Margaret are refugees. America has been beset by a plague and has descended into lawlessness. The only hope for a good life is to get to the east coast and take a ship to Europe. Franklin and his brother Jackson have set off from their family farm. Margaret lives in a village called ferrytown that provides crossings of a large river required by the flood of refugees. She has taken sick with the plague, and is exiled from the village into a small shack up in the hills. Franklin gets a lame leg on his travels. The two meet in the little shack where Margaret has been exiled to.Together they recover, and eventually set out for the coast. Along the way, they meet a band robbers looking for slaves who takes Franklin captive. Margaret continues along in her journey, and gets to the coast. There she moves into a religious compound where she gets shelter, but has to adhere to their strange beliefs.The story continues like this, with one event after another. Eventually Franklin and Margaret meet up again, and fall in love, and finally figure out that the trip to Europe is not what they really want to do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sp8b | 2/3/2014

    " This is a "kinder, gentler" The Road. Not so much post apocalyptic as just post industrial. Natural resources have given out, the land is poisoned and Americans are leaving in droves to seek a better life as indentured servants in Europe which has managed to hang on to a 19th century level of civilization. America is back to having no central government to speak of with each town imposing its own "order" on the stream of eastward moving refugees. All in all, its not nearly as bleak as The Road but does does remind me a bit of other Cormak McCarthy books - like The Outer Dark. But Pesthouse is considerably more upbeat... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eugenia Williamson | 2/1/2014

    " This novel was very vexing at times because Crace never comes out and says what it is that caused America to go to shit, and at times his pastoralism is saccharine, but the man can do anything, writing-wise, so it's a better novel than most. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 peter | 1/22/2014

    " Compares poorly to Cormac McCarthy's The Road because it devolves into a sort of sci-fi futurism and it's hardly credible that, even 500 years on, Americans will know virtually nothing of today. Also lacks real punch and has no convincing regional or dialectical voice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nextbestthing | 1/20/2014

    " This book came out at around the same time as Cormac McCarthy's The Road and is very similar, as both books deal with survival in post-Apocalyptic America. I prefered this one, both in style and story. Less gruesome than its more famous counterpart by McCarthy, but all the more gripping in the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisbeth Solberg | 1/16/2014

    " Almost too reflective, too interior even for me, though I liked the sweet love story. I can imagine lots of grad students busily writing analytical papers about biblical symbolism and such. Sorry I missed bookgroup discusssion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill | 12/26/2013

    " This book haunts me. Very different from most of what I read and one of the first post-apocalyptic books I ever read that was not also dystopian (though it does have those elements - see the anti-metal folks). One I imagine I will go back to. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 The_book_fairy11 | 11/26/2013

    " A bit like "The Road" for some reason, even though I thought it was ok, it took ages for me to finish. I think I never properly engaged. Ok if youre stuck for something to read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 10/21/2013

    " A thoroughly enjoyable read...one that certainly cannot escape comparison with Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," but one that trades grinding terribleness with (at times cloying) optimism. All in all a well-realized, past-less end-of-the-world tale. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tessa Eger | 9/22/2013

    " Not what expected--wasn't that grim, despite post-apocalyptic setting. Pretty good story, well-written, some romance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Orin | 2/24/2013

    " Post-apocalyptic America and love conquers all--or at least enough to get by. Crace is amazing. If you want something more bleak, try Cormac McCarthy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judith Johnson | 12/5/2012

    " I really liked this book but it would not be everyone's choice. I think what I like about future worlds, usually after civilization ends as we know it, is the imagination of the author. This book has a very hopeful ending about the ability of man to build a good life out of practically nothing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 1/13/2012

    " It's not often that the ending to an apocalyptic story makes me smile, but this one did. It had similarities to The Road by Cormac McCarthy (which I loved), but wasn't as dark. I enjoyed The Pesthouse a lot, but now it's time to move onto something more upbeat! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandee | 12/16/2011

    " Pretty good read so far if you go for the "world ends... now what?" type of book. I like this scenario where it's many years later. It's not as stark as "The Road" which I did NOT like. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda Humberstone | 8/20/2011

    " Very disappointing book. The characters were good and believable but the story could have been so exciting given the subject but it turned out to be laborious and tedious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hunniebun | 5/8/2011

    " Interesting book about what our great grand children's future could look like...and it's not the jetsons! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 2/8/2011

    " Wow. A post-apocalyptic novel that actually gives one hope, with brilliant writing and memorable characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick | 1/31/2011

    " This was a great story. Maybe not as bleak as I might have wanted, but that's the nature of the genre. At some point the post-apocalyptic setting becomes the status quo for the characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hunniebun | 1/5/2011

    " Interesting book about what our great grand children's future could look like...and it's not the jetsons! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Valerie | 8/18/2010

    " I had very mixed feelings about this novel. I really liked "Quarantine" and "Being Dead" by the same author....but this felt more like a fairy tale love story than a cautionary tale...not powerful and poetic like "The Road"...and certainly not realistic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terri | 8/11/2010

    " Some parts were a little slow, but still a good read. The Road and Blindness are better. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Jim CraceJIM CRACE is the author of nine previous novels, including most recently, The PesthouseBeing Dead was shortlisted for the 1999 Whitbread Fiction Prize and won the U.S. National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 2000. In 1997, Quarantine was named the Whitbread Novel of the Year and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Jim Crace has also received the E.M. Forster Award, and the Guardian Fiction Prize. He lives in Birmingham, England.
About the Narrator

Michael Kramer has narrated many audiobooks over the last twenty years; his favorite authors include Donald E. Westlake, Thomas Perry, and Robert Jordan. He has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards for his work. He lives in the DC area, where he also works in theater as an actor and director.