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Extended Audio Sample The Song Is You, by Arthur Phillips Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,372 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Arthur Phillips Narrator: Christopher Evan Welch Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Julian Donahue is in love with his iPod. Each song that shuffles through “that greatest of all human inventions” triggers a memory. But when his family falls apart, even music loses its hold on him, and he has nothing. Until one snowy night in Brooklyn, when he stumbles into a bar and sees Cait O’Dwyer, a flame-haired Irish rock singer, performing with her band, and a strange and unlikely love affair is ignited.
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Quotes & Awards

  • “If novelists were labeled zoologically, Arthur Phillips would fall naturally into the dolphin family: his writing is playful, cerebral, likable, wide-ranging, and inventive…His maniacally brainy (brainiacal?) narrative voice seems to have been steeped in and tempered by the romance of all the songs that permeate the story, songs both embedded and overt, real and invented. A less rigorous writer might have turned this story into a sentimental, overwritten swamp. But thanks to Phillips’ thwarting of our (and his characters’) expectations, and to his objective, amused intelligence about the deep ways music affects us, he dances like Fred Astaire over any alligators and mangrove roots lurking in turgid waters…The whole novel zings with fresh insight and inspired writing…Impossible to put down.” New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
  • “An ambitious story of love and obsession wrapped in our current addiction to techno gadgets…The Song Is You showcases Phillips’ gift for plumbing the depths of grief and emotional fragility. His love of music, including the profound song lyrics he creates for Cait, is a delight…A writer of enormous talent.”

    USA Today

  • “Phillips’ best writing achieves an elaborate, gratifying precison, combining a naturally flamboyant style with neat, observational wit. This quality is sharpest in some of the character portraits and set pieces that animate this novel…[A] beautiful evocation of music’s consoling power to blur the borders between art, artist, and consumer.”

    New Yorker

  • “Someone had to do it, write the great American iPod novel, and we’re lucky that it is someone with talent…Arthur Phillips is one subtle writer. I think that he’s dealing quietly with big themes such as illusion versus reality…and also offers wonderfully satirical moments on making commercials, failing rock stars, playing Jeopardy!, and some piercing, painful moments on what it’s like to be aging in youth culture and some extraordinary takes on contemporary sexual mores…He also writes extraordinarily well about grief.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Phillips naviagates an ostensibly arid present that turns out to be richly human, filled with unexpected grace…Phillip’s descriptions of his characters are filled with startling intensity.”

    Washington Post (Critic’s Choice)

  • “Playful…The Song Is You takes on loneliness, alienation, middle age, and what it means to feel passé and weighted down by your past…Yet despite these sober concerns, Phillips’ sparkling prose makes for a seriously fun read.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A betrayed husband’s fascination with a charismatic singer is given several intriguing twists…The novel’s clashing harmonies seduce and fascinate. And Phillips still looks like the best American novelist to have emerged during the present decade.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2009 Washington Post Best Book for Fiction
  • One of the 2009 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Ms. B | 2/13/2014

    " Just couldn't do it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kristen | 12/19/2013

    " I probably would have enjoyed this more if I were a music fan. That at least would be something to relate to. The characters weren't particularly likable nor realistic, and I need at least one of the two. I did really like all of the stories of his parents, even the music parts. Both parts of the ending were disappointing -- how his relationship with each woman is resolved. Not disappointing as in I wished for something better so much as just "what a horrible decision; who would really do that?" The figurative language tended to pile up into these logjammed multi-metaphor paragraphs, and a couple sentences were confusing enough to be editing errors, but most of the writing was vivid. I just couldn't care for what he was writing about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Joanna | 12/3/2013

    " An engrossing read. I think everyone has felt a strong relationship to someone through music, and in this digital age, I think sometimes we use its distance to create relationships that are not what they seem. Could not put this down and was surprised at how it turned out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Bookmarks Magazine | 11/28/2013

    " Though critics praised Phillips's playful, clever prose, they diverged in their reactions to his latest novel. Some appreciated his portrait of electronic-age relationships, while others found it difficult to accept the "hokey and contrived" (New York Times) coupling of a creepy stalker and his improbably nonchalant victim. Some saw Phillips's hidden song titles, playlists, and repetitive tributes to iPods as ingenious depictions of the music industry, while others viewed them as blatant marketing ploys. The critics' disagreement seemed to stem from their reactions to Phillips's previous novels: detractors saw Song as a growth of his talent, but fans viewed it as something of a betrayal. An exploration of loneliness, alienation, and the power of music, The Song Is You is a tuneful take on a peculiar romance.This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine. "

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