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Download The Spark and the Drive Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Spark and the Drive Audiobook, by Wayne Harrison Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Wayne Harrison Narrator: Quincy Dunn-Baker Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2014 ISBN: 9781490618760
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By an award-winning writer of short fiction, a devastatingly powerful debut novel of hero-worship, first love, and betrayal

Justin Bailey is seventeen when he arrives at the shop of legendary muscle car mechanic Nick Campbell. Anguished and out of place among the students at his rural Connecticut high school, Justin finds in Nick, his captivating wife Mary Ann, and their world of miraculous machines the sense of family he has struggled to find at home.

But when Nick and Mary Ann’s lives are struck by tragedy, Justin’s own world is upended. Suddenly Nick, once celebrated for his mechanical genius, has lost his touch. Mary Ann, once tender and compassionate to her husband, has turned distant. As Justin tries to support his suffering mentor, he finds himself drawn toward the man’s grieving wife. Torn apart by feelings of betrayal, Justin must choose between the man he admires more than his own father and the woman he yearns for.

A poignant and fiercely original debut, with moments of fast-paced suspense, Wayne Harrison’s The Spark and the Drive is the unforgettable story of a young man forced to make an impossible decision—no matter the consequences.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A terrifically engaging story…elaborately tricked out with eye-catching accessories, from drag racing to drug dealing to rape and murder and a host of other violations….These are grease-smeared pages, full of the sounds of revving motors and the anxieties of narrowly educated men in a fading field….Whether or not you love cars, Harrison speaks that special dialect so fluently that anyone with a heart can hear it. In this end, this isn’t so much a novel about the great vehicles we lost as it is about the antique ideals we keep rebuilding and polishing.”

    Washington Post

  • “This is a novel about a vanishing way of life, the world of the muscle cars and the world of childhood. Told through Justin’s eyes, we watch him become a grown-up who wishes that he could go back in time and fix the wrongs he perpetuated. But though ‘the man can’t change the boy,’ and that seemingly perfect life is gone, Justin can remember that heady feeling, when ‘for an instant the world has possibilities it will never have again.’ And the genius of this extraordinary novel is that it shows us those possibilities, and it makes us ache and grieve for them, too.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A tale of growing up—Harrison’s debut novel crackles with life, immersing the reader in the world of muscle cars while weaving a complex narrative that oscillates between the familiar and the unusual. A smart, insightful read.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Debut author Harrison mines his own background as an auto mechanic to deliver a gritty, authentic tale of a complicated marriage threatened by a first love…Harrison writes cleanly and vividly about the world of auto garages, producing an elegiac novel about working-class dreams dashed by reality, a Bruce Springsteen song set to prose.”

    Library Journal

  • “Harrison peers inside the little-seen world of muscle-car shops in this tale about hero worship, betrayal, and auto mechanics…Harrison’s characters are fully fleshed, and his prose masterfully polished, making for a thoroughly engrossing read and a strikingly original debut novel.”


  • “Narrator Quincy Dunn-Baker colors his performance with an earnestness that is meant to reflect Justin’s naïve eagerness to emulate his mentor, both on and off the job…[He gives] each character a clear and consistent voice and infuses the dialogue with a satisfying level of emotion.”


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About the Author

Wayne Harrison is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His stories have appeared in the Atlantic, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, and Narrative magazine. One of his stories was selected for Best American Short Stories 2010 and his fiction has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. His short story collection Wrench was a finalist for the Iowa Book Award, the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award, and the Spokane Prize. He teaches writing at Oregon State University.

About the Narrator

Quincy Dunn-Baker is an actor best known for The Big Wedding, Grand Theft Auto V, and Draft Day, as well as roles in television series and in theater.