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Extended Audio Sample The Summer Guest: A Novel Audiobook, by Alison Anderson 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: Alison Anderson Narrator: Julia Emelin, Lucy Rayner, Kirsten Holly Smith Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2016 ISBN: 9780062445261
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What if Anton Chekhov, undisputed master of the short story, actually wrote a novel—and the manuscript still existed? This tantalizing possibility drives The Summer Guest, a spellbinding narrative that draws together, across two centuries, the lives of three women through the discovery of a diary.

During the long, hot summer of 1888, an extraordinary friendship blossoms between Anton Chekhov and Zinaida Lintvaryova, a young doctor. Recently blinded by illness, Zinaida has retreated to her family’s estate in the lush countryside of Eastern Ukraine, where she is keeping a diary to record her memories of her earlier life. But when the Chekhov family arrives to spend the summer at a dacha on the estate, and she meets the middle son Anton Pavlovich, her quiet existence is transformed by the connection they share. What begins as a journal kept simply to pass the time becomes an intimate, introspective narrative of Zinaida’s singular relationship with this doctor and writer of growing fame.

More than a century later, in 2014, the unexpected discovery of this diary represents Katya Kendall’s last chance to save her struggling London publishing house. Zinaida’s description of a gifted young man still coming to terms with his talent offers profound insight into a literary legend, but it also raises a tantalizing question: Did Chekhov, known only as a short story writer and playwright, write a novel over the course of their friendship that has since disappeared? The answer could change history, and finding it proves an irresistible challenge for Ana Harding, the translator Katya hires. Increasingly drawn into Zinaida and Chekhov’s world, Ana is consumed by her desire to find the “lost” book. As she delves deeper into the moving account of two lives changed by a meeting on a warm May night, she discovers that the manuscript is not the only mystery contained within the diary’s pages.

Inspired by the real friendship between Chekhov and the Lintvaryov family, landowners in the Ukraine, The Summer Guest is a masterful and utterly compelling literary novel that breathes life into a vanished world, while exploring the transformative power of art and the complexity of love and friendship.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A richly researched and subtly nuanced mystery that explores the intimate relationships of one of Russia’s best loved writers and poses intriguing questions about the fine line between art and deception.”

    Kathleen Tessaro, New York Times bestselling author

  • “The blind doctor, Zinaida Lintvaryova, stays in my heart long after I close Alison Anderson’s beautifully written book. The young Chekhov himself cannot outshine Zinaida as she urgently explores life, science, art, family, and love, her passion defying death.”

    Helen Simonson, New York Timesbestselling author

  • The Summer Guest gives us all of the pleasures of a superb mystery novel, but most of all it is a profound meditation on the power, and necessity, of the imagination. What a deeply moving novel.”

    Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Elegant…This alluring and deceptively ingenuous novel demands close consideration from its readers, contains an internal mystery, and packs a heartbreakingly lovely emotional punch.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A gorgeous elegy to a great Russian writer…Anderson’s characterizations of Katya, Ana, Zina, and the young Chekhov are delightfully complex, and she treats them with patience, sensitivity, and sympathy. Her prose is the height of elegance. Here’s hoping that she follows this novel with more of her own. An exceptional novel about the transcendent possibilities of literature, friendship, and contemplation.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Subtle and haunting…Ardent Chekhov fans will appreciate a brief immersion in the world he must have known for two summers, while readers of any stamp can enjoy the melancholy beauty of a vanished world and the surprise twist that, at the end, offers what all three characters have been searching for—‘something completely unexpected and equally precious: another way of seeing the world.’

    Publishers Weekly

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for May 2016
  • A Newsday Pick of Best Summer Books, 2016
  • A Library Journal Audio-in-Advance Pick
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About the Author

Alison Anderson, a native Californian, works as a literary translator in the Swiss Alps. Her many translations include the Europa edition of Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Ingrid Betancourt’s memoir, and the work of JMG De Clezio. She has also written two previous novels and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Translation Fellowship, as well as fellowships at the prestigious MacDowell Colony and the Hawthornden Retreat for Writers.

About the Narrators

Julia Emelin is a voice talent and audiobook narrator. She is the winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award.

Lucy Rayner has starred in numerous short and feature-length films, including English20 and Total Retribution. For her performance in Bolero, she was named Best Supporting Actress at the 2013 Madrid International Film Festival. A native of South Wales, she currently lives in Los Angeles.