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Download The Voyage of the Narwhal Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Voyage of the Narwhal Audiobook, by Andrea Barrett Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,201 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Andrea Barrett Narrator: Peter Riegert Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2000 ISBN: 9780375416910
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Capturing a crucial moment in the history of exploration, the mid-nineteenth century romance with the Arctic, Andrea Barrett focuses on a particular expedition and its accompanying scholar-naturalist, Erasmus Darwin Wells.  Through his eyes, we meet the Narwhal's crew and its commander--obsessed with the search for an open polar sea--and encounter the far north culture of the Esquimaux.  In counterpoint, we see the women left behind in Philadelphia, explorers only in imagination.  Together, those who travel and those who stay weave a web of myth and mystery.  And they finally discover--as all explorers do--not what was always there and never needed discovering, but the state of their own souls. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • A 1998 New York Times Notable Book for Fiction
  • An ALA Notable Book Finalist for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/19/2014

    " highest rating from me. terrific book, well told story with provocative historical backdrop, filled with a history of late 19th century ideas. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 2/11/2014

    " A story about a 19th century Arctic exploration - but also what comes before & after the expedition. The ethics of gathering relics, the jousting for discoveries, the treatment of native people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jama | 2/7/2014

    " A postmodern take on 19th century exploring expeditions. Thoughtful and engrossing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 J9nnorm | 1/13/2014

    " This was really interesting. I enjoyed learning about exploration at the last turn of the century. I don't know how much of the facts presented were really true but I felt I learned many things from this book. AND I got to go on a trip far away & long ago. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathryn | 1/11/2014

    " I really liked this book. It's well researached historical fictionl. The character development is terrific. The descrioptions of the artic and complex relationships among the characters are intriguing. I've recommended it to 2 friends who also loved it. They found it a little slow at the beginning but loved it once they stopped looking for an adventure story and instead viewed it as a sociologic commentary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 1/9/2014

    " I found this book extremely beautiful! The characters were well thought-out and executed, and the descriptions of their Arctic voyage were breathtaking. It took me a bit of time to get into the actual plot, but the book definitely became a page-turner as I continued reading! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa Davis | 12/26/2013

    " Didn't Like it at first, thought it was too slow, but one I got into it, couldn't put it down!! Loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Madeleine Super | 12/13/2013

    " This book does what I love best--take me to a time and place I could never imagine on my own. 1850s artic exploration. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adena | 12/6/2013

    " Eh. Very scientific. If you want an account of artic exploration, this is the book for you. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steph | 11/28/2013

    " as was discussed in this evening's book group, Barrett's novel of a voyage to the arctic ocean is not an adventure book. rather, it is a story of class, of evolution and ambition and the ambivalence of truth in history's recounting by those that cross the finish line first. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 June | 10/26/2013

    " The tragedy, the hubris, the ICE!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Marshall | 8/5/2013

    " Really enjoyed reading this book - vivid portrait of excursion to the Arctic - and the relations between individuals on the voyage. The scenery was easy-to-imagine, practically in technicolor. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amber | 6/29/2013

    " Pretty slow and boring. Although it was interesting to see the perspective that 1850's Americans had on people from other parts of the world. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tally | 4/16/2013

    " It took me 3 weeks to read this book. I got so far I just hadto finish it. There were interesting parts, but very slow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cranky | 11/8/2012

    " Fiction, but based on fact. Didn't want it to end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 9/3/2012

    " Gripping tale of a voyage to the Arctic in the 1850's. Very engaging characters with complex stories that sometimes intertwine together. Been a while since I read it but I remember being totally absorbed in the story over three days of listening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Blake | 8/11/2012

    " Interesting historical fiction. Interesting roles for women and characters. I learned a lot about the early days of exploring the arctic and a lot about the arctic. "

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About the Author

Andrea Barrett has received a National Book Award and a MacArthur Grant and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A fellow at the New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers, she lives in North Adams, Massachusetts, and teaches at Williams College.

About the Narrator

Peter Riegert is an actor, screenwriter, and film director who is best known for his roles in the films Animal House and The Mask; he also played the role of New Jersey State Assemblyman Ronald Zellman in the HBO original series The Sopranos.