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Download This Beautiful Life: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample This Beautiful Life: A Novel, by Helen Schulman 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: Helen Schulman Narrator: Hillary Huber Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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When the Bergamots move from comfortable suburban Ithaca to New York City, they’re not sure how well they will adapt—or what to make of the strange new world of the well-to-do Upper West Side. But soon Richard is consumed by his executive role at a large New York university, and Liz, who has traded in her academic career to oversee the lives of their children, is hectically ferrying six-year-old Coco around town. Fifteen-year-old Jake is gratefully taken in by a group of friends at Wildwood, an elite private day school.

But the upper-class cocoon in which they have enveloped themselves is ripped apart when Jake wakes up one morning after an unchaperoned party and finds an e-mail waiting in his inbox from an eighth-grade admirer. Attached is a sexually explicit video she has made for him. Shocked, stunned, maybe a little proud, scared—a jumble of adolescent emotion—he forwards the video to a friend, who then forwards it to a friend, and the video goes viral. Within hours, it’s not only all over the school but all over the city—and all over the Internet.

In the aftermath, Jake is suspended from school, Liz’s social standing among the Wildwood moms is challenged, and Richard’s job is at risk. Good people faced with bad choices, they decide to fight back. But how? Do they use the very weapons wielded against them—the media and the law? And at what moral and professional cost? How they choose to react, individually and at one another’s behest, places everything they hold dear in jeopardy; they are completely caught off guard by the ramifications of their actions, not only to their marriage, their daughter, their place in the community, but to Jake—the very one they have set out to protect.

This Beautiful Life is a powerful exploration of the blurring boundaries of privacy and the fragility of self, a tour de force of modern life that will have listeners debating their assumptions about family, morality, and the sacrifices and choices we make in the name of love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A gripping, potent, and blisteringly well-written story of family, dilemma, and consequence. While the setting is thoroughly modern, the drama feels as ancient and inevitable as a Greek myth. I read this book with white-knuckled urgency, and finished it in tears. Helen Schulman is an absolutely brilliant novelist.”

    Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love

  • “Helen Schulman is one of the most gifted writers of her generation.”

    Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize–winning and New York Times bestselling author of A Visit from the Good Squad

  • This Beautiful Life isn’t just an intimate look at family breaking down under intense pressure; it’s also a sharp and unsparing indictment of a culture in search of scapegoats. In this timely and provocative novel, Helen Schulman maps out the contours of a contemporary American nightmare.”

    Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Helen Schulman’s trenchant social observations and precise, lucid writing are brought to bear on the timely story of a crisis in the life of the Bergamot family…Schulman takes on a controversial topic with depth, evenhandedness, and warmth. Spare and focused, This Beautiful Life packs a wallop.”

    Kate Christensen, author of The Epicure’s Lament and The Great Man

  • “With psychological acuity and cinematic pacing, Helen Schulman takes a hypercontemporary nightmare…and parlays it into a wildly compelling novel about parenting, privilege, and the fragility of happiness…This Beautiful Life is moving, disturbing, and grandly incisive.”

    Jonathan Miles, author of Dear American Airlines

  • “A harrowing and moving account of just how much twenty-first-century technology has magnified the scope of the kind of imbecilities in which teenagers excel. It’s poignant about the fragility of even those homes that are seemingly invulnerably insulated by privilege and caring and vigilant parents.”

    Jim Shepard, author of Like You’d Understand, Anyway

  • “In the hands of a lesser writer, this might have been simply a book about a scandal; Helen Schulman, though, has a long enough view, and a large enough heart, to have found in that scandal’s outlines a mournful and affecting portrait of our brave new social world.”

    Jonathan Dee, author of The Privileges

  • “Schulman, whose awards include a Pushcart Prize and a Sundance Fellowship, has written a painfully honest novel that examines with precision the delicate balancing act needed to nurture a family through these manic times…This book will appeal to readers who thrive on discussing moral ambiguities.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “The plot is ripe for salacious tabloid treatment, but Schulman sidesteps easy shock and hyperbole to turn out a provocative story of ethics and responsibilities in the ever-shifting digital age.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Hillary Huber narrates with tremendous empathy for all the characters, conveying their emotions and point of view and making listeners sympathize with the entire cast. Huber does not create voices per se, instead she simply changes the inflection of her voice to bring out the personality of each character…All the complexities and insecurities of the characters are present in Huber’s nuanced performance, making this a compelling and thought-provoking audio.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred audio review)

  • A 2011 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
  • Selected for O Magazine’s Reading Room, August 2011
  • Recipient of the 2011 Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award
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