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Untouchable: A Novel Audiobook, by Scott O’Connor Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Scott O’Connor Narrator: Bronson Pinchot Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2011 ISBN: 9781483059853
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (878 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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It is the autumn of 1999. A year has passed since Lucy Darby’s unexpected death, leaving her husband David and son Whitley to mend the gaping hole in their lives. David, a trauma-site cleanup technician, spends his nights expunging the grisly remains of strangers, helping their families move on, though he is unable to do the same. Whitley—an eleven-year-old social pariah known simply as the Kid—hasn’t spoken since his mother’s death. Instead, he communicates through a growing collection of notebooks, living in a safer world of his own silent imagining.

As the impending arrival of Y2K casts a shadow of uncertainty around them, their own precarious reality begins to implode. Questions pertaining to the events of Lucy’s death begin to haunt David while the Kid, who still believes his mother is alive, enlists the help of his small group of misfit friends to bring her back. As David continues to lose his grip on reality and the Kid’s sense of urgency grows, they begin to uncover truths that will force them to confront their deepest fears about each other and the wounded family they are trying desperately to save.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In his first novel, Untouchable, Scott O’Connor speaks softly and somehow manages to make something beautiful of unspeakable matters…O’Connor tells a wisp of a story, but in a voice so insistently stirring, you want to lean in close to catch every word.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Once in a very long time, a book comes along that resonates and sings with heart. It’s characters so real you want to touch them, hug them. Their peril so well told you are filled with fear as you are a mere observer of their adventure. You find yourself holding your breath as you read the last pages…And when it is over you wish you could read it all for the first time, again. That is how good this book is.”

    Crimespree magazine

  • “There are no easy answers or safe archetypes here, nor is there a single iota of sugar-coating. The world of Scott O’Connor’s debut novel is tough, worn, and thoroughly lived in, and is as vivid and painfully honest as anything I’ve read in a very long time. Do not sleep on Untouchable, this is the real thing.”

    Nathan Singer, author of A Prayer for Dawn and In the Light of You

  • “Pinchot—with a soft, easy delivery—lovingly brings this melancholy story and its diverse characters to life. His narration is smooth and compelling, while the voices he lends Whitley and his father fully realize their sadness and despair. But Pinchot also manages to infuse each scene with a sense of hope. The result is heartfelt performance of a rich and deeply moving story.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred audio review)

  • “In his first novel, O’Connor exposes the raw anguish and grief a father and son experience after the sudden death of their wife and mother. David Darby works for a crew of sanitation experts who erase the traces of violent death from homes, hotels, convenience stores, etc., for the owners and bereaved families. His son, Whitley, who is only called "The Kid," has refused to speak since his mother died and communicates only with a notebook and pencil. Each day Darby's gruesome job brings him closer to despair and violence. And as the Kid suffers unspeakable bullying at school, he maintains the belief that his mother is not dead and that he will be able to bring her back. Given that scenario, the lives of both protagonists rapidly spiral out of control. O’Connor's brutal exposure of his characters' pain and grief is astonishing in its immediacy and not necessarily a comfortable read. Like Jodi Picoult, the author doesn't flinch from the realities of life and death that can create madness or the solutions that can restore wholeness. Introducing an amazing new talent to the world of fiction. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • Winner of the 2011Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • Recipient of the 2011Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 2/17/2014

    " Sad but powerful book about loss, coping, depression and moving on. David Darby & his son Whitley "The Kid" deal with the loss of a wife and mother in their own way. Darby being self-destructive and The Kid turning inside himself. The bullying that The Kid had to deal with were heartbreaking and anger inducing. I wanted to jump into the story & kick their asses myself. It was also an interesting look into the business of cleaning up death scenes and the affect it has on the workers. Awesome book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Traci | 2/12/2014

    " A son deals with the loss of his mother by not speaking. A father deals with the loss of his wife by not dealing with it. This can't go on forever, and things start spiraling out of control as they separately fall deeper into their own despair. A powerful story of two people trying to find a semblance of normalcy in their abnormal lives. "

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

    " I would not describe this book as a "feel good" experience, but I recommend it because the perspectives and characters of both the son and father are so vivid, you feel like you know them well by the story's end. The son is a victim of on-going horrifying bullying and the father, going through his own issues following the loss of his wife, is paralyzed from his own grief. What makes this book so good, is how you continue to hope for a better outcome for the characters, even as they seem hopeless themselves. Without ruining the ending for readers, I'll just mention it was satisfying without appearing contrived. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Su | 2/1/2014

    " Whoa. This book was emotionally draining and yet at the same time, very difficult to stop reading. The main characters are a father and his sixth grade son. I hate to think that the brutality the boy endures by classmates is remotely possible in today's schools, but I imagine it is probably true. The two of them are at a pivotal point in their lives and the reader really doesn't know until the end how they will survive it all. Very good, very sad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Seth | 1/24/2014

    " This would be a really good book if there were not so many unresolved issues at the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allison | 1/23/2014

    " I was torn between three and four stars for this book. For me, it definitely ended stronger than it started. Perhaps I was wary at the start because I had read the reviews calling the story "bleak" and "dark". While the story definitely was those things, there was far more hope in the story than I expected. Ultimately, that thread of hope pulled me through the story and kept me wanting to read to the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erika | 1/12/2014

    " I liked this book, but I don't know why. The writing was very good - but it was so dark. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jenn | 12/30/2013

    " It took me weeks to get through this book as I thought it would get better. I finished the book but I still have no clue what it was about. Not one of my favorites "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessi | 12/28/2013

    " Sticks with you for a while. Sad. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Janice | 12/26/2013

    " Very hard to read.. U are never surevhowvthe paragraphs jump from one character to another. I could feel the building of avresolution but when it came I was a bit disappointed. I would not reccomend this read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 12/14/2013

    " quick, easy read & a an overall good book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawn | 12/11/2013

    " Very choppy read. Did not really enjoy this writers style. Also wished for deeper characters. Felt like they had no substance. Interesting storyline but scary when thinking about kids and bullies. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 11/26/2013

    " Free Friday Nook Book. Weird, but interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott | 11/26/2013

    " Dark, heartbreaking, well-crafted "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tammy | 9/24/2013

    " Very well written but sooooo sad and depressing! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 9/12/2013

    " The author is definitely unique because the writing style reminds me of older classic novels with extreme symbolism. I guess if I knew the book was going to be so dark, I wouldn't have chosen it. Couldn't there be one stroke of good luck in these characters lives? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ed | 8/27/2013

    " A sad book about sad people in sad situations. Well written, but dark. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacy | 8/10/2013

    " Another Free Friday selection from B&N. It was interesting enough to keep me reading but I very much felt the end was anticlimactic. I thought it was rushed, as if the author got tired of writing the story. Not a story I would buy and read again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl | 6/14/2013

    " This book is a bit oddly written and very depressing, but also somewhat uplifting. I really liked the son and you want to read to see what happens. It is a hard book to recommend because it is pretty dark, but I found that I enjoyed reading it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 5/5/2013

    " This book had the potential to be really good. It wasn't though. I was especially disappointed in the ending, or rather thereof. Maybe that was the point, but I didn't really care for it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 4/1/2013

    " Would have given it 3 1/2 stars if I could. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kayla | 3/6/2013

    " another free nook download.....second one wasn't a charm either. This was okay I guess, very depressing without any literary merit. I didn't particularly care for the characters and I didn't like the formatting of the story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Genna | 1/5/2013

    " Brilliant. Impossible to put down. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Richard | 8/10/2012

    " Confusing...a waste of time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 6/15/2012

    " Sad but so effective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 4/25/2011

    " Interesting read with an interesting, different cast of characters. It was definitely heavy in parts, lots of death, including suicide. "

About the Author

Scott O’Connor is the author of the novella Among Wolves, and the novels Untouchable and Half World. He has been awarded the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, and his stories have been short-listed for the Sunday Times/EFG Story Prize and cited as Distinguished in Best American Short Stories. Additional work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Zyzzyva, The Rattling Wall, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

About the Narrator

Bronson Pinchot, Audible’s Narrator of the Year for 2010, has won Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Awards, AudioFile Earphones Awards, Audible’s Book of the Year Award, and Audie Awards for severak audiobooks, including Matterhorn, Wise Blood, Occupied City, and The Learners. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale, he is an Emmy- and People’s Choice-nominated veteran of movies, television, and Broadway and West End shows. His performance of Malvolio in Twelfth Night was named the highlight of the entire two-year Kennedy Center Shakespeare Festival by the Washington Post. He attended the acting programs at Shakespeare & Company and Circle-in-the-Square, logged in well over 200 episodes of television, starred or costarred in a bouquet of films, plays, musicals, and Shakespeare on Broadway and in London, and developed a passion for Greek revival architecture.