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What Luck, This Life Audiobook, by Kathryn Schwille Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Kathryn Schwille Narrator: various narrators, Richard Ferrone, Stephen Bel Davies, Prentice Onayemi, Scott Aiello, Michael David Axtell, Jessica B. Harris, Amanda Leigh Cobb Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2018 ISBN: 9781538452769
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The Columbia space shuttle and its contents rain down on the people of Kiser, Texas, in Kathryn Schwille’s imaginative debut novel set six weeks before the invasion of Iraq.

What Luck, This Life begins in the aftermath of the space shuttle’s break-up, as the people of Piney Woods watch their pastures swarm with searchers and reporters bluster at their doors. A shop owner defends herself against a sexual predator who is pushed to new boldness after he is disinvited to his family reunion. A closeted father facing a divorce that will leave his gifted boy adrift retrieves an astronaut’s remains. An engineer who dreams of orbiting earth joins a search for debris and instead uncovers an old neighbor’s buried longing.

In a chorus of voices spanning places and years, What Luck, This Life explores the Columbia disaster’s surprising fallout for a town beset by the tensions of class, race, and missed opportunity. Evoking Sherwood Anderson’s classic Winesburg, Ohio and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, the novel’s unforgettable characters struggle with family upheaval and mortality’s grip and a luminous book emerges—filled with heartache, beauty, and warmth.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fans of Thomas Pierce and Amy Hill Hearth will appreciate Schwille’s spare, poetic prose and her willingness to examine both the picturesque and the unsavory sides of small-town life. A deeply thought-provoking novel.”

    Booklist

  • “Quietly contemplative and affecting…[A] modern-day Winesburg, Ohio.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • What Luck, This Life is an astonishing work of literary talent, surprising at every turn. The characters are wild and desperate, but they are also us. For we are all cast out, looking for a return. From the tattered remains of disaster, Schwille creates a glimmering constellation of humanity, a flash of heavenly light. Just thinking about this book makes me feel more alive.”

    Elaine Neil Orr, author of Swimming Between Worlds

  • “Unexpectedly moving…[Schwille’s] characters speak from the heart; their troubles and small triumphs speak to all of us.”

    Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever

  • “This is a book full of heart and wisdom.”

    Thomas Pierce, author of The Afterlives

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About the Author

Kathryn Schwille’s fiction has appeared in New Letters, Memorious, Crazyhorse, West Branch, Sycamore Review, and other literary journals. Her stories have twice received Special Mention in the Pushcart Prize anthology. She was an award-winning newspaper reporter before moving to North Carolina to become an editor at the Charlotte Observer. A graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, she lives with her husband in Charlotte, NC.

About the Narrators

Chris Widener is a successful businessman, author, speaker, and television host. He has authored over 450 articles and numerous books; he has also produced many CDs and DVDs on leadership, motivation, and success. Widener was previously the host of the national interview show Made for Success and cohost of True Performance with Zig Ziglar. As a public speaker, he has presented to organizations such as General Electric, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and the Harvard School of Business. 

Richard Ferrone has recorded over 150 audiobooks including thrillers, romances, science fiction, and inspirational novels. He has earned numerous Audie Awards for narration, as well as Audie nominations. He was also recognized as an AudioFile “Voice of the Last Century” and a “Rising and Shining Star.” A science fiction fan, he narrated Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy. He has also narrated works by James Patterson, Dashiell Hammett, Walter Mosley, John Sandford, Eric Van Lustbader, and Stuart Woods.

Stephen Bel Davies has recorded over a hundred titles. Trained at the Juilliard School Drama Division, he has narrated books by a number of New York Times bestselling authors.

Prentice Onayemi is an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator and a voice and film actor who is known for his roles in The Steam-Room Crooner, AmeriQua, and as Joey in the Tony Award–winning play War Horse.

Scott Aiello has narrated over a dozen audiobooks and is a 2013 Audie Award finalist for his nonfiction narration of Sex and God at Yale by author Nathan Harden. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School drama division and has since performed and directed various New York plays and has been seen on television shows such as Person of Interest and Elementary. Before Juilliard, he was a regular in the Chicago theater circuit.

Michael David Axtell is a voice talent and audiobook narrator.

Jessica B. Harris is one of a handful of African Americans who have achieved prominence in the culinary world. She holds a PhD from NYU, teaches English at Queens College, and lectures internationally. Her articles have appeared in Vogue, Food & Wine, Essence, and the New Yorker, among other publications. She has made numerous television and radio appearances and has been profiled in the New York Times. One of the preeminent scholars of the food of the African Diaspora, she has been inducted into the James Beard Who’s Who in Food and Beverage in America, received an honorary doctorate from Johnson & Wales University, holds awards from sources too numerous to note, and has helped the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture to conceptualize its cafeteria.

Amanda Leigh Cobb is a voice talent and Earphones Award–winning narrator.