• A Psalm for the Wild-Built

  • Monk & Robot, Book 1
  • By: Becky Chambers
  • Narrated by: Em Grosland
  • Length: 4 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,330 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Narrator Emmett Grosland conjures the essence of a troubled soul in search of peace in this gentle audio."—AudioFile Magazine

In A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Hugo Award-winner Becky Chambers's delightful new Monk and Robot series gives us hope for the future.

It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.

One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of "what do people need?" is answered.

But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.

They're going to need to ask it a lot.

Becky Chambers's new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?

A Macmillan Audio production from Tordotcom

©2021 Becky Chambers (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

Editor's Pick

Feel-good, feel all the feels sci-fi
I’m always excited for a new Becky Chambers title—but even more so for a brand-new series. Her distinct style of cozy sci-fi manages to somehow be at once heartwarming and thought-provoking—two things that are exactly what I need right now. Even with her nonhuman characters (here: robots!), her stories restore my hope in humanity. I’m extra thrilled to discover a new narrator in the process, as Emmett Grosland brings voice to an unlikely friendship between a robot and a tea monk. —Sam D., Audible Editor

What listeners say about A Psalm for the Wild-Built

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I just didn't get it

I didn't get the point of this story.

Also, the use of plural pronouns for single people really confused me as half the time I thought more than one entity was being referred to. I'm sure in written form it would have been less confusing as the context would have been easier to follow.

I understand & support the use of gender neutral pronouns, but we English speakers need to come up with a better solution than using the plural for the singular. Maybe not using pronouns? Maybe using singular verbs when using plural pronouns as singular pronouns? Maybe some new pronouns (many SF books have done this)? In the case of this story, writing in the first person instead of the third person would have greatly reduced my confusion.

21 people found this helpful

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The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

This was absolutely WONDERFUL! It is like a continuation of the wonderful Ursula K. LeGuinn narrative, one of my very favorite things! I really love the idea of a "tea monk". I would like Sibling Dex to camp on our front yard for a few days, when this heat-wave breaks. I have read everything Becky Chambers has published, and always hate having to wait for more. Her writing always makes me happy. Thank you so very much, Becky!

19 people found this helpful

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A Balm of a Psalm

(Possible spoilers ahead.)
I’m always ready for a Becky Chambers book. Where The Wayfarers was about finding family in an exciting but high-stakes and sometimes brutal future, A Psalm for the Wild-Built is pastoral and meditative in a setting where humanity managed to unf*ck itself.
Human Dex is a monk who travels and serves tea and comfort and is successful in their service to others, but finds themselves empty and depressed. Dex’s future is comfortable and safe: when robots gain sentience, humans set them free, and humans radically reboot their lives to sustainability.
Dex recognizes that they have everything they need, and are furious that they have an emotional pain they can’t heal no matter what they try. Readers will know long before Dex does that Dex is burnt all the way out from caring for everyone but themselves.
Dex meets and travels with Mosscap, a guileless, gentle, and annoyingly curious robot that has volunteered to leave the wilds to see what humans need.
When Dex reveals to Mosscap why Dex is confused and hurting, I was full on crying. I was touched by Chambers’ depiction of Mosscap’s kindness, and related so much to Dex’s fear of starting over.
Emmett Grosland was fantastic at bringing Chambers’ words and characters to life. Not gonna lie: I adore Mosscap as Grosland portrays them. What a pure robot.

Highly recommended.

Something that doesn’t have anything to do with the writing or performance that I think is worth mentioning is the unevenness in the sound quality. Some sections of the audio were fuzzy, and others clear, and it was unrelated to the text. Emmett Grosland would sound like two different performers, because the recording gave them two different pitches. This didn’t ruin the book for me, but it was baffling given that this is an audiobook from a major publisher.

11 people found this helpful

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Stilted writing. Difficult to read.

I understand there is a movement to remove gender from dialogue, but following a main character referred to as “they” made it hard for me to form the visual I typically create when reading. “They” were so nondescript, it took away from the story.

My mind kept conjuring up more than one bland person, And one bland person was bad enough.

“They” stiill implies plurality in my mind, which is not something I will probably be able to get past in my lifetime. Beyond that, the writing was stilted and overcrafted I couldn’t finish it.

6 people found this helpful

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Not my cup of tea

This book didn't really work for me. I didn't find the world building convincing, it would have worked better with either less details, or better thought out details. Also the personality of the robot seemed far fetched given their origins. The experiment with using they, them, their everywhere was interesting, but not fully successful. Too often, "they" in particular ended up being ambiguous and confusing. If we end up settling on "they" as a gender neutral pronoun, writers are going to need to figure out how to write around that particular ambiguity, and not do a straight swap for "he/she/it".

The strongest part of the book was the interaction between the robot and Dex, but that wasn't enough on its own.

4 people found this helpful

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Fun novella

Enjoyable novella set in a world I hope the author revisits. Made me delighted to have a friendly tea shop right up the road. Cozy SF needs to become more of a thing (it might already be), because this made my morning brighter.

4 people found this helpful

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A Soothing Validation for Anyone Who’s Ever Felt Lost in Life

This book spoke to my heart. I’ve often found myself dissatisfied with a perfectly comfortable life, a more than adequate vocation, and wonderfully caring community. This story felt like a validation of that unintelligible, albeit not uncommon, human predicament… that yearning for more. Purpose, meaning, wholeness. If you’re into allegory, nature, sci-fi, philosophy… or if you just have a nagging sort of wanderlust that often creeps in on you… this book will surely be a worthwhile listen… and quite possibly more.

3 people found this helpful

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stunning

I hope this gets made into film. just wow. I was NOT ready for it to end.

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  • AC
  • 01-29-22

Propaganda BS

Is the main character more than one person? This book is pronoun hell and the story is almost nonexistent.

2 people found this helpful

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It feels like the first third of a book

I generally enjoyed this, but it’s very confusing that there was so much exposition in the beginning, and so much world-building, and then the main characters reach their first goal and it ends there? Most of it I found mildly enjoyable, but there were a lot of loose ends.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amy Brennan
  • 07-13-21

Wholesome Goodness

This is a book for our times. It’s gentle, & good & will resonate with anyone who’s burned out by *gestures at everything*

10 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-19-21

A different kind of sci fi.

I've been looking for a book like this, for a very long time regardless of whether ive known it.

I'm not usually one to write reviews but i owe this book after listening to it in one sitting, completely engrossed and at peace, so bear in mind my words are biased and unlikely to explain the book well enough compared to the other reviews.

Simply put, this book, in a future absent of any material or ecological stresses, deals with the nature of purpose and choice and the nature of consciousness. This sounds boring and unthrilling, and compared to, say, the expanse series, it's pretty chilled out. But throughout the duration it really makes you question a lot of assumptions, but also of your own mindset.

I honestly just fannot recommend this book enough. If it's not for you, whatever, its short and sweet so you'll not be wasting too much of your life. But if you need some time, to think and unwind, this book is meditation written on paper.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dominic Carter
  • 08-13-21

Book like a warm mug of tea

Becky Chambers writes the most beautiful sci-fi I've read. Her characters feel like rich and deep beings with familiar emotions. She's stand out in this way for me. Read her stuff <3

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lilylilydora
  • 08-15-21

love Becky Chambers!

we all need these stories in our lives. Becky Chambers is visionary and wonderful

2 people found this helpful

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  • Judi Blakeburn
  • 08-08-21

Lovely

A delight as well as deeply thought provoking.
Simplicity gentleness yet riveting with so much more to find out in books to come

2 people found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 07-23-21

Just beautiful.

A beautiful story of self discovery.

Perhaps we should all go in search of the crickets.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dave F
  • 09-25-22

Inspirational

When science fiction is good, it opens up new horizons by exploring ideas through a story. At it's best you don't even notice you are reading science fiction. This is great science fiction. A truly great book that I hope will in time be recognised as a classic.

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  • caterina toniolo
  • 09-24-22

amazing book. seems like there are 2 narrators ?

one narrator is good and then there are some parts that seem stitched in.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-13-22

Love Becky Chambers, not a fan of this narrator

I adore Becky Chambers work, my criticism isn't with the story content, but with the narration. I get that the story is about a monk and a robot but Em's narration was like listening to a text-to speech robot. I'll have to buy the book and read it myself because I couldn't finish the audiobook

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-08-22

Short and sweet

Lovely book that proves that you don't need 15+ hours to tell a great story

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  • Janine M. Cobb
  • 07-18-21

Another great book

Becky Chambers was a recent discovery of mine, I recently enjoyed all of the excellent Wayfarer series and was excited to see this new release. I had a little trepidation, as robots are not really my jam, however they did not disappoint. Listening to a book by Becky is like sinking into a warm bath, the Utopian world, the gently philosophical storyline, and very likeable characters all make for a wonderful escape. I look forward to further instalments.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Vicki
  • 09-07-21

I love Becky Chambers

very different from her other stuff but still very enjoyable.
cute lil solar punk book. can't wait for the sequel.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Phoebe
  • 08-24-21

Sweet & beautiful story that's a bit light on plot

A beautiful & heartfelt book. More a meditation on philosophical & ethical ideas than a narrative. Chamber's has created a lovely vision of a kinder world. I did not find the use of the 3rd person pronoun for the main character obtrusive. The whole book is from their perspective & there are few group interactions so it's not confusing. Once you adapt your thinking to this way of speaking. Would be a good book for exposing younger people to these harmonious concepts.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-19-21

Beautiful

A wonderful story about the illusion of purpose and the strange places it drives us to. And how its ok to just be alive and experience the world.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mindy
  • 08-09-21

so beautiful and poignant

I loved spending time with Dex and Mosscap and was very sad to leave them. Beautifully written, wonderful wordplay. A joy to listen to. Elicits heartfelt emotions around what it means to be sentient and alive.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-01-22

Mosscap is so very cute <3

Becky Chambers has a way with world building and characters that I rarely find anywhere else. Her worlds are always visibly descriptive and I love the way she gets inside her characters heads. Each character sees the world very differently in all of her novels and you get a beautiful view of how they see it, in their own words. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3. This review applies not just for this book, but every book she's ever written. Massive fan!

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  • cspo
  • 06-16-22

Refreshing story, well-written and performed.

Interesting take on issues of identity, purpose and meaning through the eyes of a burgeoning relationship between two unlikely allies. Very nice, and does an excellent job of living up to its dedication.