adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $30.09

Buy for $30.09

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The eagerly awaited English translation of award-winning author Zhang Ling’s epic and intimate novel about the devastation of war, forgiveness, redemption, and the enduring power of love.

On the day of the historic 1945 Jewel Voice Broadcast - in which Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender to the Allied forces, bringing an end to World War II - three men, flush with jubilation, made a pact. After their deaths, each year on the anniversary of the broadcast, their souls would return to the Chinese village of their younger days. It’s where they had fought - and survived - a war that shook the world and changed their own lives in unimaginable ways. Now, seventy years later, the pledge is being fulfilled by American missionary Pastor Billy, brash gunner’s mate Ian Ferguson, and local soldier Liu Zhaohu.

All that’s missing is Ah Yan - also known as Swallow - the girl each man loved, each in his own profound way.

As they unravel their personal stories of the war, and of the woman who touched them so deeply during that unforgiving time, the story of Ah Yan’s life begins to take shape, woven into view by their memories. A woman who had suffered unspeakable atrocities, and yet found the grace and dignity to survive, she’d been the one to bring them together. And it is her spark of humanity, still burning brightly, that gives these ghosts of the past the courage to look back on everything they endured and remember the woman they lost.

©2017 Zhang Ling. Translation © 2020 by Shelly Bryant. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"An ensemble of five gifted narrators splendidly conveys the haunting language and imagery in this WWII story." (AudioFile magazine)

“The range of narrators provide a unique voice for each viewpoint character.” (Book Riot)

"Few writers could bring a story about China and other nations together as seamlessly as Zhang Ling. I would suggest it is her merit as an author, and it is the value of her novels." (Mo Yan, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature)

What listeners say about A Single Swallow

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    167
  • 4 Stars
    85
  • 3 Stars
    30
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    171
  • 4 Stars
    51
  • 3 Stars
    31
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    148
  • 4 Stars
    73
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    4

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Must-Read

I am sitting here, trying to put down into words how I feel, after reading what I consider a masterpiece. It is unfortunate for a man who can babble on forever with a keyboard but, yet, cannot find the words to say how he feels about this book.

Overwhelmed.

Yes, that’s the word. I am overwhelmed by this book.

I want to express my appreciation to the world-class narrators. Excellent work!

I want to express my appreciation to the author, who carried me through much love, much hate, much joy, and much sorrow. I am, indeed, overwhelmed.

Lastly, I want to express my appreciation to all those members of the crew who brought this audio production into being.

I highly recommend this audiobook.

54 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Between the Japanese and Nationalists

Excellent story of 4 lives entwined by fate, idealism, and human shortcomings. Credible. Told in a clear steadfast and credible voice. Haunting. When there is no right or wrong, no religious tradition and not even a culture of language to tether a person. An excellent illustration of Chinese prAgmatism and survival. This story is set in a lived environment connecting 4 hearts. Highly recommended as written and reAd..

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Sad Story

Its about a girl named swallow and story being told by 3 ghost, or 3 male friends who died. All 3 men told story from their point of view, and i hope that she was given at least a chapter or epilogue to tell her side. Its about missed chances, or how fate can change one’s course. Overall its a sad story

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

love vs war

I received this book as a Goodreads ebook giveaway but opted to upgrade to an Audio book and I am glad I made that choice as I did not have to struggle with pronouncing many of the names and cities.

I enjoyed the story but it wasn't without problems. I would have liked to have heard the side of Wende/Stella. She endured so much that would have been more relatable told from her perspective instead of from a man's.

I have read a lot of books from this time period but never related to China and Japan so I learned a lot. I was not aware of where China stood during this time period.

I would recommend for anyone interested in historical fiction.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Haunting and Beautiful

I lost a night's sleep listening. A timer is set and normally I fall into a deep sleep when the time is up. Instead, I lay unsettled and wanting to reset the timer, finally giving into the urge. The story is beautifully written, the narration engaging, the theme haunting. Thank you for offering this book during World Book Day. It has expanded my knowledge of the influence of WWII in the Chinese society.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

long and depressing

This is a story that is very depressing. It us long and doesn't have a good ending really.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A loving story

This story is so sweet! The narration was simply amazing. Every narrator’s voice went along with the character they portrayed and kept me captive the entire book. I hadn’t heard of this book before now and I’m so glad I listened to it!

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating!

This book was such a pleasure. It made me feel as if I was spending time somewhat immersed in another culture and day. Adding to that was Zhang Ling’s story being told from several unique points of view. Kudos on the translation and the performances, too. I never had to wonder whose part of the story I was listening to. Time well spent!

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not interesting enough as an audio book

Might be something i could read, but couldn't get into as an audio book. Listened for over 30 minutes, just too ponderous to appreciate in this format.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hard to follow in the beginning. continued.

worth the read. interesting about that time in China through the eyes of a Chinese woman.

6 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nicola
  • Nicola
  • 07-19-21

Fascinating

Somewhat sentimental in parts but real insight into a time and place. Well written and narrated.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ruth
  • Ruth
  • 07-18-21

Beautiful

It's been a while since I was touched by a story.

Although it feels like "the Moonstone", it has, to certain extent, reached more scopes and depth. The views of the dogs are welcomed too.

The whole story feels rather real and relevant for the recent and current generations.