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Anthem  By  cover art

Anthem

By: Noah Hawley
Narrated by: Shiromi Arserio,Noah Hawley
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Publisher's Summary

What does it take to change the world? The “epic adventure” (Booklist) of a band of unlikely heroes on a quest to save one innocent life who may end up saving us all.

For decades, Judge Margot Burr-Nadir has worked tirelessly, case by case, to administer justice from the federal bench of the Eastern District of the United States. Her position already seems like the highest possible honor. So she is surprised when a call comes from the President of the United States inviting her to accept his nomination to the Supreme Court—not least because in choosing her, in an unprecedented attempt to heal a divided nation, the President has reached across party lines.

For Margot, this should be among the brightest spots of an already charmed existence. But the call comes on a family trip to visit their oldest daughter, Story, who has, without warning, vanished as if spirited away in the middle of the night by forces unseen. Margot soon finds herself thrust onto the national stage in the middle of every parent’s worst nightmare.

The desperate search for Story’s whereabouts soon intersects with the mission of teenagers Simon Oliver, Louise Conklin, and a young man known only as the Prophet. Together, they have escaped from the Float Anxiety Abatement Center in Chicago on the trail of man known as The Wizard: an unimaginably wealthy, almost mythical figure of unspeakable evil who has for years been taking whatever he wants without reaping the consequences. Stopping him, this band of young people hopes to accomplish what their elders can’t or won’t do: fix a broken world.

Noah Hawley’s new novel is an adventure that finds unquenchable lights in dark corners. Unforgettably vivid characters and a plot as fast and bright as pop cinema blend in a Vonnegutian story that is as timeless as a Grimm’s fairy tale. It is a leap into the idiosyncratic pulse of the American heart, written with the bravado, literary power, and feverish foresight that have made Hawley one of our most essential writers.

©2022 Noah Hawley (P)2022 Grand Central Publishing

Critic Reviews

“Hawley taps into our existential anxiety—and transforms it into a hefty page turner that’s equal parts horrific, catastrophic and, at times, strangely entertaining.”—New York Times Book Review

“Hawley the fiction writer is at his best when pitching his taut setup and its well-drawn cast of characters.”—USA Today

Anthem is a Great American Novel for these tumultuous times—a provocative work of fiction that sees to the heart of things, cuts through the noise, and asks, 'How can we change, before it’s too late?'"—Esquire  

Interview: Noah Hawley’s Near-Future Thriller Is an Epic Dystopian Fable That Hits Close to Home

'I never want to write something that you see coming.'
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  • Anthem
  • 'I never want to write something that you see coming.'

Editor's Pick

A master storyteller’s dark American fable
He may be best known as the Emmy-winning creator of FX’s series Fargo, Legion, and the upcoming Alien, but Noah Hawley’s ambitious new thriller confirms he is a masterful novelist, operating at the top of his game. The follow-up to his Edgar-winning mystery Before the Fall, Hawley’s sixth novel imagines a post-pandemic America beset by a plague of teenage suicides, environmental catastrophe, and civil unrest. If that hits a little close to home, Anthem keeps listeners along for the ride with complex plotting and action, healthy doses of magical realism and humor, and an ensemble of vivid characters. Comparisons to The Stand are warranted and intentional (there’s a character named Randall Flagg, along with a cosplay-like cast of folks named Katniss, Tyler Durden, and a witch and a wizard), but this fantastical and chilling fable is wholly its own. The narration—alternating between the dazzling Shiromi Arserio and the author—is as provocatively meta as the storytelling. —Kat J., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Anthem

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not Noah Hawley’s usual!

So I thought this book was quite the conundrum.
The author states that this is not political yet I thought it did have some political overtones. It also relies on many of the problems we are having today with teenagers and suicide, opiate addiction, relationships with their parents, racism and more. Add to that the Corona virus and how a large population declared war in masks. Instead of trying to find a solution to the problem they call it a political conspiracy, refuse to acknowledge there really is a virus and die at an alarming rate. On the heels comes global warming. Some areas are too hot for any life and other areas are flooding. Then there is a ragtag group of teens out to rescue a young girl sold into slavery and save the world!
If this book had been written by Stephen King it would be getting 5 star reviews rather then the 2 star rating it currently has.
I thought the narration was great and I listened to the entire book and was thoroughly entertained. Many parts required suspended belief in reality but who cares? It’s fiction, you’re not supposed to take it as gospel!
This book has my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

55 people found this helpful

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Great book. Approach with an open mind.

Most literary novels, by default, lean left, so I entered this book with some preconceived expectations that it would lean left. Through the majority of the read, I found the book to be very open-minded, although the author did take some bitter and blatant shots at Trump. Again, for the most part, the story was presented in a fair way, skewering stereotypes on the left AND right in order to show what an all-out Civil War would actually look like. To that end, I thought the author did a good job.

The book struck me with a Vonnegut feel throughout, and therefore I wasn't surprised when he acknowledge Vonnegut as an influence at the end. The constant utterance of "Ba-fooey" reminded me of Vonnegut's "And so it goes."

Though I enjoyed this book, I would have preferred to skip the strange interlude that interrupts the story at the half-way mark, where the author starts espousing opinions on covid masks-completely pulling me out of the story. Then pushing me right back into it in the next chapter.

Authors have artistic license to do as they please. I support him giving his novel a certain voice, however I felt the author intrusion and preachiness in the epilogue, about how the rich have to give more to the poor, detracted from a story that I really liked. I'd been handed a novel that genuinely let me make up my own mind, and then suddenly I was being told what was wrong and right. To do it over again, I'd skip the epilogue.

Do you lean left, do you lean right? Are you a crazy liberal or a crazy conservative? Either way, I think you can enjoy this book. It's told in a very real style, which abandons most PC rules of today. Though I had minor gripes with it, what he tried to do succeeded. And I would recommend it to anyone, left or right, conservative or liberal. (American)

Narrators were both great. I listened to on 1.30 speed.

10 people found this helpful

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I regret this purchase

It isn't often that I don't finish a book. I was beyond excited to see a new release by Noah Hawley.... I bought it without even reading the description. I am 5 hours in and can't finish. Disjointed and rambling, with new characters introduced randomly... who I assume will eventually tie in with the main characters at some point, although I am not 100% sure I even know who the main characters are. And not one is likable at this point. If this was the first book I had read by Hawley, I would never have read another. And I LOVE his other books. I don't get it. I would try to find a summary to find out what happened, but I don't care what happens to anyone in this book.

6 people found this helpful

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Clever but flat

Clever writing. I can truly say I never quite knew where the story was going to take me.

The storytelling unfortunately suffers from some myopia. Progressives are portrayed as victimized innocent visionaries while conservatives (Christians, QAnoners, Trump supporters) are simply portrayed as angry, compassionless cardboard cutouts.

6 people found this helpful

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Tripe

Oh brother… what a silly, self righteous, depressing bunch of tripe! And dangerous too - this book is nonsense!

Tell me where the morality of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” has ever worked? Yes, the human race is in this together and WE ALL should do good and strive to leave this earth in a better way than we entered it! But this self indulgent lecturer on humankind’s lack of morality is sickening. Where’s the praise for those who innovated and created airplanes, electric cars, refrigerators, in-door plumbing? Don’t these things benefit humankind? Not to this author… he’d prefer to focus on opioid moguls, Epstein style child molesters and “made-up” fanatical right wing gangs that molest the “tame” masses and then illogically correlate that all people who have wealth or power or faith are immoral and then ask “why are you surprised when our kids Jill themselves?” as if it was the ONLY logical choice. What garbage!

Who would argue in defense of Epstein or unscrupulous business people that act immorally, or fanatics that detonate bombs and blow up innocents? The overwhelming majority of Americans on either side of the political spectrum agree that these people and these acts are unacceptable. From the beginning of time people have behaved terribly and there will continue to be monsters who prey on innocents. But humankind is so much more capable and optimistic than what this author put forth in this silly, depressing book.

Continuing to indulge this current woke tripe is corrupting everything from politics to art to popular culture to sports and it’s hurting ALL of us.

Boofooey on Noah Hawley!!!

5 people found this helpful

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600 audio book owner

did not enjoy this book. way too preachy. Will delete it now. So long. goodbye

4 people found this helpful

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Ordeal

This book was like a root canal. What an ordeal! And a huge waste of my time.

4 people found this helpful

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Hopelessly depressing

Noah Hawley has such a negative outlook on EVERYTHING that it weighs like a dark wet blanket over this story. Apparently, he thinks we are all doomed and wants to tell us there is no hope. He needs to stop listening to the network news every night and start living to see that people still live lives with meaning. If the book had a point, it would finish with a real ending so it was clear. And what is with Hawley interjecting commentary every few chapters? Properly written stories don't require explanation.

3 people found this helpful

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I'm disturbed.

I can't decide if I love or hate this book.
If I had to describe it in one word, that word would be schizoid.
It leaves me feeling uneasy. Disturbed.
I suppose art should disturb us.
This book might be a work of genius or of insanity. And yet, it feels important. Maybe even defining.
I can't judge it. Maybe you can.

2 people found this helpful

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I didn’t think I’d like this book…..

I really enjoyed it even though totally out of my wheel house. I cared about these kids, hoped he would bring it all together somehow and he did! I don’t want to give anything away. It’s a bit of a wild ride but interesting trying to figure it out. Many points to discuss with BookClub.

1 person found this helpful