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Publisher's Summary

Baking a multitude of tartes tatins for local restaurants, an Ohio housewife contemplates her four kids, husband, cats and chickens. Also, America's ignoble past, and her own regrets. She is surrounded by dead lakes, fake facts, open carry maniacs, and oodles of online advice about survivalism, veil toss duties, and how to be more like Jane Fonda. 

But what do you do when you keep stepping on your son's toy tractors, your life depends on stolen land and broken treaties, and nobody helps you when you get a flat tire on the interstate, not even the Abominable Snowman? When are you allowed to start swearing?

With a torrent of consciousness and an intoxicating coziness, Ducks, Newburyport lays out a whole world for you to tramp around in, by turns frightening and funny. A heart-rending indictment of America's barbarity, and a lament for the way we are blundering into environmental disaster, this book is both heresy - and a revolution in the novel.

©2019 Lucy Ellmann (P)2020 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Ducks, Newburyport

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Stephanie Ellyne really brings the book to life

One of the best reading performances I've heard. I was doubtful if the audio version would work but do not fear, Stephanie Ellyne gives so much variation and subtlety to the stream of consciousness that it feels like you're really inside the narrator's mind, and what a interesting mind it is.

17 people found this helpful

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The fact is

The fact is this book goes on for 45 hours with the fact is, the fact is, and it doesn’t end. The audiobook sample is representative for 45 hours of the fact is. The narrator adds a screechy emphasis to points I don’t think the author would have used. I found the narrator annoying. The book would have been better if the editor did a global search and delete of “the fact is” which would have shorten the book and would have been more enjoyable.

edited 15 June 2020
I don't like that I judged this book based on the narrator. I did not like the narration. I tried slowing the book speed down and that helped a little but not much. I kind of wish the book would have been narrated by a Scot.

Perhaps I find this book troubling and I really hate dinging books. I went to look at professional book reviews. They too addressed a certain unease with the book and their reasons why. I discovered what my problem was and it was nothing other than laziness. I kind of wish I would have gotten the Kindle version of the book so that I could read it in my own voice at my own speed. I apologize for saying the mean things I did above.

13 people found this helpful

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Indescribable....

Must be listened to at 1.40x speed for the full effect of the main character's incessant stream-of-consciousness narration raging at the incredulity of current society. This isn't going to be everyone's cup of pepper pot soup, but for those it speaks to, I'll see you all in Newburyport.

8 people found this helpful

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stream of consciousness is perfect on audio

When this one landed on the Booker Prize longlist in 2019 I immediately became curious. But a 1000-page novel that is stream of consciousness intimidated the hell out of me. I decided to wait for audiobook as I believed it would feel more like I was just listening in on the thoughts of one woman. I was right. This book was totally accessible in this form.

In the first tenth or so of the book I was very distracted by the repeated use of the words "the fact that" but as the book continued I found it both realistic and humorous. Each of us thinks much like this book is written. Our brains take massive jumps from one thought to another in tiny moments of time. When my mom suffered a stroke and lost her speech my family learned how quickly it happens. We would all be in conversation when mom would get excited and want to contribute. We would start the 20 questions game of trying to figure out what was in her brain and every time we would find that she was in a completely different world than we were in while talking. Her brain had jumped topics multiple times.

But in the end it turned out this woman was struggling with so much more. She had anxiety, depression and PTSD. She was questioning herself. The indicators were there throughout the book, but I had simply went along for the ride of being part of the mundane, everyday thoughts of one woman. I didn't question it. I just enjoyed. And in the end, I was still surprised, and was happy to find the story was much deeper and a bit darker than I had ever guessed.

I highly recommend the audiobook to anyone concerned about the fact that this book is written in only 8 sentences over 1000 pages.

4 people found this helpful

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Clearly an investment - but what a value for your audible credit!!

The fact that I don’t have any idea how to review this book. The fact that the Audiobook was 45 hours long!!! The fact that the reader was wonderful. I could go on...(well, perhaps not for 1000 pages).
This book was brilliant and heartbreaking and factual and intricate. What a glimpse into the daily narrative of another human (we each have one going on all the time, right?). This novel works on many levels. And won’t be for everyone, that’s for sure. But it draws you in and (if you can avoid poking your eyeballs out) it makes you better for

3 people found this helpful

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GHADS

Couldn't get passed the fourth chapter,
TRUMP-TRUMP, I'm tired of hearing his name enough already!

3 people found this helpful

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Unlike Any Other Book I've Ever Read

I went in to Ducks, Newburyport totally blind. It was the choice for the Reading Envy read-along so I decided to drop an Audible credit and jump in. I had no idea what it was about, I just new that the audio book was 45 hours loooooooong and there was a duck on the cover.

Upon commencing, I wondered what I got myself in to. It is a stream of consciousness style narrative, with the thoughts we listening in on being than of a middle-aged Ohio woman with four kids, a nice husband, and a pie-making business. In one long sentence! I wondered how this could possibly go on for 45 hours?!

It didn't take me long to become fully immersed - thoughts and ideas flew by at a blink of an eye, and if you didn't find the thought of the moment particularly interesting, just wait a few seconds for something else. Is there a subject she doesn't touch on in the 45 hours? Eventually, a plot (actually two parallel plots) *sort of* form and the novel becomes a bit more linear as it gets closer to the end.

The main themes in the woman's inner monologue are how screwed up and dysfunctional humanity is and how we've damaged the natural world. Similar ideas are are expressed through the thoughts of a non-speaking secondary character (no spoilers here). It's not all gloom and doom though, I found myself laughing quite often.

The audio book was narrated perfectly by Stephanie Ellyne. She was just spot on and brought the woman to life. I can't imagine narrating a book that jumps around such as this with barely time to catch a breath.

I wasn't keen on the ending, which I thought was a bit too dramatic. There was also a stretch in the middle of the book where the author switches things up and recites a list for I don't know how long. I could't wait for that to be over with.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. I've never read anything like it before. It's definitely not for everyone, but if you give it a try and can make it past the first 30 minutes I think you'll get in to a nice groove.

2 people found this helpful

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The Fact Is That . . .

The fact is that I never imagined I would enjoy a
1,000 pages of stream of consciousness. The fact is that I absolutely loved this book. The fact is that the narration is the best I have heard as yet.

1 person found this helpful

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fantastic performance of a difficult novel

THIS is how "Ducks" should be experienced to truly get the full effect of the stream-of-consciousness, intrusive thought style.

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Why not live in this woman’s mind?

If one doesn’t expect an elaborate plot and just listens to her inner monologue, it’s not often that one can get into someone else’s head so fully. There is _some_ plot development there. And the reading is terrific. I would never be able to read this book, only to listen, with long pauses.

I have consumed many other books in the interim, coming back to this one for a few chapters at a time. But the image of the woman, her kids, husband and other characters remained with me, so it wasn’t hard to resume listening. Not to mention all the pies and other recipes. Sugar gets onion smell out of your hands and other useful stuff ;-)

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