• Self-Portrait with Boy

  • A Novel
  • By: Rachel Lyon
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (82 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A compulsively listenable and electrifying debut about an ambitious young female artist who accidentally photographs a boy falling to his death - an image that could jumpstart her career, but would also devastate her most intimate friendship. 

Lu Rile is a relentlessly focused young photographer struggling to make ends meet. Working three jobs, responsible for her aging father, and worrying that the crumbling warehouse she lives in is being sold to developers, she is at a point of desperation. One day, in the background of a self-portrait, Lu accidentally captures on film a boy falling past her window to his death. The photograph turns out to be startlingly gorgeous, the best work of art she's ever made. It's an image that could change her life...if she lets it. 

But the decision to show the photograph is not easy. The boy is her neighbors' son, and the tragedy brings all the building's residents together. It especially unites Lu with his beautiful grieving mother, Kate. As the two forge an intense bond based on sympathy, loneliness, and budding attraction, Lu feels increasingly unsettled and guilty, torn between equally fierce desires: to use the photograph to advance her career, and to protect a woman she has come to love. 

Set in early 90s Brooklyn on the brink of gentrification, Self-Portrait with Boy is a provocative commentary about the emotional dues that must be paid on the road to success, a powerful exploration of the complex terrain of female friendship, and a brilliant debut from novelist Rachel Lyon. 

©2018 Rachel Lyon (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

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What listeners say about Self-Portrait with Boy

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  • Overall
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great story

great character development and unique story line. would recommend to anyone looking to feel emotional connection to main character.

2 people found this helpful

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👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼I’m ecstatic! Julia Whelan NEVER disappoints!

Again, I searched by narrator and was gifted with this winner! I am thrilled with the brilliance of Julia Whelan; her vocal tones are beyond perfection; she’s magnificent. Author Rachel Lyon, a first for me, has created a mystical and complexellent novel. I’ll just say this intriguing, complicated and enjoyable book is well worth a cherished credit or the $13.32 I paid. Highly recommended, I can’t stress it enough and I want to scream it from the rooftop. EPIC, I say! EPIC, EPIC, EPIC! Thank you, Julia, Ms. Lyon and the folks at Audible. Keep ‘em coming!

👏✍🏻🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟✍🏻👏

1 person found this helpful

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Don’t waste your time!

Attractive because Julia Whelan is narrating,this book is boring and stupid. The protagonist,who writes in the first person, is narcissistic, vacuous, selfish and pathetic. She makes excuses for herself and complains throughout the book.
This one is a bomb

1 person found this helpful

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Spellbindingly Beautiful

Lyon’s writing is nuanced and sublime. Her descriptions of place and of her characters’ emotional worlds are poetic and fine-tuned. I loved the inside look at artists decades ago trying to make it in the cutthroat NYC art world of galleries, patrons and competition. I recommend this book highly; it grabbed my attention and didn’t let go, I just gulped it down. Julia Whelan, as usual, did a marvelous job narrating.

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Gritty and vivid

Loved listening to this book! Whelan’ characters were compelling and gritty! A great recommendation from a friend!

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Disappointingly dull

I was expecting a lot & was disappointed even more. The story starts out interestingly enough, but quickly nosedives into a word salad of inane conversations and situations between unlikable, boring characters. The plot is a steady slog of pointlessness—what did her dad and missing mom have to do with anything? Just as dull is the narrator who sometimes gives the main character a Boston accent (probably not a good one either), and other times not. Same with the N.Y. city characters and their accents—on & off. I increased the listening speed to 1.5 and skipped minutes at a time just to get through this novel.

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Great read! Well written

couldn't put this down. such a beautifully written, complex, sad and wonderful story! loved it

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great book to hear.

heard about this book on NPR. Had a credit, and took a chance. So glad I did. The story is extremely unique. One person's heart break is another person's triumph. I would recommend this book to any book club. I think it would allow very lively conversation and discussion about how far you would go to further your career.