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Publisher's Summary

"The Hike just works. It's like early, good Chuck Palahniuk. . . . Magary underhands a twist in at the end that hits you like a sharp jab at the bell. . . . It’s just that good." —NPR.org

“Inventive, funny. . . . Quietly profound and touching.”—BoingBoing

From the author of The Postmortal, a fantasy saga unlike any you’ve read before, weaving elements of folk tales and video games into a riveting, unforgettable adventure of what a man will endure to return to his family

When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike. Once he sets out into the woods behind his hotel, he quickly comes to realize that the path he has chosen cannot be given up easily. With no choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself falling deeper and deeper into a world of man-eating giants, bizarre demons, and colossal insects. 

On a quest of epic, life-or-death proportions, Ben finds help comes in some of the most unexpected forms, including a profane crustacean and a variety of magical objects, tools, and potions. Desperate to return to his family, Ben is determined to track down the "Producer," the creator of the world in which he is being held hostage and the only one who can free him from the path. 

At once bitingly funny and emotionally absorbing, Magary’s novel is a remarkably unique addition to the contemporary fantasy genre, one that draws as easily from the world of classic folk tales as it does from video games. In The Hike, Magary takes readers on a daring odyssey away from our day-to-day grind and transports them into an enthralling world propelled by heart, imagination, and survival.

©2016 Drew Magary (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Magary's second novel (after The Postmortal) features elements reminiscent of Homer's Odyssey, Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series, Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, and the PC game King's Quest. Mostly, it is a reminder of not only how easy it is to get lost but also how difficult it can be to find one's way back. Fast-paced and immensely entertaining, this is highly recommended for sf fans and adventurous literary readers." --Library Journal, starred review

"In this literary odyssey, Magary combines fascinating dream imagery, assorted video game tropes, and a story structure that's deliberately predictable (with nods to many other tales of wandering through strange lands before returning home) but still surprising." --Publishers Weekly

"Creepy.... Magary isn't shy about getting weird fast.... [He] even nails the ending with a Twilight Zone twist that would have Rod Serling nodding with approval. An eerie odyssey that would be right at home in the pages of the pulpy Warren comics." --Kirkus Reviews

Editor's Pick

Rick and Morty fans, listen up
"I was introduced to this book through an unexpectedly long conversation with a friend of a friend. What started as a "you should read this book" conversation turned into one of those dreaded "I’m going to tell you the entire plot of this book" conversations. I was nodding along patiently, as I do, but then became fascinated when this friend’s friend told me about the crab. The crab? Yes, there’s a talking crab that sounds like a mobster with lung cancer. He’s a hoot. Yes, I went and listened just because I wanted to hear the crab. I do not regret that decision at all and recommend this trippy trip 10/10."
Melissa B., Audible Editor

What listeners say about The Hike

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Kafkaesque novel that went on way too long

It seems to be endemic to the genre, but Kafkaesque writers never know when to quit and wrap it up. What I like about the novel is that there are many individual scenes that are memorable, sometimes because they are entertaining and sometimes because they are slightly disturbing. And there are few well-described peaceful, almost beautiful moments, but not many. Also there is some humor from time to time.

What I don't like is that the book just kept going on and on like the novels of Kafka or Stanislaw Lem. The reader can already guess the end but has to slug through the mire to get the closure he\she deserves.

All that being said, some of it stuck with me after listening, and I might just listen to it again though for the life of me I can't say why.

137 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Wearisome dark journey, too long.

Based on the good reviews and fairly high ratings, I bought this book. I got halfway through and then decided to switch to something else for a while . . . something more positive. Coming back, it was still too dark and never-ending. I tried skipping forward a bit and it was the same old same old . . .

I don't understand the good reviews for this book. In the meantime, I've listened to some very good books, and coming back to this one . . . there's no point in wasting any more time on it.

People have different taste in entertainment. This is far too dark and boring for me.

114 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Whiny protagonist...

...who complains constantly and is extremely annoying. Also, the plot is totally incoherent and resembles a random collection of bizarre nonsequiturs. The ending is somewhat satisfying, but to get to the payoff, you have to slog through 7 hours of pathetic ineffectual complaining.

59 people found this helpful

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Take a Hike

I was a little hesitant to get this book as some of the reviews said the main character was whiny or that the book went on to long. I was well rewarded for ignoring those negative comments as The Hike was a excellent story with a relatable character thrust into a really crazy situation. If you're looking for unusual but highly engaging story take a chance on The Hike.

56 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Best ending I can remember

Is Kaufkaesk the right term for this book? Both the reader and main character are thrown into dark and confusing world, and struggling to understand why, what to do. As the story goes on our main character character slowly figures out the "path" in his never ending effort to get back to his family.

In most books the reader feels like he has one up on the main character, in that the reader has a better idea of what's going on. In a zombie apocalypse book, the reader already knows there will be zombies and how to kill them and we get frustrated watching the tropeish characters struggle to figure it out. Magary gives the reader no extra context so there are times when we are every bit as lost as our hero. This just adds to the story.

The trials on the path become a great allegory for life. There are moments of toil, fear, horror, self loathing, self pity, love, companionship, longing, resignation, and times where its laugh out loud funny. There is a sexy Giant, a sarcarstic talking crab, the undead, and serial killers. Beyond that its hard to its hard to say much without giving anything away. Just get this book and enjoy the ride; you won't be disappointed.

54 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

I bought this book based on the recommendation of one of the Audible Editors. He said he found the interaction between Crab and the main character was funny so I was hoping for at least some humor but boy was I disappointed. This book started off interesting but slowly became depressing and boring. Even Bronson Pinchot, on of my favorite narrators, couldn't salvage this book. Really disappointing.

53 people found this helpful

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Didn't get past the first chapter

[{ answer : , type : Overall, question : This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more? , id : 49, typeString : overall }, { answer : , type : Story, question : Has The Hike turned you off from other books in this genre?, id : 23, typeString : story }, { answer : Narrator was wonderful. , type : Performance, question : Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Christopher Lane?, id : 39, typeString : performance }, { answer : , type : Genre, question : What character would you cut from The Hike?, id : 89, typeString : genre }, { answer : It was the reviews that pulled me in, 4+ stars over 2000 reviews. But I didn't get past the first chapter, excessive use of swear words stopped me. Over use of expletives is a sure sign of trying too hard to be one of the crowd and nothing good come from it. I'm glad audible has a refund policy., type : Misc, question : Any additional comments?, id : -1, typeString : misc } ]

42 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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I can't take it any longer...

What the F did I just listen to? So, this book is not what I expected. I read the editors recommendation & feel like it was WAY off. I thought about returning this book multiple times. Crab is the only thing that got me through but once he split off I couldn't take it any longer! I tried to finish this book. It's not funny at all.

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Confusing. Terrifying. Oddly enlightening.

At first "The Hike" seems like a psychological horror, but it is a bit more than that. As the novel moves on towards the end there is a twist and a thoughtful lesson in it.

A man named Ben goes down a hiking trail and gets lost after witnessing something horrifying, but it quickly becomes apparent that reality itself has become twisted and starts testing him with hardships. In a mature man's darker version of wonderland, Ben struggles through these challenges on the path wondering how to get back home and why he is being tested at all.

The narrator does a great job bringing Ben's brittleness and emotional states to the surface of the audiobook. You can really get a feel for the character and what he is going through.

Recommended those who enjoy books such as "Alice in Wonderland" or movies such as "Pan's Labrinth". Anyone drawn to a chaotic tale where every event in it is a metaphor and a puzzle will most likely enjoy "The Hike".

39 people found this helpful

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  • BC
  • 08-08-16

Begins and ends in spectacular fashion

The greatest strength, it seems to me, this author possesses in relation to the Hike is that he really knows how to start a story and suck you in. Similarly, the ending was perfect. It honestly could not have ended any other way. The final scene is so beautifully done that it makes you feel as though the journey was worth the wait.

That said, it is the journey that wore me out. At some point I sat there listening to all of the things he had to go through and began to wonder just how much of it was essential to the novel and how much merely served as filler. Either way, it works because you enjoy it or you don't. If you don't, then by the end you are just as delighted to finish the path as our dear friend we've been walking it with.

The narration is superb and in my opinion made the book a wonderful listen. I'm not sure if have endured the boredom of certain scenes had it not been for the narrator.

37 people found this helpful