• To the River

  • A Journey Beneath the Surface
  • By: Olivia Laing
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (108 ratings)

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To the River  By  cover art

To the River

By: Olivia Laing
Narrated by: Kate Reading
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Publisher's Summary

Over 60 years after Virginia Woolf drowned in the River Ouse, Olivia Laing set out one midsummer morning to walk its banks, from source to sea. Along the way, she explores the roles that rivers play in human lives, tracing their intricate flow through literature, mythology, and folklore.

Lyrical and stirring, To the River is a passionate investigation into how history resides in a landscape - and how ghosts never quite leave the places they love.

©2019 Olivia Laing (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about To the River

Average Customer Ratings
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Virginia Woolf Serves as a Walking Companion

The beautiful writing is perfectly matched with the beautiful voice. The experience is completely captivating.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Which English?

I’m flabbergasted to hear this reader, with her mesmerizing voice and British English pronunciation of what is obviously a British English text, read some words and expressions as if American. Very puzzling. For example, dates are read without the (perhaps unwritten but definitely colloquial “th”) and “noughty” years without their “and”. And “sYmultaneous” - nails screeching down a blackboard!

2 people found this helpful

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beautiful account and historical story

such a beautiful account full of historical and botanical information. I highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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So much beneath the surface

This is one of the most lovely books I’ve ever read. There is so much more here than can be contained in a cover blurb—or in any reader review. First rate narration elevates this gorgeous prose.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful

I could listen to Kate Reading read the classified ads but the story is great also.

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Dark and depressing

I expected this to be a peaceful, relaxing narrative about nature, but this was the darkest, most depressing book since Nabokov’s “The Overcoat”. I don’t recommend listening to it if you are already feeling down.

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  • Ms M L Vandermerwe
  • 03-06-20

Wonderful book Terrible narrator

A wonderful, intelligent and original book, read by a robot (or so it seems) who insists on pronouncing and emphasizing every sy-lla-ble. Like the early days of speaking computers. I don’t understand why the publisher or author allowed this.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-29-20

The Narration Isn’t Good

I’m sorry to say this, but the narration is really off-putting and makes the listen quite hard going and unenjoyable. Monotone and robotic intonation. Please re-record with a different narrator because the book itself is wonderful.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Mclawz
  • 07-25-19

Why why choose this narrator!?

I cannot understand why, when Zara Ramm does such a Superb job of narrating the lonely city, that Kate Reading is chosen for the rest of Laing’s books. I find her narration so peculiar it’s hard to listen to. Like it’s been run though auto tune. I had to send it back although I love Laing’s work. Sad times.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Harry_Bristol
  • 10-14-21

A flowing narrative

Other reviewers have said they didn’t like the narrator, but I found the narration to have a beautiful cadence—tumbling along like a meandering river. I enjoyed the landscapes of the walk, the storytelling, and the weaving in of Virginia Woolfs life and death.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Eve
  • 09-10-21

loved it

I was nearly put off by the negative reviews about the narration, I'm glad I wasn't. The reader has a fine relaxing voice, just has exact annunciation, nothing wrong with that!
A combination of fascinating history, a bit if travel. literature, nature. Enjoy!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-26-22

great writing

I'm not very eloquent so won't bother trying to be clever. I really enjoyed this and admire the writing .

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  • JStubb
  • 05-30-22

Should have listened to other comments about the narration

Like others, just couldn’t get on with the stylised narration. It was fine at first but started to grate after a while.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JennieBee
  • 04-20-22

What dull narration

Who chooses narrators for audible? I have abandoned so many as I can’t stand the narration. It seems to me that this woman has been directed to pronounce certain words for the American audience fertle instead of fertile being an example. Also ‘twenty one June’ instead of ‘the twenty first of June’. They never afford us the same privilege when American books are printed or narrated for our market! I feel like she is trying to read in that annoying stilted way poets read their work at performance events and has no feeling for the subject. It detracts from the words which speak for themselves. I would much rather hear the author or just someone reading in a pleasant, gentle voice. Don’t think I will be finishing this either.

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  • Jill
  • 01-30-22

Terrible narration

Read by someone who mispronounces Sussex place names, from Balcombe to Slaugham, irritatingly and unnecessarily.

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  • Anna Green
  • 01-19-22

Irritating narration

I found this difficult to listen to, due to the lack of inflection in the narrator’s voice - it just flows on without emphasis. I didn’t manage to get more than halfway through, if that.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-30-22

a deeply moving history surprisingly shared

I found the trgrtrnces to Virginia Wolf enlightening . Reading this in the southern he.ispher and wishing I could fly. this Uthour knows her topic.

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  • Len Sturges
  • 05-04-22

Follow the river

This book really grew on me. It is alive to nature, literature and the things that make us human. It is very funny in places. I enjoyed it hugely.