Lucy Ellmann’s 45-Hour Audiobook

March 4, 2020 | 1

Lucy Ellmann’s Booker Prize-nominated novel, Ducks, Newburyport, is 1,030 pages of stream of consciousness writing narrated by an Ohio housewife—not exactly the kind of book one easily translates into the audio format. Yet actress Stephanie Ellyne was tasked with just that, as Laura Snapes at the Guardian explains. “For 45 hours and 34 minutes, Ellyne reads Ellmann’s text in a calm, bemused voice that recalls Laurie Anderson’s spoken-word work. During recording, she averaged 41 pages per hour, though the work continued away from the microphone. Every night, Ellyne would read and research the following day’s pages, working out how to pronounce the thousands of place names and obscure historical battles in US history. ‘My engineer and I wondered if some of them were fictional, but sure enough, they’re true,’ says Ellyne. ‘The violence in America—all these shootings—isn’t new.'”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

One comment:

  1. I am looking for some recommendations for enthralling audiobooks with lyrical prose and captivating imagery. I have a proclivity for Magical Realism and dark, surreal fiction. Some of the audiobooks I have particularly enjoyed over the last few years include:

    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt
    A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill
    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

    Authors that I particularly love are: George Saunders, Haruki Murakami, Aimee Bender, Karen Russell, Kelly Link, Brian Evenson, and Colson Whitehead.

    Any suggestions that The Millions community would give would be much appreciated!

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