New Yorker book critic and award-winning author James Wood delivers an audiobook about a family struggling to connect with one another and find meaning in their own lives. In the years since his daughter Vanessa moved to America to become a professor of philosophy, Alan Querry has never been to visit. He has been too busy at home in northern England, holding together his business as a successful property developer. His younger daughter, Helen-a music executive in London-hasn't gone, either, and the two sisters, close but competitive, have never quite recovered from their parents' bitter divorce and the early death of their mother. But when Vanessa's new boyfriend sends word that she has fallen into a severe depression and that he's worried for her safety, Alan and Helen fly to New York and take the train to Saratoga Springs. Over the course of six wintry days in upstate New York, the Querry family begins to struggle with the questions that animate this profound and searching novel: Why do some people find living so much harder than others? Is happiness a skill that might be learned or a cruel accident of birth? Is reflection conducive to happiness or an obstacle to it? If, as a favorite philosopher of Helen's puts it, "the only serious enterprise is living," how should we live? Rich in subtle human insight, full of poignant and often funny portraits, and vivid with a sense of place, James Wood's Upstate is a powerful, intense, beautiful audiobook.
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"Narrator Raphael Corkhill gives a competent, if sometimes cloying, performance of Wood's beautifully observed family tableau. Alan Querry, a 68-year-old British builder, receives a worrying phone call: His older daughter, Vanessa, a brilliant college professor who lives with her American boyfriend, Josh, may be suicidal. With his younger daughter, Helen, Alan travels to Saratoga Springs, New York, in the dead of winter. They find Vanessa improved, and against the bitter upstate winter a familiar family dynamic unfolds. Why is it so difficult for Vanessa to be happy when Helen always seems to be carefree? Corkhill's narration falls short in his performance of American characters--particularly in his mocking rendering of Josh's lisp. The humanity of Wood's characters, however, triumphs in the end. D.G.P. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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