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Summary

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014

Seventy-year old avant-garde composer Peter Els opens the door one evening to find the police outside. His DIY microbiology lab has come to the attention of Homeland Security. Panicked by the raid on his house, Els flees and turns fugitive, waiting for the evidence to clear him and for the alarm surrounding his activities to blow over. But alarm turns to national hysteria.

As Els feels the noose around him tighten, he embarks on a cross-country trip to visit, one last time, the people in his past who have most shaped his failed musical journey.

©2014 Richard Powers (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"Extraordinary and confounding… mind-spinning and wonderful" ( Independent on Sunday)
"Sweet, funny, sad and haunting… A formidably intelligent, ecstatically noisy novel" ( Guardian)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A sophisticated and enjoyable listen/read!

Would you consider the audio edition of Orfeo to be better than the print version?

Not necessarily - I enjoyed both, reading on my kindle, then listening on my iPhone while in the car, doing the dishes or gardening! The reading is very good.

What does William Roberts bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

How to pronounce complex scientific and musical terms! The sound of the reader's voice is very believable as a representation of the narrator.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It is a bit long for that, but I certainly always wanted to carry on listening.

Any additional comments?

A really great novel narrated in a thoughtful and appropriate manner. Particularly enjoyable for fans of 'serious' music, science and those with an interest in the absurdities of modern social media, technology, the 'news cycle' and paranoia.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Adele
  • Paremata, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 23-09-15

Made my ears bleed

I like a challenging read and quirky story, but the narration of this book was relentlessly intense - as was the story. It wore me down. I couldn't sustain my listening and didn't get far. Not like me at all. Might have helped if I was a classical music buff, but... probably not.