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The Leavers

A Novel
By: Lisa Ko
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
Length: 14 hrs and 53 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Summary

One morning, Deming Guo's mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, 11-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. They rename him Daniel Wilkinson in their efforts to make him over into their version of an "all-American boy". But far away from all he's ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother's disappearance and the memories of the family and community he left behind. Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging. It's the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he's loved has been taken away - and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past.

©2017 Lisa Ko (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Can’t wait for the next Lisa Ko novel...

Absolutely loved this book. Complex, ambitious and perfect in its structure, covering decades, cultures and continents. The narration was simply brilliant, the narrator moving between male and female, young and old, voicing each character bringing them fully and distinctly to life. I can’t believe this was Lisa Ko’s first novel- for me it was on a par with Franzen and Donna Tartt’s best offerings.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • susan sompayrac
  • 27-06-17

Overly dramatic narration.

Story bogged down by excessive descriptive details. Appreciated the socio-cultural story line. May have been more enjoyable to read rather than listen to as an audiobook.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-12-17

Great story horribly read

The story was beautifully written and very interesting but difficult to listen to give in the odd accents and tonation of the reader. This is a time to get old fashioned and just read the book.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • tigerlily10
  • 01-11-17

Awful narration

The narration makes this story very difficult to listen to. She alternately whispers and yells, and, as others have mentioned, is overly dramatic. She frequently sounds like she's crying, or at the very least, severely depressed, and many of her character portrayals are ridiculous sounding caricatures.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • barbara
  • 29-06-17

Narrator is off-putting, histrionic, and limited

Any additional comments?

I will finish this audiobook by reading it. As much as I enjoyed the story of an adopted Chinese boy, and felt the author captured the spirit of her characters, I couldn't abide the narrator, whose voice was grating, and who offered too many passages in a kind of screechy, histrionic fashion that I found unbearable.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Adera Causey
  • 13-05-17

Reader wasn't loud enough

The story is exceptional but ruined by the reader whose whispered tone and selected overdramatizations were distracting and hard to follloe

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Aimee Greene
  • 07-08-18

Loved this book!

This book was a great listen. I enjoyed the narration and the story kept me engaged.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan Myers
  • 15-04-18

Good but not quite a classic yet

I’d say this is an author to watch. Some of the character development was a bit weak and there were a few too many cliched themes, particularly with relation to the adoptive parents. Unlike many reviewers here, I thought the narration was good but, yes, occasionally a little over dramatic. That said, I think she conveyed the passion of the characters well.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Kennym
  • Kennym
  • 29-06-17

somewhat dark story.

the book gives the reader a glimpse into the life of immigrants a well as broken relationships. I was left with the question, do we really overcome the imprint left by the environment we grew up in.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Melini
  • 25-02-20

Melodramatic Narrator; Relentlessly Mocking Voices

I'm about halfway through this, and I don't think I can finish listening. So many of the characters come across more like stereotypes rather than interesting human characters. The white people in particular are the most clueless, uncool, culturally oblivious, self-absorbed bunch of boobs ever described. The narrator's offensively bad voicing of the characters made it worse. Even the most mundane lines with breathless desperation. It's exhausting, and I'm not curious enough about what might eventually happen to stick with it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Book and art lover
  • 31-01-20

Excessively dramatic reading and writing

This was a good story idea, but the characters were fairly one-dimensional and many felt excessively tragic. Narration was overdramatic without enough variation in intensity. I stayed with the book because I cared about the main characters, and the important themes in the book- immigration, family disruption, adoption, racism, young adult development and challenges, and identity.