A Very Long Engagement

  • by Sebastien Japrisot
  • Narrated by Isabel Keating
  • 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A runaway best seller in France and winner of the 1991 Prix Interallie, Sebastien Japrisot's novel about World War I was acclaimed as "a latter-day War and Peace" by The New York Times.Set during and after the First World War, A Very Long Engagement is the tale of a young woman's search for her fiance who she believes might still be alive despite having officially been reported as "killed in the line of duty". Unable to walk since childhood, fearless Mathilde Donnay is undeterred in her quest as she scours the country for information about five wounded French soldiers who were brutally abandoned by their own troops.
A Very Long Engagement is a mystery, a love story, and an extraordinary portrait of life in France before and after the War.

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What the Critics Say

"Riveting....A fierce, elliptical novel that's both a gripping psychological thriller and highly moving meditation on the emotional consequence of war." (The New York Times)
"A classic mystery....Only the best historical fiction can make the journey into a distant time and return with a believable sense of how things really were. That Japrisot's book has done so is a mark of his great talent." (The Washington Post Book World)
"Magical....Part romance, part mystery, part history, part exploration of the dogged pursuit of the improbable, it commands attention from first to last." (The Boston Globe)
"Japrisot's eloquently easy, almost offhand style (nicely translated by Coverdale) makes even throwaway lines remarkable...and his re-creation of the nobility, futility, and horror of trench warfare is harshly beautiful." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An Painfully Long Engagement

Would you try another book from Sebastien Japrisot and/or Isabel Keating?

Interesting premise, likeable & fairly fleshed-out main caracters, but loses the reader along the journey. The author has skill to create some interesting scenarios, but is unable to craft the longing the reader should have felt through Mathilde. Perhaps a fantastic short story.


Has A Very Long Engagement turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, this was a valiant attempt and some parts held my interest.


Would you listen to another book narrated by Isabel Keating?

I enjoyed the narrator. Her voice embodied what I felt Mathilde should sound like. Determined, strong...


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes, I enjoyed the original love story between the two main characters and liked the interaction between Mathilde and the detective.


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- FanB14

An excellent listen!

I thoroughly enjoyed the story - the plot follows Mathilde, a young french woman as she tries to discover what happened to her missing fiancee in the closing months of World War I.

The narrator was great, although the number of French names and places (pronounced with a flawless and therefore hard-to-follow French accent) that are introduced at the beginning of the book were a bit hard for me to keep up with. I got it figured out eventually, but I had a hard time distinguishing characters at first. The one weakness this audiobook has is one that all suspense audiobooks have - as the mystery evolved, I found myself wanting to go back and re-read certain crucial scenes that happen at the beginning of the book (which is pretty-near impossible with audiobooks).

Regardless, I highly recommend this audiobook!
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- Marty

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-23-2004
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio