Leaving the World

  • by Douglas Kennedy
  • Narrated by Kate Harper
  • 18 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On the night of her 13th birthday, Jane Howard made a vow to her warring parents – she would never get married and she would never have children. But life, as Jane comes to discover, is a profoundly random business.
Many years and many lives later, she is a professor in Boston, in love with a brilliant, erratic man named Theo. And then Jane falls pregnant. Motherhood turns out to be a great welcome surprise – but when a devastating turn of events tears her existence apart she has no choice but to flee all she knows and leave the world.
Just when she has renounced life itself, the disappearance of a young girl pulls her back from the edge and into an obsessive search for some sort of personal redemption. Convinced that she knows more about the case than the police do, she is forced to make a decision – stay hidden or bring to light a shattering truth.
Douglas Kennedy’s exceptional new novel is a portrait of the way we live now, of the many routes we follow in the course of a single life, and of the arbitrary nature of destiny. Like his previous highly acclaimed novels it is also a compulsive read – and one which speaks volumes about the dilemmas we face in trying to navigate our way through all that fate throws in our path.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Seriously? This book got published?

A genuinely bad story with an equally bad narrator.

To use Douglas Kennedy’s repetitive reference to the word “narrative”, this one is exceptionally weak. It’s basically just two different stories lumped together. It’s as though he desperately needed to get a book out so he blabbered on and on through one meaningless story, trying to find a path for it. Then completely out of the blue, he had a bright idea for a better storyline, so to avoid having to re-write the entire thing, he just shoved the two stories together so that it might sound interesting and not be kicked clean out the door by the publishers. He didn’t even have the decency to bother to try and find a link between the two stories. And then to add insult to injury, he ended the book with an unfinished plot and a lame cliché.

The first three quarters of the book are so pointless that I would suggest to any listener that they completely skip past both Parts 1 and 2, and start listening from one hour into Part 3. This is the only section of the entire book that contains any semblance of a real plot and has some guts to it. Everything else prior to this point makes the main protagonist look weak, directionless and pathetically gullible. Part 1 and Part 2 are simply there to pass the time.

Then there’s the false notion that Douglas Kennedy has about his ability to convincingly pull off a lead female protagonist. How many women do you know who repeatedly use phrases like “dropping money” on buying a sports car or renting a flat, or “chasing down” pills with Vodka? Seriously? He really imagines women talk like this?

And finally we get to the narrator. Kate Harper’s manly voice is so gruff, it sounds like she’s smoked way too many boxes of Marlboro’s in her time. On top of this, she is not adept at changing her voice for different characters, so it becomes a task to distinguish between which character is speaking and whether it’s a male or a female.

There are way too many good books in the world to waste your time reading this one.

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- Brenda

wonderful wriying

What did you love best about Leaving the World?

The best use of langiage and tension I've read in a long time, It staggers me that a man could so understand the female mind.

What could Douglas Kennedy have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Maybe less change of location.

What about Kate Harper’s performance did you like?

Enthralling and beautifully clear.

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


Any additional comments?


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- jim

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-16-2010
  • Publisher: Random House Audio