Lost for Words

  • by Edward St. Aubyn
  • Narrated by Alex Jennings
  • 5 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels were some of the most celebrated works of fiction of the past decade. Ecstatic praise came from a wide range of admirers, from literary superstars such as Zadie Smith, Francine Prose, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Michael Chabon to pop-culture icons such as Anthony Bourdain and January Jones. Now St. Aubyn returns with a hilariously smart send-up of a certain major British literary award.
The judges on the panel of the Elysian Prize for Literature must get through hundreds of submissions to find the best book of the year. Meanwhile, a host of writers are desperate for Elysian attention: the brilliant writer and serial heartbreaker Katherine Burns; the lovelorn debut novelist Sam Black; and Bunjee, convinced that his magnum opus, The Mulberry Elephant, will take the literary world by storm. Things go terribly wrong when Katherine’s publisher accidentally submits a cookery book in place of her novel; one of the judges finds himself in the middle of a scandal; and Bunjee, aghast to learn his book isn’t on the short list, seeks revenge.
Lost for Words is a witty, fabulously entertaining satire that cuts to the quick of some of the deepest questions about the place of art in our celebrity-obsessed culture, and asks how we can ever hope to recognize real talent when everyone has an agenda.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Taking Down the Booker Prize

This was my first experience reading Edward St. Aubyn, and I quite enjoyed the ride. Lost for Words is a send-up of the British literary scene--in particular, the Man Booker Prize and all the hubbub surrounding it. St. Aubyn clearly took his inspiration from the controversy of a few years back, when a semi-qualified panel decided to invoke popularity over literary quality. Several of the judges for the Elysian Prize for Literature have spurious qualifications; others unabashedly admit to not planning to read all the submitted books, and each is promoting a particular book because of preference (e.g., one likes nothing better than Scottish historical novels). The hopeful authors have their quirks as well. (My favorite was an Indian writer whose publisher mistakenly submits his aunt's cookbook instead of his own novel, The Mulberry Elephant.) St. Aubyn provides subtle humor in the behind-the-scenes rivalries and passions as well as the public debates. I saw the ending coming, but it was still fun getting there.
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- Cariola

St. Aubyn and Jennings -- made in heaven

Would you consider the audio edition of Lost for Words to be better than the print version?

I wouldn't know

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sonny was funny

Which character – as performed by Alex Jennings – was your favorite?

I would listen to Alex Jennings read the phone book -- wait, they don't have phone books anymore...

Who was the most memorable character of Lost for Words and why?

Very much an ensemble piece, With ESA and AJ giving each character his/her own unique voice.

Any additional comments?

I was hoping the Melrose novels weren't that one (large) autobiographical novel everyone's got inside them, i.e. a fluke of sorts. No way. Edward St. Aubyn is the real thing and I eagerly await his next offering (read by Jennings, pleeeeeze!?)

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- J. Houghton

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-21-2014
  • Publisher: Macmilan Audio