Songs Without Words

  • by Ann Packer
  • Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
  • 14 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Ann Packer's debut novel, The Dive from Clausen's Pier, was a nationwide best-seller that established her as one of our most gifted chroniclers of the interior lives of women. Now, in her long-awaited second novel, she takes us on a journey into a lifelong friendship pushed to the breaking point. Expertly, with the keen introspection and psychological nuance that are her hallmarks, she explores what happens when there are inequities between friends and when the hard-won balances of a long relationship are disturbed, perhaps irreparably, by a harrowing crisis. Liz and Sarabeth were childhood neighbors in the suburbs of Northern California, brought as close as sisters by the suicide of Sarabeth's mother when the girls were just 16. In the decades that followed - through Liz's marriage and the birth of her children, through Sarabeth's attempts to make a happy life for herself despite the shadow cast by her mother's act, their relationship remained a source of continuity and strength.
But when Liz's adolescent daughter enters dangerous waters that threaten to engulf the family, the fault lines in the women's friendship are revealed, and both Liz and Sarabeth are forced to reexamine their most deeply held beliefs about their connection. Songs Without Words is about the sometimes confining roles we take on in our closest relationships, about the familial myths that shape us, both as children and as parents, and about the limits, and the power, of the friendships we create when we are young.


What the Critics Say

"A richly nuanced meditation on the place of friendship in women's lives." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Depression dissected

This book moved me deeply. I became interested in the book after hearing the author interviewed on National Public Radio. However, after reading the listener reviews on, I wondered if I would actually enjoy it. I am so glad I got the book despite the other listener reviews. The book examines depression through a prism of different characters who arrive in that state through differing routes. It is a sensitive, deeply moving description of the impact on four different individuals, as well as on each one's family and friends of the illness and the course it may take. The story does revolve around a friendship between two mature women women and what it means when one cannot meet an urgent need of the other. But it also dissects the paralysis that depression can induce, using the lenses of the different life circumstances that precede the illness. There are no easy, flip answers here! This psychological novel is obviously not for everyone. For me, however, it resonated with experiences in my own life, and I think many others will find it meaningful. I liked the narrator, and felt the tone was appropriate for the subject matter.
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- Dianne


Not just dull -- I also wanted to like these characters and their fabulous homes and lives. But, I just wanted to smack all of them by the time I was done with the book -- in the end, they were all boringly narcissistic.
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- Kathleen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-31-2007
  • Publisher: Random House Audio