The Vacationers

  • by Emma Straub
  • Narrated by Kristen Sieh
  • 6 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family's two-week stay in Mallorca.
For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.
This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Engaging beginning, but interest declines

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I am not an editor, but I wish the initial narrative lived up to the rest of the book. I did not finish this book. I read too much to ask for a return credit. I kept hoping it would pick up and develop, but it only got more boring as it went along.


Would you be willing to try another book from Emma Straub? Why or why not?

I probably would, as I liked the descriptive prose of Majorca and travel in general. I just wish the main character had sustained the initial interest.


What aspect of Kristen Sieh’s performance would you have changed?

The reader was okay enough, given the lameness of the last half of the book. I wish it could have concentrated more on the main character's career and food, etc.


Could you see The Vacationers being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Not relevant. I do not watch movies.


Any additional comments?

I had very high hopes for this novel. I love novels that take place in other countries. I just fel that about halfway through, the author gave up or something and did not follow through with the character developments. Such good characters, too! It just was not adequately completed. I would have liked more about the gay couple, for example. It was hard to see why the older gay man even liked the married woman so much s she was pretty boring and unlikeable.

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- Toby "Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too."

Fast & fun

What did you love best about The Vacationers?

A highly entertaining read — clever & witty enough to occupy me for a day. Some readers apparently thought these characters were too predictable, but that predictability served the satire as far as I was concerned. And along the way, as in the best satires, I got to internally ponder questions that interest me like: what's it REALLY like being rich and owning a townhouse in Manhattan; do I need to spend some time in Majorca; can marriages survive infidelity; how do children deal with their parents and vice versa; what should you do with a 30 something son who's a lunkhead; should 55 year olds have babies; do people need to lose their virginity in Europe before starting college, why didn't I do that?, how do you cook a meal with very little in the cupboard; how do type A people who are fired for not being able to resist that provocative intern suddenly handle all that free time? You know - the serious stuff.


What did you like best about this story?

the shifting POV


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- Susan D

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-29-2014
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio