• by Will Self
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 13 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"A brother is as easily forgotten as an umbrella." (James Joyce, Ulysses)
Radical and uncompromising, Umbrella is a tour de force from one of England’s most acclaimed contemporary writers, and Self’s most ambitious novel to date. Moving between Edwardian London and a suburban mental hospital in 1971, Umbrella exposes the 20th century’s technological searchlight as refracted through the dark glass of a long-term mental institution. While making his first tours of the hospital at which he has just begun working, maverick psychiatrist Zachary Busner notices that many of the patients exhibit a strange physical tic: rapid, precise movements that they repeat over and over. One of these patients is Audrey Dearth, an elderly woman born in the slums of West London in 1890. Audrey’s memories of a bygone Edwardian London, her lovers, involvement with early feminist and socialist movements, and, in particular, her time working in an umbrella shop, alternate with Busner’s attempts to treat her condition and bring light to her clouded world. Busner’s investigations into Audrey’s illness lead to discoveries about her family that are shocking and tragic.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Invest the time needed to appreciate this book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, but only if she had the (e)book with her to follow along, it's tough to listen-only the first time through.

What other book might you compare Umbrella to and why?

Suppose it'd have to be Ulysses. High modernist and all that.

Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Audrey first speaks, Busner's return to what are now apartments.

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- Matt Lech

Not an easy audiobook

The story is engaging, at times fascinating, but it is written as a continuous, chapterleas stream, with strands picking up in the middle of other strands, which makes following the story challenging if anything is happening that could distract you.
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- Ruth

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-21-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios