A Borrowed Man

  • by Gene Wolfe
  • Narrated by Kevin T. Collins
  • 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A Borrowed Man: a new science fiction novel from Gene Wolfe, the celebrated author of the Book of the New Sun series.
It is perhaps a hundred years in the future, our civilization is gone, and another is in place in North America, but it retains many familiar things and structures. Although the population is now small, there is advanced technology, there are robots, and there are clones.
E. A. Smithe is a borrowed person. He is a clone who lives on a third-tier shelf in a public library, and his personality is an uploaded recording of a deceased mystery writer. Smithe is a piece of property, not a legal human. A wealthy patron, Colette Coldbrook, takes him from the library because he is the surviving personality of the author of Murder on Mars. A physical copy of that book was in the possession of her murdered father, and it contains an important secret, the key to immense family wealth. It is lost, and Colette is afraid of the police. She borrows Smithe to help her find the book and to find out what the secret is. And then the plot gets complicated.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Annoying Narration

I can't really give a fair review of the story because I found the narrator so irritating that I didn't make it past the 4th chapter. He over enunciates everything and inserts awkward pauses after every 3 or 4 words. It was somewhat like listening to someone read something in a language they were just learning. It was so distracting that I couldn't even follow the story. I might try this one again in print, but there's no way I can finish the audible version.
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- Melisa

Great Gene Wolfe Concept, Distracting Narration

The idea of a borrowed man, and with it the speculative premise that drives this story, are certainly worthy of Wolfe's genius. The protagonist and first-person narrator admits from the outset that, in fact as in law, he is not fully human. The story bears this judgment out in various interesting and poignant ways, but despite the limitations built into him, he's a very appealing character. His story has a good arc, too, though it suffers from a number of the sorts of continuity errors that drive me to distraction.

The narrator's intensity level ranges from breathless fascination to near panic, and listening to him for any length of time is exhausting. All of the character voices are equally over the top, either stentorian or histrionic. Chill out, dude.
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- Alex Levine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-20-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios