AUTHOR’S BIO
Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature.

After university and before his success with his Rebus novels, Ian had a number of jobs including working as a grape-picker, a swineherd, a journalist for a hi-fi magazine, and a taxman. Following his marriage in 1986, he lived briefly in London where he worked at the National Folktale Centre, followed by a short time living in France, before returning to Edinburgh.

Ian’s first novel Summer Rites remains in his bottom drawer, but his second novel, The Flood, was published in 1986, while his first Rebus novel, Knots & Crosses, was published in 1987. The Rebus series is now translated into twenty-two languages and the books are bestsellers on several continents. In addition to his Rebus and Malcolm Fox novels, he has also written standalone novels including Doors Open, which was televised in 2012, short stories, a graphic novel – Dark Entries, and a play (with Mark Thomson, the Royal Lyceum Theatre’s Artistic Director) Dark Road, which premiered at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, in September 2013. There are also a number of novels under the pseudonym ‘Jack Harvey’ and in 2005 he collaborated with singer Jackie Leven on a CD. His non-fiction book Rebus’s Scotland was published in 2005.

Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America’s celebrated Edgar Award for Resurrection Men. He has also been shortlisted for the Edgar and Anthony Awards in the USA, and won Denmark’s Palle Rosenkrantz prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and Germany’s Deutscher Krimipreis.

Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Hull, Abertay, St Andrews and Edinburgh as well as The Open University.

A regular contributor to BBC2’s Newsnight Review, he also presented his own TV series, Ian Rankin’s Evil Thoughts on Channel 4 in 2002 and Rankin on the Staircase for BBC Four in 2005. In 2007, Rankin appeared in Ian Rankin’s Hidden Edinburgh and Ian Rankin Investigates Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde also for BBC Four. Ian has been the subject of ITV’s South Bank Show and BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs where his choice of music included Joy Division, The Rolling Stones and Van Morrison.

Ian has received an OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his wife and two sons.

KIRKUS REVIEW

Veteran cop John Rebus emerges from retirement to look into a pair of parallel cases of revenge.

When David Menzies Minton, former Lord Advocate of Scotland, is bludgeoned to death in his Edinburgh home, DI Siobhan Clarke shares one crime-scene detail she shouldn’t with her friend DI Malcolm Fox: a note saying, “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU FOR WHAT YOU DID.” After someone shoots at crime lord Big Ger Cafferty, she also rousts John Rebus, a month into his retirement, from his usual station at the Oxford Bar. As a detective, Rebus had developed an odd working relationship with Cafferty. So now he agrees to be a consultant, especially after Cafferty gets the same death-threat note as Minton. There’s no obvious link between Minton’s murder and the attempted hit on Cafferty, however, and even less connection with a past break-in and the murder of a lottery winner. Meanwhile, Fox reluctantly becomes his boss’ spy for a surveillance team that hopes to take down a Glaswegian gangster and his heir apparent, who’ve come to Edinburgh on the trail of a man who betrayed them. It’s not easy for a man widely regarded as an internal snitch to win the team’s confidence. Fox even has to take a beating from the man he suspects is the team’s undercover member. But he takes a cue from Rebus, who was notorious for going his own way when he was a cop and is even more inclined to do so as a civilian. It pays off when Rebus uses his connections and know-how to help Clarke and Fox find the key they’ve been looking for, a terrible secret that spills into the turf war among criminal factions and exposes the past lives of those supposedly on the right side of the law.

Rankin (The Beat Goes On, 2015, etc.) takes his time setting up all these plots. But it’s well worth the wait to see how the latest entry in this celebrated series fits all the pieces together.

THE AUDIOBOOK

The audio book is read by James Macpherson with an authentic Scottish accent and is 11 hrs and 10 mins long.

Watch a YouTube video of Ian Rankin discussing Even Dogs in the WildYouTube.






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About the Author

Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami, born January 12, 1949, is a Japanese writer and translator. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered him critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize and Jerusalem Prize among others.
Murakami’s fiction, often criticized by Japan’s literary establishment, is humorous and surreal, and at the same time focuses on themes of alienation and loneliness.  Through his work, he is able to capture the spiritual emptiness of his generation and explore the negative effects of Japan’s work-dominated mentality.  His writing criticizes the decline in human values and a loss of connection among people in Japan’s society.

He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature. The Guardian praised him as “among the world’s greatest living novelists” for his works and achievements.

Audio Book Bibliography

1Q84 UNABRIDGED Narrated by Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett 46.8 hrs
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle UNABRIDGED Narrated by Rupert Degas 26.1 hrs
Norwegian Wood UNABRIDGED Narrated by James Yaegashi 13.5 hrs
Kafka on the Shore UNABRIDGED Narrated by Sean Barrett, Oliver Le Sueur 19.13 hrs
Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World UNABRIDGED Narrated by Adam Sims, Ian Porter 14 hrs
What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir UNABRIDGED Narrated by Ray Porter 4.5 hrs
Dance, Dance, Dance UNABRIDGED Narrated by Rupert Degas 12.7 hrs
A Wild Sheep Chase UNABRIDGED Narrated by Rupert Degas 9.6 hrs
After Dark UNABRIDGED Narrated by Janet Song 5.7 hrs
The Elephant Vanishes: Stories UNABRIDGED Narrated by John Chancer 10.5 hrs
After the Quake UNABRIDGED Narrated by Rupert Degas, Teresa Gallagher, Adam Sims 4.3 hrs
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman UNABRIDGED Narrated by Patrick Lawlor, Ellen Archer 12.7 hrs

Background

The English-language publication of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 has been called by some the most anticipated literary event of 2011.  The book is a massive 962 page compilation of the Japanese three volume trilogy which achieved tremendous popularity in Japan.  The book was translated by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel.  The audio book is a very long 46 hours and 50 minutes, making it among the longest audio books published.  The audio book was published by Audible Inc. and was narrated by Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor and Mark Boyett.

Murakami writes in a magical realism genre that is his signature style.  1Q84 differs from many of his books by shifting from his usual first-person narration.  Most reviews of this book are positive, however a few complain of the length and slowness of the plot, even calling it tedious.  It is hard to write a very long book without creating intricate detail which some would see as an enhancing rich texture.  The real issue of course with audio books, does the narration hold your interest.  Nothing is worse than listening to tedious detail that is boring.  This audio book is not boring and you will not be relieved when you finish listening to it.  It is characteristic of magical realism that unusual, unexpected, and unbelievable events occur in what otherwise seems a rational real-world story.  You will find much of this in 1Q84, as usual with Murakami.  Listening to 1Q84 is like eating a luxurious 10 course meal, set back and enjoy it.  For those that like fast-food books look elsewhere.

The story has two protagonists, Aomame and Tengo who are the main focus of what is essentially a love story, which emerges rather slowly and does not become fully realized until the end of the book.  Aomame is a physical therapist/assassin and Tengo a math tutor/budding writer.  Add to this a beautiful mysterious 17 year old autistic other-worldly girl, a dangerous religious sect and an altered reality with two moons and the “little people” and you have the main elements of this complex storyline.  Aomame is narrated by Allison Hiroto and Tengo by Marc Vietor.  This braided narration of Aomame’s and Tengo’s stories works well.  Other background narration is by Mark Boyett.

The Audible Publisher’s Summary:

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 – “Q” is for “question mark”.   A world that bears a question.

Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s, 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.










Patrick Rothfuss' Novels

It’s all there: sorcery and swordplay, bandits and monsters, a hero searching for his parents’ killers, an academy of wizards and alchemists, even a hand drawn map of a pretend world in its first pages. Patrick Rothfuss’ acclaimed debut series The Kingkiller Chronicle reads like a big, fat delicious cheeseburger. It’s satisfying. There might be a few surprises; perhaps a few jalapenos and some feta cheese, but the basics are essentially the same. That’s how you make a delicious burger, and that’s how you write a wonderful fantasy tale. Perfect the flavor and tenderness of the patty. Construct realistic, intriguing characters. Melt the cheese and toast the bun just so. Create a universe with more detail than the page can hold, and let the characters run wild. If the yet to be released third volume matches the excellence of its two older siblings, Rothfuss may find himself immortalized as a fantasy great. In these books, readers will find echoes and reflections of canonized fantasy. Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Robin Hobb have even written lush reviews for Rothfuss’ website. The Kingkiller Chronicle may inhabit the expected realm of fantasy conventions, but Rothfuss takes his readers to exciting new depths. His books read so enjoyably precisely because he does not stray from the rules of the genre. “You’ve written a fantasy novel. Deal with it. Learn to cope,” he explains.

Physically, Rothfuss more resembles a character from his books. Healthy, unkempt curls flow from atop his swollen head, suggesting the likeness of a hobbit. His long, wiry beard appears to be borrowed from a satyr or gnome, and he most often wears a devilish grin to match. A self-proclaimed geek and homebody, he admits to finding the fast pace of his new life as a successful writer sometimes overwhelming. A native of Wisconsin, a region famed for its long, boring winters, he learned early on to find solace in fantasy books. In 1991 he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, first studying chemical engineering, then clinical psychology, later changing his major to undeclared. In this time, working three jobs and scrounging for food and money in Stevens Point, he began filling his spare time by writing a sprawling fantasy novel, The Song of Flame and Thunder. In the ten years it took Rothfuss to graduate, (finally with a B.A. in English), he perfected The Song of Flame and Thunder. After nearly 50 failed query letters, he found a publisher, and so The Kingkiller Chronicle found its way out of Rothfuss’ hard drive and onto bookshelves.

At public events, fans almost invariably ask Rothfuss to explain the details of his world: “What other kinds of monsters, aside from the scrael, live in the Commonwealth?” “Does the kingdom of Aturan have any kind of common law or judicial system?” This is because there are other monsters Rothfuss has neglected to include, and there is an entire system of governance that goes far beyond what is printed on the page. When The Song of Flame and Thunder became The Kingkiller Chronicle, Rothfuss cut out nearly 100,000 words, and before that he had already conceived every aspect of his world, fully knowing the majority of his ideas would never make it on paper. The result is not just a book, but an entire universe for readers to savor, the heart and key to successful fantasy-fiction. The ability to arrange exciting work from a familiar palette is the mark of a master. You heard it here first.

Listen to a question and answer interview with Patrick Rothfuss on YouTube.