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Oliver Loving

(2018)
A novel by

 
 
"An expert performance by Michael Crouch highlights life-changing moments in a family.... He transforms what has become a tragically familiar story into an intricate, nuanced puzzle about real people and real consequences." (AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner)

From Stefan Merrill Block, celebrated literary talent and author of The Story of Forgetting, comes a brilliant, propulsive audiobook about family, the traumas and secrets that test our deepest bonds, and the stories that hold us together.

One warm, West Texas November night, a shy boy named Oliver Loving joins his classmates at Bliss County Day School's annual dance, hoping for a glimpse of the object of his unrequited affections, an enigmatic junior named Rebekkah Sterling. But as the music plays, a troubled young man sneaks in through the school's back door. The dire choices this man makes that evening - and the unspoken story he carries - will tear the town of Bliss, Texas, apart.

Nearly 10 years later, Oliver Loving still lies wordless and paralyzed at Crockett State Assisted Care Facility, the fate of his mind unclear. Orbiting the still point of Oliver's hospital bed is a family transformed: Oliver's mother, Eve, who keeps desperate vigil; Oliver's brother, Charlie, who has fled for New York City only to discover he cannot escape the gravity of his shattered family; Oliver's father, Jed, who tries to erase his memories with bourbon. And then there is Rebekkah Sterling, Oliver's teenage love, who left Texas long ago and still refuses to speak about her own part in that tragic night. When a new medical test promises a key to unlock Oliver's trapped mind, the town's unanswered questions resurface with new urgency, as Oliver's doctors and his family fight for a way for Oliver to finally communicate - and so also to tell the truth of what really happened that fateful night.

A moving meditation on the transformative power of grief and love, a slyly affectionate look at the idiosyncrasies of family, and an emotionally charged pause resister, Oliver Loving is an extraordinarily original audiobook that ventures into the unknowable and returns with the most fundamental truths.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Stefan Block's profound third novel, Oliver Loving, is intricately constructed and rich with devastating, gorgeous prose. But it is the author's rare and special sense of empathy -- felt so deeply in every moment -- which elevates this novel to a breathtaking place." - Jami Attenberg

"One reason we read fiction is to know the lives of others as well as our own. In OLIVER LOVING Stefan Merrill Block writes about a West Texas family and community so wholly and honestly, and with such poetic beauty, that their dreams and sorrows become ours. This is a dazzling, psychologically astute, scientifically engaged novel about love, loss, and the mysteries of the mind. Through one family's tragedy Block dares to ask some of the most profound questions of what it means to be alive." - David Ebershoff

"Like Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and Annie Proulx's The Shipping News, Oliver Loving is an extraordinary novel about family and community, told with real heart and humour and style. Stefan Merrill Block has the rare ability to capture, in his literature, the secrets we store in silence -- the pages of a life that are rarely read aloud." - Jonathan Lee

"Stefan Merrill Block has a masterful understanding of family dynamics. He writes with authority about the power of secrets, shared history and how tragedy shapes lives. The result is a haunting, bittersweet, addictive novel that will keep you wondering until the very end." - J Courtney Sullivan

"In lucid prose and with a tremendously sure narrative hand, Block weaves together a coming of age story and a lament of lost youth. This is the story of the devastation inflicted on those left behind by catastrophic illness, and the strength they find to live in the wake of it. The novel becomes a thriller of sorts, with secrets upon secrets, conflicting agendas, and the truth quivering in every conversation. Anessential window into the consciousness of someone on the other side of an impenetrable veil, Oliver Loving brilliantly illuminates the enduring bonds of family and offers one of literature's best explorations of the limits of communication we all grapple with." - Matthew Thomas

"A haunting, imaginative, and deeply poignant story by one of America's great wordsmiths. I love this wise, probing and beautiful novel." - Steve Toltz

"With exquisite prose and nuanced insights into the functions and dysfunctions of family, Oliver Loving ranges far and wide, from small-town Texas to New York City, communication with semi-living ghosts to the American appetite for violence, the uncharted territory of the human brain to the equally elusive mysteries of the human heart. Stefan Merrill Block has written a captivating, powerful novel." - Teddy Wayne


Similar books by other authors


Used availability for Stefan Merrill Block's Oliver Loving

Hardback Editions

February 2018 : UK Hardback
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Title: Oliver Loving
Author(s): Stefan Merrill Block
ISBN: 1-78649-208-3 / 978-1-78649-208-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


January 2018 : USA Hardback
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Title: Oliver Loving: A Novel
Author(s): Stefan Merrill Block
ISBN: 1-250-16973-9 / 978-1-250-16973-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

January 2019 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Oliver Loving
Author(s): Stefan Merrill Block
ISBN: 1-78649-210-5 / 978-1-78649-210-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


January 2019 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Oliver Loving: A Novel
Author(s): Stefan Merrill Block
ISBN: 1-250-12287-2 / 978-1-250-12287-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


January 2018 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Oliver Loving
Author(s): Stefan Merrill Block
ISBN: 1-78649-439-6 / 978-1-78649-439-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

January 2018 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Oliver Loving: A Novel
Author(s): Stefan Merrill Block
ISBN: 1-4272-9444-5 / 978-1-4272-9444-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


January 2018 : USA Audio edition
thumb

Title: Oliver Loving: A Novel
Author(s): Stefan Merrill Block
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Availability: Amazon   


January 2018 : Canada Audio edition
thumb

Title: Oliver Loving: A Novel
Author(s): Stefan Merrill Block
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


January 2018 : UK Audio edition
thumb

Title: Oliver Loving: A Novel
Author(s): Stefan Merrill Block
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   


Kindle Editions

January 2018 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
thumb

Title: Oliver Loving
Author(s): Stefan Merrill Block
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


January 2018 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
thumb

Title: Oliver Loving: A Novel
Author(s): Stefan Merrill Block
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA