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August 4, 2015 / Leslie

Audiobook Review: Aquarium by David Vann

A Rapid Review

AquariumPublisher: Blackstone Audio | April 2015
Format: Audio Download | 6 hours | Rating: 5 stars
Audio Listening Level: Easy

Twelve-year-old Caitlin lives alone with her mother—a docker at the local container port—in subsidized housing next to an airport in Seattle. Each day, while she waits to be picked up after school, Caitlin visits the local aquarium to study the fish. When she befriends an old man at the tanks one day, who seems as enamored of the fish as she, Caitlin cracks open a dark family secret and propels her once-blissful relationship with her mother toward a precipice of terrifying consequence.

This is a mesmerizing story that was quite different than what I was expecting and did not go at all in the direction I thought it would. Once I began listening it was difficult to stop. It’s hard to explain why without giving away spoilers, so I am being intentionally vague.

Part of the intensity of the story is experiencing the events unfold from twelve-year-old Caitlin’s simple, innocent, point of view, and then contrasting that with what her mother knows and what other people believe is happening. I know, vague. But I went into the story knowing nothing and chose to read it because I like tropical fish and ended up discovering a book headed for my favorites list.

Beautiful, emotional, and at times cringe-worthy, Caitlin’s strength and innocence kept me rapt as I was swept along to the conclusion.

Audio production:
The narration was nicely performed by Julia Whelan. While the audio was excellent, easy to follow, and a good choice for new listeners, this might be a more fulfilling experience in print, or print combined with audio. I have since learned that this is a very visual, physically beautiful, book printed on heavy paper with attractive typesetting and containing gorgeous photos of the fish that so enamored Caitlin. A copy of the book would be an enhancement to the audio experience. [Audio Sample at Audible.]

An Under My Apple Tree Rapid Review
Source: Review copy provided by Blackstone Audio through Audiobook Jukebox.
© 2015 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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Leave a Comment
  1. BermudaOnion / Aug 4 2015 6:57 pm

    I read this in print so I know just what you mean. I loved it too!


  2. Mary / Aug 4 2015 7:35 pm

    I remember Kathy’s glowing review and now yours has me putting it on my Audible wish list!


  3. Diane / Aug 4 2015 7:44 pm

    I LOVED the print version, one of my top 5 books for this year.


    • Leslie / Aug 4 2015 8:11 pm

      I didn’t know the print version was a deluxe book. I think a copy might be worth pursuing. I stopped reading reviews after the first few I read said to avoid spoilers.


  4. bettyl / Aug 4 2015 8:14 pm

    WOW, everyone singing such high praise, will add it right now to my TBR if not listened to, ty for the chance to win and letting us know what a great book this is



  1. 2015 Reading Wrap-Up | Under My Apple Tree

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