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  • Hourglass

  • Time, Memory, Marriage
  • Written by: Dani Shapiro
  • Narrated by: Dani Shapiro
  • Length: 3 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling novelist and memoirist delivers her most intimate and powerful work: a piercing, life-affirming memoir about marriage and memory, about the frailty and elasticity of our most essential bonds, and about the accretion, over time, of both sorrow and love. 

Hourglass is an inquiry into how marriage is transformed by time - abraded, strengthened, shaped in miraculous and sometimes terrifying ways by accident and experience. With courage and relentless honesty, Dani Shapiro opens the door to her house, her marriage, and her heart and invites us to witness her own marital reckoning - a reckoning in which she confronts both the life she dreamed of and the life she made and struggles to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become. 

What are the forces that shape our most elemental bonds? How do we make lifelong commitments in the face of identities that are continuously shifting and commit ourselves for all time when the self is so often in flux? What happens to love in the face of the unexpected, in the face of disappointment and compromise - how do we wrest beauty from imperfection, find grace in the ordinary, desire what we have rather than what we lack? Drawing on literature, poetry, philosophy, and theology, Shapiro writes gloriously of the joys and challenges of matrimonial life, in a luminous narrative that unfurls with urgent immediacy and sharp intelligence. Artful, intensely emotional work from one of our finest writers. 

©2017 Dani Shapiro (P)2017 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"In this touching and intimate memoir...Shapiro beautifully weaves together her own moving language and a commonplace book's worth of perfect quotes from others." ( Publishers Weekly)
"To write openly about an enduring intimate relationship requires courage and tact...In this compelling account of her 18-year marriage, Shapiro carefully exposes the vulnerabilities that have subtly begun to surface within the relationship.... The narrative demonstrates Shapiro's finely tuned, poetic skills as a writer.... A sharply observed and frequently moving memoir of marriage." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Writer Dani Shapiro performs her memoir with a meditative understated tone... As a narrator and a writer, Shapiro approaches sorrows, joys, and everyday life as equals--examining them for threads of meaning and connection rather than playing for easy emotional payoffs. Honest and engaging, this literary memoir will resonate with many listeners." ( AudioFile)

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What listeners say about Hourglass

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Carolyn M. Kell
  • 2017-05-08

Great Synthesis of Memoir meets Philisophy

This book is definitely worth listening to several times or more to catch some of the nuggets of deep thought and self-reflection and analysis of the stages of life as it unfolds. Free will or not, we all are on a certain path for better or worse.

The insights and poignant .descriptions are not to be missed. The only thing that might rub a reader in the wrong way are the rivulets of the upper-middle-class lifestyle among such deep, often bittersweet, if not melancholic, life dramas. While these themes are timeless and class-less, it is sometimes hard to swallow pain and sorrow playing out amidst little descriptive pieces (e.g., a "Patagonia sweater") and then there are the history of what to most Americans would be lavish vacations.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Susan Ring
  • 2017-07-31

A little disappointed...

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No, unfortunately. There were a few parts that were okay, but where was the story? I wanted more truth, more reality. I know what it's like to be married, and I think she would have revealed more about her marriage. The reality of the sex, the realness of feeling like shit and having sex anyway, the real feelings. Did she want more kids? Did she not? What else might she have wanted to be in life? I want to hear more about Dani, the woman. I think she would have been more real if she knew her husband wouldn't have read it. IMHO, I think she should have written it in anyway.

Would you ever listen to anything by Dani Shapiro again?

Yes, I like her work. This one didn't do it for me though. When it ended, I thought. What? Is it over?

Would you listen to another book narrated by Dani Shapiro?

Yes

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No

8 people found this helpful

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  • BL Lucas
  • 2017-06-22

A Little Gem

Any additional comments?

Such beautiful language and honest sentiment -- I will listen to this again. This was my first book by Dani Shapiro and I am glad there is so much more of her work to explore. She has a gift for sharing the highs and lows of being a wife, mother and daughter. Highly recommend.

7 people found this helpful

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  • CameronDHammon
  • 2017-08-07

Stunning

I found Hourglass, or it found me, at exactly the right moment. Shapiro is a master of the braided memoir. She has a poets heart, is a brave, and necessary artist. I loved this book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • michael ginghina
  • 2017-07-07

Ugh

Pretentious, affected, pseudo -intellectual memoir of a booooring relationship read in a monotone voice. Couldn't wait for them to break up.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Danielle
  • 2017-05-11

Visceral & Lovely

Any additional comments?

This book was a great listen. I appreciate the way that the author goes back and forth between the moments in her life.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Pamela Donnelly
  • 2017-04-21

Transience and Permanence

Loved this book and Shapiro's peculiar juxtaposition of the lyrical with the ordinary, wrapping and winding like love itself through this vulnerable narrative.

An author who continues to risk. A book recommended especially for those of us who reject time as a construct.

Brava!

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  • Jennifer
  • 2017-11-07

Painfully slow and Monotonous

Narrator and author lacks expression. It’s like Siri reading a novel. I was expecting more. A memoir should be worth writing and reading. You would think she’d be a little more passionate about reading her own work.

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  • Susan
  • 2017-10-14

Not too compelling

It was okay, but the sense I got was that the author was writing a memoir for a the sake of publishing another book. I did find one quote from it that I will probably keep around.

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  • M. Brown
  • 2017-09-19

Dani Shapiro is good, but this is not her best.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I didn't enjoy Dani Shaprio's voice. Too monotonal.

Would you recommend Hourglass to your friends? Why or why not?

No, I found it to be lacking as far as a narrative arc and the story seemed to suddenly end. burying her parents. She doesn't try to say she is the only one, but her story seems to indicate she focuses too much on these necessary losses and other events that are made larger due to her worrying nature. I wanted more info on how they navigated her husband's career issues as well as whether her son has left his illness behind. More on her students and her workshops in terms of how this work figures into her life and what it means to her would have been good. The impression is that it just pays the bills. Other story threads were left hanging, i.e., the issues with her husband's father. All in all I found her a bit tiresome and I feel bad saying that because I have really liked some of her other work. She has great insights, but they are not tried together well. At times I felt it was due to her voice! So deadpan.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Dani Shapiro?

I don't know.

Could you see Hourglass being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No.

2 people found this helpful