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Publisher's Summary

Amanda Leduc's brilliant new novel, woven with fairy tales of her own devising and replete with both catastrophe and magic, is a vision of what happens when we ignore the natural world and the darker parts of our own natures.

Heather is sleeping peacefully after the birth of her twin daughters when the sound of the world ending jolts her awake. Stumbling outside with her babies and her new husband, Brendan, she finds that their city has been destroyed by falling meteors and that her little family is among only a few who survived. 

But the mountain that looms over the city is still green - somehow it has been spared the destruction that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Heather is one of the few who know the mountain, a place city-dwellers have always been forbidden to go. Her dad took her up the mountain when she was a child on a misguided quest to heal her legs, damaged at birth. The tragedy that resulted has shaped her life, bringing her both great sorrow and an undying connection to the deep magic of the mountain, made real by the beings she and her dad encountered that day: Estajfan, a centaur born of sorrow and of an ancient, impossible love, and his two siblings, marooned between the magical and the human world. Even as those in the city around her - led by Tasha, a charismatic doctor who fled to the city from the coast with her wife and other refugees - struggle to keep everyone alive, Heather constantly looks to the mountain, drawn by love, by fear, by the desire for rescue. She is torn in two by her awareness of what unleashed the meteor shower and what is coming for the few survivors, once the green and living earth makes a final reckoning of the usefulness of human life and finds it wanting. 

At times devastating, but ultimately redemptive, Amanda Leduc's fable for our uncertain times reminds us that the most important things in life aren't things at all, but rather the people we want by our side at the end of the world.

©2021 Amanda Leduc (P)2021 Random House Canada

What the critics say

“Stunning.... Stories are rarely as powerful or as skillfully crafted as The Centaur’s Wife. The novel is as grand a book as you are likely to read this year, a story of impossibilities delivered with a calm, steady confidence. The reader knows from the opening lines they are in the hands of a master storyteller; Leduc never lets them down.” (Quill & Quire, starred review) 

“[The Centaur’s Wife] looks at the fairy tale tradition, rips it apart and audaciously reassembles it.... [T]hough it enters the realm of the mysterious and inexplicable, it is anchored to a persuasive naturalism in chronicling the drama of a small group of people fighting for survival in the wake of planetary disaster.... [R]eaders will be hooked immediately.” (Calgary Herald)

“Amanda Leduc has created an exquisite magical world, perfectly rendered, for her dark and wonderful story about the dream life of outsiders and the disabled. And through it, she has scattered her own collection of fairy tales that rival Grimm and Anderson in their provocative beauty.” (Heather O’Neill, author of The Lonely Hearts Hotel and Lullabies for Little Criminals

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What listeners say about The Centaur's Wife

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  • Overall
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Too bad.

I feel like I would have LOVED this book had a read the physical version myself. Unfortunately, the narration really drew me out of the story. The narrator has a lovely voice, but her cadence and delivery really don’t match the event that she is describing. Her monotone or sing-song style is more suited to a lullaby, not the end of the world, which is what the story is all about. The impact of the story is really lost in the narrative performance. Too bad.

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Narration is cringe

Couldn’t get past the super cringe, baby talk sing song narration. Lots of mouthy breathy sounds (so if ASMR is your Thing you might enjoy it??). Story just wasn’t enough to get past this. Might be better in print or with a different narrator

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So different, so wonderful. Great Narrator.

You never quite knew where this was going. But I loved it because it was unusual. There is a character for everyone, you will see yourself many times over. I loved the ending. It does all come together.

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story on story on story

loved the layers, all the voices told from all the different perspectives, so many stories all woven together.