Get a free audiobook

The Wall

A Novel
Written by: John Lanchester
Narrated by: Will Poulter
Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
4 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of The Debt to Pleasure and Capital returns with a chilling fable for our time.

Ravaged by the Change, an island nation in a time very like our own has built the Wall - an enormous concrete barrier around its entire coastline. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped amid the rising seas outside and are a constant threat. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps worse: being put to sea and made an Other himself. Beset by cold, loneliness, and fear, Kavanagh tries to fulfill his duties to his demanding captain and sergeant, even as he grows closer to his fellow Defenders. A dark part of him wonders whether it would be interesting if something did happen, if they came, if he had to fight for his life....

John Lanchester - acclaimed as "an elegant and wonderfully witty writer" (New York Times) and "a writer of rare intelligence" (Los Angeles Times) - has crafted a taut, hypnotic novel of a broken world and what might be found when all is lost. The Wall blends the most compelling issues of our time - rising waters, rising fear, rising political division - into a suspenseful story of love, trust, and survival.

©2019 Orlando Books Limited (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No reviews are available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Astyanax Kanakakis
  • 2019-08-14

A dystopian book?

Dystopian fiction is most of the times so far away from current reality. The book describes a nightmarish world that is so nightmarishly close. Excellent book with challenging notions throughout.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • JFCincy
  • 2019-03-08

Are there chapters missing?

There is something wrong with the structure of this book. The fight scenes on the wall are repetitive. I actually went back to check and make sure the same scenes weren't repeated in other chapters. But it was the transition between Chapter 19 and Chapter 20 that made me question the logic of the book. At the end of Chapter 19, the group sees a flotilla of boats. Up until this point, strangers were the enemy. Anyone could turn on you. Punishment was arbitrary and illogical, so I was ready for a fight scene with the people on these ships. Instead, Chapter 20 starts off on day three with everyone getting along. What happened before that? Are there chapters missing?

In Chapter 22, everyone sees another boat approaching and their reaction is exactly what I expected between Chapter 19 and Chapter 20. Terror, fear, and dread. Even the children are afraid. I didn't read anymore.

After 20 chapters, I have no emotional connection to a single one of the characters. And the actions of the characters seem random, especially in the oppressive, loveless, unforgiving, environment that surrounds them. Between the boring, the repetitive, and the fickle behavior of the characters, I gave up.


To The Publisher.
This book is difficult to find because there are so many books, and a newspaper, that begin with, "The Wall. . . . " Without the author's name, I couldn't find it. I had to search recent book reviews to find the author's name. I then came back to Audible to find the book.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JDS
  • 2019-04-16

A Slice of Future Time

A tightly woven, incredibly poignant, vision of what future generations may plausibly experience. At base, humans default to in-/out-group behavior, shown so vividly here. Listen to it in
conjunction with The Inhospirable Earth for an additional kick to start truly caring for this precious orb.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jonas Blomberg Ghini
  • 2019-11-19

It's OK

Some spoilers ahead, I'm afraid.

The start is quite a slog. I understand the literary tool of setting a mood by drawing the minutia and monotony in excruciating detail, and I cannot deny it works. I just don't like it as a tool. Perhaps it is used here to contrast life's three regions: within, on, and outside the wall. As I can identify that as a possibility, the tool must work, a bit, at least, but the tone never changes. The story is only ever related in the same flat and pointless manner. Our protagonist only cares about getting off the Wall, but the thought of it seems not to give him any actual hope. So everything is grey, everything is a waste of time and effort.

I feel Lanchester misses a great opportunity to investigate society and human nature when he simply skips what could have been an incredibly interesting tension between those who choose to have and those who choose not to have children. In the story, the ones who have no children just find those who do a bit odd, and nothing more is said on the matter. I simply don't buy it. A Great Britain surrounded by a large wall would run into population trouble fast, as is hinted at in the story. And under pressure, humanity tends not to work all that well. There is no way society would not become this awkward, potentially violent mess where childless people consider themselves morally superior to those who make babies, while the "breeders" think they are the more responsible for the future. By and large, we love to hate what we love, and the distinction between having and not having children in a world suffering significant ecological collapse is not likely to be exempt from this.

Chewy, the protagonist, is boring as a single, regular, dusty, red brick. Maybe there's a small crack in the brick, but it's not large enough to explore. I mean, he has nothing more to say about the world after everything went to shit than that he hates the previous generation (like so many generations before him), and that he looks forward till military service is over? He has a lucid moment where he reflects on treason towards the end, but that's about it for any individuality and thought.

I'm not going to say it was a waste of time to listen to The Wall, but I also do not feel like I leave it having become better in some way, or that I have been shown interesting art or philosophy. Not everything needs to be that, though, and the narration is great at capturing the mood, serving the story up in as good a dressing as can be. For my part, I am glad to put it down, and look forward to more interesting fare ahead.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cynthia R Phillips
  • 2019-08-07

Slow start sneaks up on you and whispers truth

Politics aside, the ideas expressed here are done so quietly and profoundly. it took me a while to grasp that the Defenders on The Wall are probably muss 17 and up with the oldest, the Captain, probably no more than 24.

The idea that the sins of the parents are the burden of the children is handled realistically. The interaction between the young soldiers is also realistic as is the reaction of the public to the Defenders and vice versa.

Recommended to fans of Margaret Atwood, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Doris Lessong and Mary Doria Russell.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • D. Sigua
  • 2019-07-21

Great premise but falls flat.

The idea behind “The Wall” is great in that it’s a dystopian near future story that deals with the modern issues of climate change and immigration, but there are far too many questions left unanswered that could have been easily solved with another 50 pages to the book.

Furthermore, it seems like some of the technical details of what the characters are going through was poorly researched and the character development was also severely lacking. None of them were particularly likeable or hateable

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carianti
  • 2019-05-02

Surprise!

I did not expect I would like this book but the reviews were positive enough that I thought I'd give it a go. I was much surprised and pleased to find it quite a bit more interesting than I thought it would be. The main character was well developed and his experiences multi-faceted...exciting, tender, introspective and reasonable, under the circumstances.
There were a couple of times when things happened that were totally unexpected, which was another excellent positive to the story.

Alas, it had to end and I was left adrift afterwards. (No pun intended since being adrift in the sea is a big part of the story.) Frankly I wanted more story! It felt like we were left without a proper ending....possibly a sequel afoot? Hope so.

Highly recommend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Shawn
  • 2019-08-27

A Climate Crisis Viewpoint

This is an odd, but fascinating novel. The author never quite says it's about the climate crisis. The wall is supposed to keep our "the others" but they are never called climate refugees. Late in the novel, the reader learns that the wall originally was built to keep out rising seas. As a result, it's a rather powerful climate novel. It's major drawback is it's lack of emotion and lack of strong central characters. But it's an enjoyable book, and the reader is very good. The world needs more climate crisis novels. This is a pretty good one. It's not a great one but it's a pretty good one

0 of 1 people found this review helpful