Frog Music (audiobook)

A Novel

12.7 hrs • 12 CDs • Unabridged
Fiction/Literary
Target Audience: Adult
Release Date: 04/01/14
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Library CD Library Edition CD titles are packaged in an attractive, full-sized, durable vinyl case with full color art. Cloth Sleeves keep compact discs protected and in numerical order. 
- 04/01/14 9781478982470
$79.99
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Summary

A New York Times Bestseller

A Los Angeles Times Bestseller

An NPR Bestseller

A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller

A 2015 Stonewall Honor Book

A 2014 Library Journal Editor’s Pick

A BookPage Best Book of 2014

An AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year for 2014

One of Barnes & Noble's Biggest Books, April 2014

A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, March 2014

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

An April 2014 LibraryReads Pick

Emma Donoghue’s explosive new novel, based on an unsolved murder.

Summer of 1876. San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead.

The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice—if he doesn’t track her down first.

The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers, and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women, and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.

In thrilling, cinematic style, Frog Music digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue’s lyrical tale of love and bloodshed captures the pulse of a boomtown like no other.

Review Quotes

Unmissable-a novel bound to be one of the most talked about of the year.Daniel Lefferts, BookishDonoghue...devises an ingeniously plotted revision to the official story of why Jenny died-true to her sustained, career-long effort to read history slant and thereby set the record straight.Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal SentinelLike Room...Donoghue here displays an uncanny knack for telling an off-putting story in such a way that you can't stop reading it, that you fall a little bit in love with the characters and the moment in time she's creating.Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times Research and invention together mark FROG MUSIC with the ring of truth and salvage a fascinating story from the ether of history.Ellen Wernecke, A.V. ClubThe Room author's latest novel, about a woman solving her friend's murder in 1876 San Fran, sucks you in.Megan Angelo, GlamourIt's in the tentative moments of love between Blanche and P'tit that FROG MUSIC is at its best-heartfelt, affecting, and real. Donoghue is so gifted at depicting the fraught blessings of motherhood.Charles Finch, Chicago TribuneWith rich, well-researched details, Donoghue evokes a multicultural, rough-and-tumble San Francisco.USATodayDonoghue masterfully transports readers to an era of dung-covered cobbled roads, unspeakably cruel baby farms, deep suspicion of Chinese immigrants and unruly saloons.Rasha Madkour, The Associated PressThough Donoghue poses the book as a mystery - who killed Jenny Bonnet? - it's equally a celebration of love despite hardships galore, and the rising call of motherhood against near impossible odds.Alan Cheuse, NPRDonoghue's book captures the details of San Francisco through meticulous research. The city is a character itself.Tony DuShane, San Francisco ChronicleA vivid narrative equipped with love, lust, and violence, questionable morals, period folk tunes, an eclectic band of characters, and a quest for justice.Morgan Ribera, BustleA historical narrative set in San Francisco in 1876.... [that] provides further proof that Ms. Donoghue is an unusually versatile writer.New York Observer[An] offbeat, high-minded whodunit from the award-winning author of Room.Adam Rathe, DuJourFROG MUSIC...[brings] to steamy life the unresolved so-called San Miguel Mystery.... Donoghue front-loads the ­drama.... She captures San Francisco in all its ­melting-pot, fishy-smelling glory, and weaves in authentic ­details about smallpox outbreaks, race riots, and orphan­ages. ­Jenny Bonnet is an incendiary character pulled directly from the history books.... Her extraordinary life gives Donoghue's novel contemporary resonance.Elyse Moody, ElleA riveting literary thriller.... Donoghue brilliantly conjures the chaos of a boomtown in the grip of both a heat wave and a smallpox epidemic; her cast of colorful lowlifes includes the freeloading Arthur and his sycophantic best friend, Ernest. But it's Blanche and Jenny who hold our attention.... FROG MUSIC begins with a mystery: Who killed Jenny? But it enthralls with two other questions: Who was Jenny? Who will Blanche become?Karen Holt, O, The Oprah MagazineThe perfect highbrow historical murder mystery summer read.... Working from actual historic record, Donoghue...masterfully fleshes out San Francisco's demi-monde of French émigré performers and pimps.... [and her] pacing is exemplary.... FROG MUSIC also makes a case for the return of blatant eroticism to mainstream literature. Blanche Buenon's world is one of sex and prostitution, Jenny's one of subverting her gender expectations, and both women have a charged sexuality that simmers like that summer heat wave under the surface of the novel. Donoghue handles graphic sexual scenes deftly, never compromising the frank and lustful point of view of her main character.Leigh Baldwin, San Antonio CurrentDonoghue has a gift for place, for setting, for wringing anxiety and drama out of the spaces her characters occupy, as well as for taking real-life events and rendering them realer and sharper than they were the first time around.... It's a bizarre story through and through, and Donoghue more than does it justice, drawing for the reader a (clearly assiduously researched) world that feels both too strange to be real and too vivid not to be.Ellen Cushing, East Bay ExpressMore fine work from one of popular fiction's most talented practitioners.... Donoghue's vivid rendering of Gilded Age San Francisco is notable for her atmospheric use of popular songs and slang in Blanche's native French, but the book's emotional punch comes from its portrait of a woman growing into self-respect as she takes responsibility for the infant life she's created.Kirkus ReviewsEmma Donoghue shows more than range with FROG MUSIC-she shows genius. Like and unlike her stunning ROOM, this novel lifts into view a strange crime, a remarkable woman, and is a Ringling Brothers-grade feat of narrative strength. As ever, Donoghue focuses on people on the skirts of the world, who make their way outside the common middle of things. Blanche and Jenny are characters you will never forget, filmed in vibrant, cinemascope prose, and they mark Emma Donoghue's greatest achievement yet.Darin Strauss, author of Half a LifeDonoghue proves herself endlessly inventive....[She] nails both the period details and the atmosphere-think sweltering heat waves, dumping grounds for unwanted babies, and smallpox epidemics. This is the kind of book that will keep you up at night and make you smarter.Julie Buntin, CosmopolitanDonoghue's evocative language invades the senses.... Readers won't quickly forget this rollicking, fast-paced novel, which is based on a true story and displays fine bits of humor with underlying themes of female autonomy and the right to own one's sexual identity.Library Journal (Starred Review)Donoghue flawlessly combines literary eloquence and vigorous plotting in her first full-fledged mystery, a work as original and multifaceted as its young murder victim.... An engrossing and suspenseful tale about moral growth, unlikely friendship, and breaking free from the past.Sarah Johnson, Booklist (Starred Review)Donoghue's first literary crime novel is a departure from her bestselling Room, but it's just as dark and just as gripping as the latter.... Aside from the obvious whodunit factor, the book is filled with period song lyrics and other historic details, expertly researched and flushed out.... Donoghue's signature talent for setting tone and mood elevates the book from common cliffhanger to a true chef d'oeuvre.Gabe Habash, Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)Donoghue's latest novel has many facets, all of them fascinating....Colorful French slang and period songs...flow through the novel lyrically, making the era as vital as the plot....[A] vibrant novel.Connie Ogle, Miami HeraldA dazzling historical crime drama.San Francisco ChronicleThe authenticity Donoghue brings to her work, something of a signature, lends richness and verisimilitude to the book. FROG MUSIC is a can't-miss work.Terri Schlichenmeyer, Washington BladeWhether the crime is stranger than fiction or simply more colorful than anything a writer would dare to invent, the true story of Jeanne Bonnet is a scandalous delight.Sara Breselor, 7x7SFFROG MUSIC is miles away from the traditional who-done-it, and rather more colorful than your mama's historical fiction...[and] should appeal to those who don't mind their history with grit and unflinching details.Brooke Wylie, ExaminerIn Jenny the frog-catcher, Donoghue has resurrected a true original-witty, perceptive, iconoclastic and nearly indomitable.Kathy Ewing, Cleveland Plain DealerAs with Room, the book thrives on Donoghue's precisely poignant details.... This is a book to cherish, to share with your friends and book clubs, to buy for every reader on your Christmas list, and to read again in a few years. Adored is not too strong a word to describe my feelings for it. My one wish: Emma Donoghue, could you please write faster?Joy Tipping, Dallas Morning NewsRoom's eloquent author brings the same sensitivity to this period piece, which explores the unsolved 1876 San Francisco murder of Jenny Bonnet through the eyes of the bohemian friend she left behind.InStyleThe perfect highbrow historical murder mystery summer read.... Working from actual historic record, Donoghue...masterfully fleshes out San Francisco's demi-monde of French émigré performers and pimps.... [and her] pacing is exemplary.... FROG MUSIC also makes a case for the return of blatant eroticism to mainstream literature. Blanche Buenon's world is one of sex and prostitution, Jenny's one of subverting her gender expectations, and both women have a charged sexuality that simmers like that summer heat wave under the surface of the novel. Donoghue handles graphic sexual scenes deftly, never compromising the frank and lustful point of view of her main character.Leigh Baldwin, San Antonio CurrentDonoghue has a gift for place, for setting, for wringing anxiety and drama out of the spaces her characters occupy, as well as for taking real-life events and rendering them realer and sharper than they were the first time around.... It's a bizarre story through and through, and Donoghue more than does it justice, drawing for the reader a (clearly assiduously researched) world that feels both too strange to be real and too vivid not to be.Ellen Cushing, East Bay ExpressDonoghue depicts with feeling the new parent's confusion, anxiety and guilt--not just 'Am I doing the right thing?' but 'Am I feeling the right thing?-.... Respect for the facts lets the book sprawl towards its final revelations. The effect is a rough if vital music, not unlike Blanche's own repertoire.Adrian Turpin, Financial TimesThe setting [Blanche] inhibits is alive, brimming with sin and music.New Yorker[An] ebullient mystery..... Donoghue cross-cuts between Blanche's desperate present-time search and scenes from her Technicolor past with showstopping aplomb.... It's all great fun, and so richly atmospheric.... Astonishing details are scattered like party nuts.... Donoghue also provides riotous musical accompaniment for her narrative.... Call it a mind-bendingly original crime novel, or a dazzling historical mystery, but in the end, this is really a book about love-a mother's love for a strange child, for an exotic friend and finally, for herself.Caroline Leavitt, San Francisco ChronicleRich hauls of historical research, deeply excavated but lightly borne.... [An] ingenious telling.David Kipen, Wall Street JournalA captivating exploration of female friendship, music, cultural clashes, San Francisco's history, childcare, and the sex trade in the United States.Sara Rauch, Lambda LiteraryVividly rendered.... A page-turner, full of suspense; fans of Room will recognize the dark, gripping tension Donoghue creates so masterfully. But the novel goes far beyond the usual thriller in its nuanced characterizations: Jenny and Blanche are sculpted into living, breathing, feeling individuals, and even minor characters pulse with life.Patricia Hagen, Minneapolis Star TribuneDonoghue delivers her best to date.... [She] had us with her novel Room.... But in her latest, she outdoes herself. She leaves behind her familiar, her trusted ways and dishes up something bold, raw-ish and fabulously fun-whilst maintaining a very serious and noted literary merit.Daniel Scheffler, EdgeA riveting literary thriller.Karen Holt, Huffington PostCompletely engrossing, readable, and fascinating on several levels.Bethanne Patrick, WashingtonianDonoghue's latest novel has many facets, all of them fascinating.... Like her hair-raising best-seller Room, it incorporates the elements of a thriller; in fact, there's enough puzzle here to qualify as a full-blooded mystery. Best of all, there's Donoghue's intricate examination of women in impossible circumstances, bound to repugnant men for survival but never broken by them.... Colorful French slang and period songs...flow through the novel lyrically, making the era as vital as the plot. Donoghue is acrobatic with her storytelling and language and paints the stinking city vividly.... [A] vibrant and remarkable novel.San Jose Mercury NewsEndlessly intriguing.... You'll find yourself enraptured by the intricate plot developments that will keep you revising your version of the action from one hour to the next.Maude McDaniel, BookPageWhere Donoghue excels is in her descriptions of 19th century squalor.... Poignant.Elizabeth Hand, Los Angeles TimesA page-turner of a mystery with rich historical texture.... Atop the mystery, Ms. Donoghue masterfully overlays another story about motherhood and obligation, and friendship-even desire-between women. [She] manifests her genius by weaving the two together.Julie Hakim Azzam, Pittsburgh Post-GazetteAn engrossing read.June Thomas, NY1's "The Book Reader"Donoghue depicts with feeling the new parent's confusion, anxiety and guilt--not just 'Am I doing the right thing?' but 'Am I feeling the right thing?-.... Respect for the facts lets the book sprawl towards its final revelations. The effect is a rough if vital music, not unlike Blanche's own repertoire.Adrian Turpin, Financial TimesThe setting [Blanche] inhibits is alive, brimming with sin and music.New YorkerUnmissable-a novel bound to be one of the most talked about of the year.Daniel Lefferts, BookishLike Room...Donoghue here displays an uncanny knack for telling an off-putting story in such a way that you can't stop reading it, that you fall a little bit in love with the characters and the moment in time she's creating.Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times Research and invention together mark FROG MUSIC with the ring of truth and salvage a fascinating story from the ether of history.Ellen Wernecke, A.V. ClubThe Room author's latest novel, about a woman solving her friend's murder in 1876 San Fran, sucks you in.Megan Angelo, GlamourDonoghue...devises an ingeniously plotted revision to the official story of why Jenny died-true to her sustained, career-long effort to read history slant and thereby set the record straight.Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal SentinelIt's in the tentative moments of love between Blanche and P'tit that FROG MUSIC is at its best-heartfelt, affecting, and real. Donoghue is so gifted at depicting the fraught blessings of motherhood.Charles Finch, Chicago TribuneThough Donoghue poses the book as a mystery - who killed Jenny Bonnet? - it's equally a celebration of love despite hardships galore, and the rising call of motherhood against near impossible odds.Alan Cheuse, NPRA vivid narrative equipped with love, lust, and violence, questionable morals, period folk tunes, an eclectic band of characters, and a quest for justice.Morgan Ribera, BustleWith rich, well-researched details, Donoghue evokes a multicultural, rough-and-tumble San Francisco.USATodayA historical narrative set in San Francisco in 1876.... [that] provides further proof that Ms. Donoghue is an unusually versatile writer.New York Observer[An] offbeat, high-minded whodunit from the award-winning author of Room.Adam Rathe, DuJourMore fine work from one of popular fiction's most talented practitioners.... Donoghue's vivid rendering of Gilded Age San Francisco is notable for her atmospheric use of popular songs and slang in Blanche's native French, but the book's emotional punch comes from its portrait of a woman growing into self-respect as she takes responsibility for the infant life she's created.Kirkus ReviewsFROG MUSIC...[brings] to steamy life the unresolved so-called San Miguel Mystery.... Donoghue front-loads the ­drama.... She captures San Francisco in all its ­melting-pot, fishy-smelling glory, and weaves in authentic ­details about smallpox outbreaks, race riots, and orphan­ages. ­Jenny Bonnet is an incendiary character pulled directly from the history books.... Her extraordinary life gives Donoghue's novel contemporary resonance.Elyse Moody, ElleA riveting literary thriller.... Donoghue brilliantly conjures the chaos of a boomtown in the grip of both a heat wave and a smallpox epidemic; her cast of colorful lowlifes includes the freeloading Arthur and his sycophantic best friend, Ernest. But it's Blanche and Jenny who hold our attention.... FROG MUSIC begins with a mystery: Who killed Jenny? But it enthralls with two other questions: Who was Jenny? Who will Blanche become?Karen Holt, O, The Oprah Magazine

“A riveting literary thriller.”

O, The Oprah Magazine

Emma Donoghue shows more than range with FROG MUSIC-she shows genius. Like and unlike her stunning ROOM, this novel lifts into view a strange crime, a remarkable woman, and is a Ringling Brothers-grade feat of narrative strength. As ever, Donoghue focuses on people on the skirts of the world, who make their way outside the common middle of things. Blanche and Jenny are characters you will never forget, filmed in vibrant, cinemascope prose, and they mark Emma Donoghue's greatest achievement yet.Darin Strauss, author of Half a LifeDonoghue's first literary crime novel is a departure from her bestselling Room, but it's just as dark and just as gripping as the latter.... Aside from the obvious whodunit factor, the book is filled with period song lyrics and other historic details, expertly researched and flushed out.... Donoghue's signature talent for setting tone and mood elevates the book from common cliffhanger to a true chef d'oeuvre.Gabe Habash, Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)Donoghue proves herself endlessly inventive....[She] nails both the period details and the atmosphere-think sweltering heat waves, dumping grounds for unwanted babies, and smallpox epidemics. This is the kind of book that will keep you up at night and make you smarter.Julie Buntin, CosmopolitanDonoghue's evocative language invades the senses.... Readers won't quickly forget this rollicking, fast-paced novel, which is based on a true story and displays fine bits of humor with underlying themes of female autonomy and the right to own one's sexual identity.Library Journal (Starred Review)Donoghue flawlessly combines literary eloquence and vigorous plotting in her first full-fledged mystery, a work as original and multifaceted as its young murder victim.... An engrossing and suspenseful tale about moral growth, unlikely friendship, and breaking free from the past.Sarah Johnson, Booklist (Starred Review)Donoghue masterfully transports readers to an era of dung-covered cobbled roads, unspeakably cruel baby farms, deep suspicion of Chinese immigrants and unruly saloons.Rasha Madkour, The Associated PressDonoghue's book captures the details of San Francisco through meticulous research. The city is a character itself.Tony DuShane, San Francisco ChronicleIn Jenny the frog-catcher, Donoghue has resurrected a true original-witty, perceptive, iconoclastic and nearly indomitable.Kathy Ewing, Cleveland Plain Dealer[An] ebullient mystery..... Donoghue cross-cuts between Blanche's desperate present-time search and scenes from her Technicolor past with showstopping aplomb.... It's all great fun, and so richly atmospheric.... Astonishing details are scattered like party nuts.... Donoghue also provides riotous musical accompaniment for her narrative.... Call it a mind-bendingly original crime novel, or a dazzling historical mystery, but in the end, this is really a book about love-a mother's love for a strange child, for an exotic friend and finally, for herself.Caroline Leavitt, San Francisco ChronicleRich hauls of historical research, deeply excavated but lightly borne.... [An] ingenious telling.David Kipen, Wall Street JournalDonoghue's latest novel has many facets, all of them fascinating....Colorful French slang and period songs...flow through the novel lyrically, making the era as vital as the plot....[A] vibrant novel.Connie Ogle, Miami HeraldFROG MUSIC is miles away from the traditional who-done-it, and rather more colorful than your mama's historical fiction...[and] should appeal to those who don't mind their history with grit and unflinching details.Brooke Wylie, ExaminerWhether the crime is stranger than fiction or simply more colorful than anything a writer would dare to invent, the true story of Jeanne Bonnet is a scandalous delight.Sara Breselor, 7x7SFRoom's eloquent author brings the same sensitivity to this period piece, which explores the unsolved 1876 San Francisco murder of Jenny Bonnet through the eyes of the bohemian friend she left behind.InStyleAs with Room, the book thrives on Donoghue's precisely poignant details.... This is a book to cherish, to share with your friends and book clubs, to buy for every reader on your Christmas list, and to read again in a few years. Adored is not too strong a word to describe my feelings for it. My one wish: Emma Donoghue, could you please write faster?Joy Tipping, Dallas Morning NewsThe authenticity Donoghue brings to her work, something of a signature, lends richness and verisimilitude to the book. FROG MUSIC is a can't-miss work.Terri Schlichenmeyer, Washington BladeWhere Donoghue excels is in her descriptions of 19th century squalor.... Poignant.Elizabeth Hand, Los Angeles TimesEndlessly intriguing.... You'll find yourself enraptured by the intricate plot developments that will keep you revising your version of the action from one hour to the next.Maude McDaniel, BookPageA page-turner of a mystery with rich historical texture.... Atop the mystery, Ms. Donoghue masterfully overlays another story about motherhood and obligation, and friendship-even desire-between women. [She] manifests her genius by weaving the two together.Julie Hakim Azzam, Pittsburgh Post-GazetteA riveting literary thriller.Karen Holt, Huffington PostA dazzling historical crime drama.San Francisco ChronicleVividly rendered.... A page-turner, full of suspense; fans of Room will recognize the dark, gripping tension Donoghue creates so masterfully. But the novel goes far beyond the usual thriller in its nuanced characterizations: Jenny and Blanche are sculpted into living, breathing, feeling individuals, and even minor characters pulse with life.Patricia Hagen, Minneapolis Star TribuneDonoghue delivers her best to date.... [She] had us with her novel Room.... But in her latest, she outdoes herself. She leaves behind her familiar, her trusted ways and dishes up something bold, raw-ish and fabulously fun-whilst maintaining a very serious and noted literary merit.Daniel Scheffler, EdgeA captivating exploration of female friendship, music, cultural clashes, San Francisco's history, childcare, and the sex trade in the United States.Sara Rauch, Lambda LiteraryDonoghue's latest novel has many facets, all of them fascinating.... Like her hair-raising best-seller Room, it incorporates the elements of a thriller; in fact, there's enough puzzle here to qualify as a full-blooded mystery. Best of all, there's Donoghue's intricate examination of women in impossible circumstances, bound to repugnant men for survival but never broken by them.... Colorful French slang and period songs...flow through the novel lyrically, making the era as vital as the plot. Donoghue is acrobatic with her storytelling and language and paints the stinking city vividly.... [A] vibrant and remarkable novel.San Jose Mercury NewsAn engrossing read.June Thomas, NY1's "The Book Reader"Completely engrossing, readable, and fascinating on several levels.Bethanne Patrick, Washingtonian

“Donoghue’s first literary crime novel is a departure from her bestselling Room, but it’s just as dark and just as gripping…Aside from the obvious whodunit factor, the book is filled with period song lyrics and other historic details, expertly researched and flushed out…Donoghue’s signature talent for setting tone and mood elevates the book from common cliffhanger to a true chef d’oeuvre.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Donoghue’s evocative language invades the senses with the sights and smells of Chinatown, the frying food, boisterous saloons, even the sickrooms of victims of the smallpox epidemic. Readers won’t quickly forget this rollicking, fast-paced novel, which is based on a true story and displays fine bits of humor with underlying themes of female autonomy and the right to own one’s sexual identity.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“Donoghue flawlessly combines literary eloquence and vigorous plotting in her first full-fledged mystery, a work as original and multifaceted as its young murder victim…Most of her seedy, damaged characters really lived, and she not only posits a clever solution to a historical crime that was never adequately solved but also crafts around Blanche and Jenny an engrossing and suspenseful tale about moral growth, unlikely friendship, and breaking free from the past.”

Booklist (starred review)

“Khristine Hvam’s broad range of accents and beautifully expressive performance give this audiobook a dimension not found in print. Especially impressive is how naturally Hvam slips into song, giving listeners an extra connection with the novel. Hvam’s theatrical training is evident in her skillful rendering of the characters’ personalities and emotions.”

AudioFile

“Donoghue’s vivid rendering of Gilded Age San Francisco is notable for her atmospheric use of popular songs and slang in Blanche’s native French, but the book’s emotional punch comes from its portrait of a woman growing into self-respect as she takes responsibility for the infant life she’s created. More fine work from one of popular fiction’s most talented practitioners.”

Kirkus Reviews

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