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The Listener: A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


A wise and witty novel about the challenges to identity that arise in both adolescence and middle age—and the student and therapist who just may have the power to save each other.

Malcolm Dowd is almost positive he recognizes the freshman who shows up for a session at his office in Baxter College’s Center for Behavioral Health—he just can’t place her. When suddenly she stands, takes off her wig, and reveals herself as Noah, the young man Malcolm had been treating months earlier, it marks the start of a relationship that will change them both.

After losing his wife at a young age, Malcolm dedicated himself to giving his two daughters the stable, predictable childhood he never had. But now nothing is predictable—not his young adult daughters, not himself, and certainly not Noah. Whether he’s attending class or rehearsing for the campus musical, Noah finds he’s often challenging everyone’s definition of gender. During the course of one semester, Noah’s and Malcolm’s lives become entwined in ways neither could ever have imagined.

Told alternately from Malcolm’s and Noah’s perspectives The Listener explores the ways in which we conceal and reveal our identities. As truth after truth is exposed, characters are forced to reconsider themselves and reorder their lives, with few easy answers to be found for anyone. The Listener is, ultimately, about the power of human connection and the many shapes that love can take.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 23, 2015 – Basch (The Passion of Reverend Nash) has produced a compassionate narrative exploring the sexual identities of the young and not-so-young through her cast of well-drawn, quirky characters. Psychologist Malcolm Dowd provides counseling for the students of Baxter College in Maine while he runs a private practice with his colleague, Dr. Gordon Stadler. One of Malcolm's patients is Noah, an18-year-old acting student and transvestite who shows up at their sessions in drag and uses the name Leah the same name as one of Malcolm's daughters, who's also a college student. Malcolm's children have left the nest, leaving him, a widower of 14 years, restless and ready to move on with his life. He kindles an edgy romance with Carmen "Cara" Shipley, a classical guitarist who also teaches music at Baxter. While the beleaguered Malcolm deals with the fallout from Gordon's latest affair, he must also contend with revealing a secret about his wife to his daughters, which will also have implications for his current relationship with Cara. As the plot moves toward its conclusion, Basch unites her characters in surprising and satisfying ways, making this novel really come alive.
The Listener: A Novel
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Mar 15, 2015
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • Seller: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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