The History of Sound
Viking Press

The History of Sound

$30.00

“Polyphonic fiction. . . . A reminder of the short story’s power. . . . The History of Sound marks Shattuck as one of the form’s brightest lights. . . . A terrific writer. . . . Deeply resonant.” —The Boston Globe

“Exquisitely crafted, deeply imagined, exhilaratingly diverse, The History of Sound places Ben Shattuck firmly among the very finest of our storytellers.”
—Geraldine Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of Horse

“Magnificent. . . . Poignant. . . . Exquisite.” —Publishers Weekly

A stunning collection of interconnected stories set in New England, exploring how the past is often misunderstood and how history, family, heartache, and desire can echo over centuries


In twelve luminous stories set across three centuries, The History of Sound examines the unexpected ways the past returns to us and how love and loss are entwined and transformed over generations. In Ben Shattuck's ingenious collection, each story has a companion story, which contains a revelation about the previous, paired story. Mysteries and murders are revealed, history is refracted, and deep emotional connections are woven through characters and families.

The haunting title story recalls the journey of two men who meet around a piano in a smoky, dim bar, only to spend a summer walking the Maine woods collecting folk songs in the shadow of the First World War, forever marked by the odyssey. Decades later, in another story, a woman discovers the wax cylinders recorded that fateful summer while cleaning out her new house in Maine. Shattuck’s inventive, exquisite stories transport readers from 1700s Nantucket to the contemporary woods of New Hampshire and beyond—into landscapes both enduring and unmistakably modern. Memories, artifacts, paintings, and journals resurface in surprising and poignant ways among evocative beaches, forests, and orchards, revealing the secrets, misunderstandings, and love that linger across centuries.

Written with breathtaking humanity and humor, The History of Sound is a love letter to New England, a radiant conversation between past and present, and a moving meditation on the abiding search for home.

Author: Ben Shattuck.
ISBN: 9780593490389
Hardcover: 320 pages.
Size: 8.5" x 5.8" x 1.1"