Good Night, Irene

Good Night, Irene

by Luis Alberto Urrea

Narrated by Barrie Kreinik, Luis Alberto Urrea

Unabridged — 13 hours, 26 minutes

Good Night, Irene

Good Night, Irene

by Luis Alberto Urrea

Narrated by Barrie Kreinik, Luis Alberto Urrea

Unabridged — 13 hours, 26 minutes

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

Inspired by his mother's service with the Red Cross during World War II, Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea has written a stunning historical epic, highlighting the untold stories of women's bravery on the frontlines of WWII.

This*New York Times*bestselling novel tells an exhilarating World War II epic that chronicles an extraordinary young woman's heroic frontline service in the Red Cross.

“Urrea's touch is sure, his exuberance carries you through . . . He is a generous writer, not just in his approach to his craft but in the broader sense of what he feels necessary to capture about life itself.” -Financial Times

In 1943, Irene Woodward abandons an abusive fiancé in New York to enlist with the Red Cross and head to Europe. She makes fast friends in training with Dorothy Dunford, a towering Midwesterner with a ferocious wit. Together they are part of an elite group of women, nicknamed Donut Dollies, who command military vehicles called Clubmobiles at the front line, providing camaraderie and a taste of home that may be the only solace before troops head into battle.
***********
After D-Day, these two intrepid friends join the Allied soldiers streaming into France. Their time in Europe will see them embroiled in danger, from the Battle of the Bulge to the liberation of Buchenwald. Through her friendship with Dorothy, and a love affair with a courageous American fighter pilot named Hans, Irene learns to trust again. Her most fervent hope, which becomes more precarious by the day, is for all three of them to survive the war intact.
*
Taking as inspiration his mother's own Red Cross service, Luis Alberto Urrea has delivered an overlooked story of women's heroism in World War II. With its affecting and uplifting portrait of friendship and valor in harrowing circumstances, Good Night, Irene powerfully demonstrates yet again that Urrea's “gifts as a storyteller are prodigious” (NPR).

Editorial Reviews

July 2023 - AudioFile

This audiobook takes a little-known WWII program and builds a story around it, inspired by the real-life experiences of the author's mother. Irene joins the "Clubmobile" program as a Red Cross volunteer, and listeners follow her through a multitude of harrowing ordeals as she brings coffee, doughnuts, and other treats to soldiers on the front lines in Europe. Barrie Kreinik delivers the story with a steady, predictable regularity. Her voice becomes more emotionally nuanced as the audiobook proceeds, but often her tone is consistent to the point of sounding rote. While the pace and production values are reasonable, the audiobook never fully reaches the potential of the subject matter, remaining at the surface of the experience. The author's note is more emotionally charged. L.B.F. © AudioFile 2023, Portland, Maine

From the Publisher

Thank you, Luis Alberto Urrea, for introducing me to another group of amazingly brave and overlooked women of WWII . . . A truly remarkable novel that I will recommend to anyone.”

Debbie White, Well-Read Moose, Coeur d’Alene, ID

“Urrea presents the story of a deep friendship in the midst of a war-torn Western Europe, images of combat that strangle the heart, and a love for life that warms it. Good Night, Irene is a wonder!”

Wendy Labinger, Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, IA

“I cried at the end of this incredible novel, it is so good. And tells a story of stalwart, brave, ballsy women . . . Good Night, Irene is a spectacular novel of immense literary merit. I loved it.”

Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

“I loved discovering a new area of WWII history . . . Good Night, Irene tells the story of two women facing the war and their fears, developing friendships in brutal conditions, discovering love in the midst of war, and seeing firsthand the horrors that mankind can create.”        

Elizabeth Barnhill, Fabled Bookshop, Waco, TX

“Urrea never disappoints. This WWII historical novel is based on Urrea’s mother and her work with the American Red Cross during the war. His writing is beautiful and you will fall in love with Irene—her grit, determination, and strength.” 

Annette Avery, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff, AZ

“Great read with Urrea’s signature ear for unique, fast-paced dialogue. This lost slice of history in the well-worn tracks of WWII novels is fascinating!"

Nancy Shawn, Island Books, Mercer Island, WA

Praise for The House of Broken Angels

"Epic . . . Rambunctious . . . Highly entertaining . . . Sorrowful and funny . . . Cheerfully profane . . . The quips and jokes come fast through a poignant novel that is very much about time itself . . . A powerful rendering of a Mexican-American family that is also an American family."—Viet Thanh Nguyen, New York Times Book Review

"A raucous, moving, and necessary book...Intimate and touching...The stuff of legend...There's deep heart and tenderness in this novel.The House of Broken Angels is, at its most political, a border story...Chillingly accurate, they're heartbreaking, and infuriating."—Alexis Burling, San Francisco Chronicle

"An immensely charming and moving tale...Urrea deftly inhabits many points of view, dreaming up an internal voice for each...It is a testament to his swift and lucid characterizations that one does not want to leave this party...A novel like The House of Broken Angels is a radical act. It is a big, epic story about how hard it is to love with all of your heart, and all of your family—regardless of which side of the border they live on."—John Freeman, Boston Globe

"The House of Broken Angels is a big, sprawling, messy, sexy, raucous house party of a book, a pan-generational family saga with an enormous, bounding heart, a poetic delivery, and plenty of swagger...More than once while reading the novel, I thought of James Joyce's 'The Dead,' another kaleidoscopic fable of family life that skillfully mixes perspectives...The House of Broken Angels is a book about celebration that is, itself, a celebration."—Michael Lindgren, Washington Post

"Urrea's gifts as a storyteller are prodigious...The book's spirit is irrepressibly high. Even in its saddest moments, The House of Broken Angels hums with joy...The noveloverflows with the pleasure of family...And all that vulnerability, combined with humor and celebration and Urrea's vivid prose, will crack you open."—Lily Meyer, NPR

San Francisco Chronicle Alexis Burling

A raucous, moving, and necessary book...Intimate and touching...The stuff of legend...There's deep heart and tenderness in this novel.The House of Broken Angels is, at its most political, a border story...Chillingly accurate, they're heartbreaking, and infuriating.

New York Times Book Review Viet Thanh Nguyen

Epic . . . Rambunctious . . . Highly entertaining . . . Sorrowful and funny . . . Cheerfully profane . . . The quips and jokes come fast through a poignant novel that is very much about time itself . . . A powerful rendering of a Mexican-American family that is also an American family.

Boston Globe John Freeman

An immensely charming and moving tale...Urrea deftly inhabits many points of view, dreaming up an internal voice for each...It is a testament to his swift and lucid characterizations that one does not want to leave this party...A novel like The House of Broken Angels is a radical act. It is a big, epic story about how hard it is to love with all of your heart, and all of your family—regardless of which side of the border they live on.

NPR Lily Meyer

Urrea's gifts as a storyteller are prodigious...The book's spirit is irrepressibly high. Even in its saddest moments, The House of Broken Angels hums with joy...The noveloverflows with the pleasure of family...And all that vulnerability, combined with humor and celebration and Urrea's vivid prose, will crack you open.

Washington Post Michael Lindgren

The House of Broken Angels is a big, sprawling, messy, sexy, raucous house party of a book, a pan-generational family saga with an enormous, bounding heart, a poetic delivery, and plenty of swagger...More than once while reading the novel, I thought of James Joyce's 'The Dead,' another kaleidoscopic fable of family life that skillfully mixes perspectives...The House of Broken Angels is a book about celebration that is, itself, a celebration.

New York Times bestselling author of The Many Daug Jamie Ford

Every once in a while the universe opens its heart and pulls out a book like this novel, gifting it to the cosmos. In Good Night, Irene, a new element has been created, and the literary world is reborn in the image of Luis Alberto Urrea. His voice comes alive on every page of this magnificent novel.

AudioFile - JULY 2023

This audiobook takes a little-known WWII program and builds a story around it, inspired by the real-life experiences of the author's mother. Irene joins the "Clubmobile" program as a Red Cross volunteer, and listeners follow her through a multitude of harrowing ordeals as she brings coffee, doughnuts, and other treats to soldiers on the front lines in Europe. Barrie Kreinik delivers the story with a steady, predictable regularity. Her voice becomes more emotionally nuanced as the audiobook proceeds, but often her tone is consistent to the point of sounding rote. While the pace and production values are reasonable, the audiobook never fully reaches the potential of the subject matter, remaining at the surface of the experience. The author's note is more emotionally charged. L.B.F. © AudioFile 2023, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2023-04-11
Two women witness the horrors of World War II via a snack truck.

Pulitzer Prize and NBCC Award finalist Urrea’s remarkable, elegantly written novel focuses on the Red Cross’ little-known Clubmobile Corps, which during World War II was charged with bringing coffee, doughnuts, and good company to weary GIs. The women had no medical training and were often condescended to as “Donut Dollies,” but because they were stationed in the heart of battle, they played no small part in improving morale and required a steely resolve of their own. Irene Woodward, who’s escaped New York and an abusive fiance, and Dorothy Dunford, who’s left her family and failing farm in Indiana, are paired together in a massive truck that, across the novel, heads from England to France and Germany in 1944 and 1945. En route, they witness some of the worst the post–D-Day European theater has to offer, from bombs to snipers to death camps; during lulls, the two fend off their share of harassment as well. (It’s all a recipe for PTSD and overwhelming for many; the Clubmobile was designed to be operated by three women, but so many drop out there’s a running gag about an unnamed “Third Girl in the Truck.”) Irene, artsy and romantic, has an opposites-attract rapport with the no-nonsense Dorothy, which Urrea plays for both humor and pathos, but he stresses how unified they are in absorbing the constant surprises and tragedies of warfare; a sunny retreat to Cannes is followed by a trek to Buchenwald. This material is personal for Urrea, whose mother served in the Clubmobile Corps, and a few sentimental notes slip into the story. But there’s plenty of grit, detail, and twists that make for both a fine page-turner and an evocation of war’s often cruel randomness.

Top-shelf historical fiction delivered with wit and compassion.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176608700
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication date: 05/30/2023
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 322,858
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