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  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built

  • Monk & Robot, Book 1
  • By: Becky Chambers
  • Narrated by: Em Grosland
  • Length: 4 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (221 ratings)

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Summary

"Narrator Emmett Grosland conjures the essence of a troubled soul in search of peace in this gentle audio."—AudioFile Magazine

In A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Hugo Award-winner Becky Chambers's delightful new Monk and Robot series gives us hope for the future.

It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.

One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of "what do people need?" is answered.

But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.

They're going to need to ask it a lot.

Becky Chambers's new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?

A Macmillan Audio production from Tordotcom

©2021 Becky Chambers (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about A Psalm for the Wild-Built

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Wholesome Goodness

This is a book for our times. It’s gentle, & good & will resonate with anyone who’s burned out by *gestures at everything*

9 people found this helpful

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A different kind of sci fi.

I've been looking for a book like this, for a very long time regardless of whether ive known it.

I'm not usually one to write reviews but i owe this book after listening to it in one sitting, completely engrossed and at peace, so bear in mind my words are biased and unlikely to explain the book well enough compared to the other reviews.

Simply put, this book, in a future absent of any material or ecological stresses, deals with the nature of purpose and choice and the nature of consciousness. This sounds boring and unthrilling, and compared to, say, the expanse series, it's pretty chilled out. But throughout the duration it really makes you question a lot of assumptions, but also of your own mindset.

I honestly just fannot recommend this book enough. If it's not for you, whatever, its short and sweet so you'll not be wasting too much of your life. But if you need some time, to think and unwind, this book is meditation written on paper.

3 people found this helpful

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Book like a warm mug of tea

Becky Chambers writes the most beautiful sci-fi I've read. Her characters feel like rich and deep beings with familiar emotions. She's stand out in this way for me. Read her stuff <3

2 people found this helpful

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love Becky Chambers!

we all need these stories in our lives. Becky Chambers is visionary and wonderful

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Lovely

A delight as well as deeply thought provoking.
Simplicity gentleness yet riveting with so much more to find out in books to come

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Just beautiful.

A beautiful story of self discovery.

Perhaps we should all go in search of the crickets.

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Inspirational

When science fiction is good, it opens up new horizons by exploring ideas through a story. At it's best you don't even notice you are reading science fiction. This is great science fiction. A truly great book that I hope will in time be recognised as a classic.

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amazing book. seems like there are 2 narrators ?

one narrator is good and then there are some parts that seem stitched in.

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Love Becky Chambers, not a fan of this narrator

I adore Becky Chambers work, my criticism isn't with the story content, but with the narration. I get that the story is about a monk and a robot but Em's narration was like listening to a text-to speech robot. I'll have to buy the book and read it myself because I couldn't finish the audiobook

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Short and sweet

Lovely book that proves that you don't need 15+ hours to tell a great story

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  • Daniel Cascaddan
  • 15-07-21

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

This was absolutely WONDERFUL! It is like a continuation of the wonderful Ursula K. LeGuinn narrative, one of my very favorite things! I really love the idea of a "tea monk". I would like Sibling Dex to camp on our front yard for a few days, when this heat-wave breaks. I have read everything Becky Chambers has published, and always hate having to wait for more. Her writing always makes me happy. Thank you so very much, Becky!

19 people found this helpful

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  • Lea Seidman
  • 24-07-21

A Balm of a Psalm

(Possible spoilers ahead.)
I’m always ready for a Becky Chambers book. Where The Wayfarers was about finding family in an exciting but high-stakes and sometimes brutal future, A Psalm for the Wild-Built is pastoral and meditative in a setting where humanity managed to unf*ck itself.
Human Dex is a monk who travels and serves tea and comfort and is successful in their service to others, but finds themselves empty and depressed. Dex’s future is comfortable and safe: when robots gain sentience, humans set them free, and humans radically reboot their lives to sustainability.
Dex recognizes that they have everything they need, and are furious that they have an emotional pain they can’t heal no matter what they try. Readers will know long before Dex does that Dex is burnt all the way out from caring for everyone but themselves.
Dex meets and travels with Mosscap, a guileless, gentle, and annoyingly curious robot that has volunteered to leave the wilds to see what humans need.
When Dex reveals to Mosscap why Dex is confused and hurting, I was full on crying. I was touched by Chambers’ depiction of Mosscap’s kindness, and related so much to Dex’s fear of starting over.
Emmett Grosland was fantastic at bringing Chambers’ words and characters to life. Not gonna lie: I adore Mosscap as Grosland portrays them. What a pure robot.

Highly recommended.

Something that doesn’t have anything to do with the writing or performance that I think is worth mentioning is the unevenness in the sound quality. Some sections of the audio were fuzzy, and others clear, and it was unrelated to the text. Emmett Grosland would sound like two different performers, because the recording gave them two different pitches. This didn’t ruin the book for me, but it was baffling given that this is an audiobook from a major publisher.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Tim Hochberg
  • 11-10-21

Not my cup of tea

This book didn't really work for me. I didn't find the world building convincing, it would have worked better with either less details, or better thought out details. Also the personality of the robot seemed far fetched given their origins. The experiment with using they, them, their everywhere was interesting, but not fully successful. Too often, "they" in particular ended up being ambiguous and confusing. If we end up settling on "they" as a gender neutral pronoun, writers are going to need to figure out how to write around that particular ambiguity, and not do a straight swap for "he/she/it".

The strongest part of the book was the interaction between the robot and Dex, but that wasn't enough on its own.

4 people found this helpful

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  • J. H. Robinson
  • 27-09-21

Fun novella

Enjoyable novella set in a world I hope the author revisits. Made me delighted to have a friendly tea shop right up the road. Cozy SF needs to become more of a thing (it might already be), because this made my morning brighter.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Matt_E_Clark
  • 01-11-21

A Soothing Validation for Anyone Who’s Ever Felt Lost in Life

This book spoke to my heart. I’ve often found myself dissatisfied with a perfectly comfortable life, a more than adequate vocation, and wonderfully caring community. This story felt like a validation of that unintelligible, albeit not uncommon, human predicament… that yearning for more. Purpose, meaning, wholeness. If you’re into allegory, nature, sci-fi, philosophy… or if you just have a nagging sort of wanderlust that often creeps in on you… this book will surely be a worthwhile listen… and quite possibly more.

3 people found this helpful

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  • henry
  • 26-07-21

stunning

I hope this gets made into film. just wow. I was NOT ready for it to end.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Nerdy Girl
  • 20-01-22

It feels like the first third of a book

I generally enjoyed this, but it’s very confusing that there was so much exposition in the beginning, and so much world-building, and then the main characters reach their first goal and it ends there? Most of it I found mildly enjoyable, but there were a lot of loose ends.

2 people found this helpful

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  • BugGuy
  • 24-07-21

a must read

absolutely beautiful. They have outdone themselves on this one. reaches out and touches the heart of our world lacking direction.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Shahrazad Akbar
  • 23-07-22

Unsatisfying

The book lacks a good conclusion. I realize there’s a sequel, but the one and only dilemma the main character started with isn’t resolved. This is a book where nothing happens and nothing gets settled.
I still don’t know why Dex agreed to travel with Mosscap despite his repeated discomfort with the robot. My feelings on Dex are conflicted. Sometimes they’re likable, sometimes they aren’t.
Some philosophical ideas and debates are scattered here and there. And only one of them is worth sharing IMO. This reads like an ethical essay found at a children’s school book “a conversation between a child and the ocean” kind of deal, but aimed at adults.
I’m sad to say this about any part of literature, but this has been a waste of my time.
The audio was a little off. Some sentences are recorded differently and then it’s back to normal.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Charles
  • 11-01-22

Well written but total fantasy

They leave a major factor out of the description that I wish I knew going in. Its in the opening of the book so it's not really a spoiler. This story takes place in a fantasy world on a fantasy planet where most of humanity's problems have been solved. If you want to have a thoughtful dive into human nature it doesn't really work this way. It makes it much harder to relate to them and the story as a whole.

1 person found this helpful