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Welcome to our in-depth review of the audiobook “Three Junes” by Julia Glass. This captivating tale takes us on a journey through the lives of a Scottish family, exploring themes of love, loss, and family dynamics across generations.

As a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Julia Glass has a reputation for crafting compelling narratives that leave a lasting impression on readers. In this audiobook review, we’ll examine whether her storytelling skills translate effectively to an audio format.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Three Junes” is a captivating tale that explores the themes of love, loss, and family dynamics across generations.
  • Julia Glass’s reputation as a Pulitzer Prize-winning author is well-deserved, and her storytelling skills are on full display in this audiobook.
  • Throughout this review, we’ll examine the audiobook narration, analysis of themes, character development, and more to determine whether “Three Junes” is a worthwhile listen.

Overview of “Three Junes”

Published in 2002, “Three Junes” by Julia Glass is a mesmerizing family saga that intricately weaves past and present to explore the complexities of love, loss, and the bonds of family. Set in three separate “Junes” spanning over a decade, the novel follows the McLeod family and their connections to others through the eyes of several characters.

The first part, “Collies,” takes place in the summer of 1989 on the coast of Scotland and centers around the McLeod patriarch, Paul, and his relationships with his wife and children. The second part, “Upright,” follows Paul’s son Fenno and his life in New York City, where he runs his own bookstore and grapples with his identity as a gay man. The final part, “Boys,” takes place in the summer of 1999 on Long Island and explores the relationships between Fern, Paul’s daughter, and her two sons.

The main themes explored in “Three Junes” are love, loss, and the bonds of family, with Glass using a complex narrative structure to convey how past events shape the present lives of the characters. The characters’ struggles with identity, sexuality, and grief are also central to the novel’s plot.

Audiobook Narration

The narration of an audiobook can make or break the listening experience, and “Three Junes” is no exception. The audiobook is narrated by a team of talented voice actors who bring the characters and story to life.

Throughout the audiobook, the narrator’s voice conveys the emotion, tone, and pacing of the story, ensuring an engaging and satisfying listening experience. The voice actors adopt different vocal styles and accents to suit the varied characters, making it easy for listeners to differentiate between them.

The performance of the voice actors adds depth to the personalities of the characters, making them more relatable and human. The narration allows the listener to immerse themselves in the story and experience it in a way that reading alone cannot generate.

The voice actors capture the nuances of the characters’ speech and emotions, and their performances enhance the themes and plot of the book. Their engaging narration stimulates the listener’s imagination and creates an immersive experience that rivals the world building of a well-written novel.

Voice Actors in “Three Junes”

Character Voice Actor
Paul McLeod Scott Brick
Fenno McLeod Michael Cumpsty
Beverly McLeod Cynthia Darlow
Ingrid Melissa Hughes
Theo Matthew Walters

Analysis of Themes

In “Three Junes,” Julia Glass masterfully explores the complex themes of love, loss, and family. Throughout the story, the characters grapple with the many facets of love, from romantic love to familial love and the love between friends. The author presents love as both a source of comfort and a source of pain, creating complex and realistic portrayals of relationships.

Loss is another dominant theme in “Three Junes,” and the characters all experience it in different ways. From the loss of a spouse to the loss of a parent, the story shows how grief can impact us on a deep level and how we can learn to cope with it over time.

The theme of family is central to the story, and the author explores the complexities and nuances of family dynamics across generations. From the strained relationship between father and son to the close bond between siblings, “Three Junes” presents a nuanced and moving portrayal of what it means to be a family.

love, loss, and family themes in Three Junes


Love takes many forms in “Three Junes,” with romantic love, familial love, and friendship love all explored in various ways. At the heart of the story is the relationship between Paul and Fern, which undergoes many ups and downs over the course of the novel. Glass explores the many complexities of love and shows how it can both heal and hurt us.


The theme of loss is woven throughout “Three Junes,” with many of the characters experiencing varying degrees of grief and loss. When Paul’s wife dies, he is left to navigate his grief and newfound sense of loneliness. Later, we see how his children cope with the loss of their mother and how it has impacted their lives. The author shows how grief is a universal experience and how we all must learn to cope with it in our way.


The story of “Three Junes” is, in many ways, a story of family. We see the bonds that tie family members together and the sometimes-complicated relationships that can exist between them. From the rift between Paul and his son Fenno to the deep connection between Fern and her siblings, the novel explores the many facets of what it means to be a family.

Writing Style and Language

Julia Glass’s writing style in “Three Junes” is marked by its lyrical and introspective qualities. Through her use of language, imagery, and metaphor, Glass transports the listener into a world of emotional complexity and nuance. Her prose is both graceful and finely crafted, delivering a richly layered story that explores the intricacies of family, love, and loss.

The language in “Three Junes” is equally evocative, with Glass’s descriptive passages immersing the reader in the setting and atmosphere of each scene. Her use of metaphor and symbolism is subtle and powerful, bringing depth and meaning to even the most mundane occurrences. Through her deft handling of language, Glass creates a vivid and unforgettable world that resonates with readers long after the final pages have been turned.

Glass’s Literary Techniques

Glass employs a range of literary techniques throughout “Three Junes,” from flashback sequences to character monologues. One of her most striking stylistic choices is her use of alternating perspectives, which allows the story to unfold from the viewpoints of various family members and other characters. This approach gives the listener a multifaceted view of the events that shape the lives of the Scottish McLeod family.

Use of Imagery and Symbolism

One of Glass’s most distinctive talents lies in her use of imagery and symbolism to create a resonant emotional landscape. Throughout “Three Junes,” she draws upon natural elements such as the sea and sky to convey the shifting emotions of her characters. Similarly, recurring motifs such as music and art serve as powerful symbols of the different ways in which the McLeod family members grapple with their joys and sorrows.

Character Development

One of the strengths of “Three Junes” is its rich and nuanced characters, whose journeys we follow across decades and continents. Glass adeptly weaves together the personal and the political, the historical and the contemporary, to create a tapestry of interwoven lives that feel complex, authentic, and deeply human.

The protagonist, Paul McLeod, is a widowed father struggling to find meaning and connection in his life. Through his eyes, we witness the events of the novel unfold, and we come to know intimately the various people whose lives intersect with his. The character development in this book is nothing short of masterful, as Glass takes us deep into the psyches of each of her characters, revealing their hidden longings, fears, and motivations.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the character development in “Three Junes” is the way in which Glass shows us how her characters change and grow over time. We see them move through grief, come to terms with past traumas, and shed the beliefs and values that no longer serve them. Through it all, Glass handles their transformations with a deft touch, never resorting to cheap melodrama or implausible plot twists.

It’s a testament to Glass’s skill as a writer that by the end of the novel, we feel as if we know these characters intimately, as if they are old friends whose company we will miss. In “Three Junes,” Glass has created a deeply moving and unforgettable portrait of life and love, one that will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the final page.

Pacing and Plot Structure

The pacing and plot structure of “Three Junes” are integral to the overall listening experience, as they shape the flow of the narrative and engage the listener’s interest. The book is divided into three parts, with each section revolving around a different June in the lives of the McLeod family.

The first part introduces us to Paul, the family patriarch, and his relationship with his son Fenno, a gay man living in New York. The second part focuses on Fern, Paul’s second wife, and her unexpected affair while navigating a midlife crisis. The third part brings the family back together, revealing the impact of past events on their current relationships.

The pacing of “Three Junes” is slow and deliberate, allowing the listener to fully immerse themselves in the complexities of the characters’ lives. The plot unfolds gradually, with each June providing a glimpse into the McLeod family’s history and the impact of their past on their present.

The use of multiple perspectives and timelines adds depth and complexity to the plot, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of the characters’ motivations and relationships. However, some listeners may find the pacing too slow or the structure confusing, particularly if they prefer a more straightforward narrative.

The Importance of Pacing

Pacing is crucial in any narrative, as it can either enhance or detract from the overall impact of the story. In “Three Junes,” the slow pacing allows for a more in-depth exploration of the characters’ lives and emotions, making the book a character-driven work.

However, some listeners may find the pacing too slow or even tedious, particularly if they are used to faster-paced, action-oriented narratives. Ultimately, whether the pacing of “Three Junes” enhances or detracts from the listening experience is largely a matter of personal preference.

Comparison to the Print Version

Listeners who have read the print version of Three Junes may be curious to know how the audiobook adaptation compares.

One of the main differences between the two versions is the way the story is experienced. While the print version allows readers to immerse themselves in the story at their own pace, the audiobook narration sets a more regimented pace. However, this can also be seen as a positive, as it allows for a more focused and immersive listening experience.

Another noticeable difference is the impact of the voice actors on the interpretation of the characters. Some characters come across differently in the audiobook than in print, as the actors’ interpretations can add a new dimension to their personalities.

Overall, while both versions present the same captivating story, the audiobook adaptation offers a different way to experience the novel, making it a worthwhile comparison for fans of Three Junes.

Audience Reception and Reviews

Since its release, “Three Junes” by Julia Glass has received widespread praise from audiences and critics alike. Many listeners have expressed their admiration for the audiobook’s captivating storytelling and engaging narration, making it clear that “Three Junes” is a must-listen for fans of contemporary fiction.

One reviewer on Goodreads praised the book, saying, “This is simply a beautiful book – amazingly well written with fascinating, complex characters and a really insightful take on life, love, and family.” Another listener on Audible noted the “incredible narration” that brought the characters to life.

The audiobook has also received recognition from the literary community, having won the National Book Award in 2002. This award is a testament to the quality of Glass’s writing and the depth of emotion that she imbues into her characters.

Overall, the audience reception to “Three Junes” has been overwhelmingly positive, with many listeners recommending it to their family and friends. If you’re looking for a gripping and emotionally resonant audiobook, “Three Junes” is not to be missed.


Overall, “Three Junes” by Julia Glass is a beautifully written book that explores complex themes of love, loss, and family dynamics. The audiobook version is equally captivating, with excellent narration from the voice actors.

Glass’s prose and use of imagery evoke a strong emotional response, and the character development is both intricate and well-executed. The pacing and plot structure keep the story compelling throughout, making it easy for listeners to become fully immersed in the world of the characters.

Compared to the print version, the audiobook version offers a unique listening experience that enhances the overall story, making it a great option for those who prefer audiobooks.

Overall, we highly recommend “Three Junes” to anyone looking for a thought-provoking and emotionally engaging read. It is a must-read for fans of literary fiction and those who appreciate a well-crafted story. Our final verdict is that “Three Junes” is a standout audiobook that is well worth the listen.

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