Everyman

  • by Philip Roth
  • Narrated by George Guidall
  • 4 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

There is no more decorated American writer living today than Philip Roth, the New York Times best-selling author of American Pastoral, The Human Stain, and The Plot Against America. He has won a Pulitzer Prize, two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, and numerous other distinctions.The hero of Everyman is obsessed with mortality. As he reminds himself at one point, "I'm 34! Worry about oblivion when you're 75." But he cannot help himself. He is the ex-husband in three marriages gone wrong. He is the father of two sons who detest him, despite a daughter who adores him. And as his health worsens, he is the envious brother of a much fitter man. A masterful portrait of one man's inner struggles, Everyman is a brilliant showcase for one of the world's most distinguished novelists.

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What the Critics Say



2007 PEN/Faulkner Award, Fiction

"Roth continues exercising his career-defining, clear-eyed, intelligent vision of how the psychology of families works." (Booklist)
"This is an artful yet surprisingly readable treatise on...well, on being human....Through it all, there's that Rothian voice: pained, angry, arrogant, and deeply, wryly funny." (Publishers Weekly)
"Our most accomplished novelist. . . . [With Everyman] personal tenderness has reached a new intensity." (The New Yorker)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Full Frontal Roth

This is a powerful book. If you are looking for a happy ending, denouement, or epiphany – look elsewhere. Right off the bat this book begins at the end, the funeral of the main, nameless character. So there are no illusions about how the story ends. But that’s really the point, because that is how the story ends for every human. Says the author, ‘old age isn’t a war- it’s a massacre.’
In a short space the back-story is filled in; from the main character’s childhood, his loving, Jewish parents, his doting big brother to his three failed marriages, his career uncertainty, his selfless daughter and estranged sons. Throughout, his medical history is detailed, along with his hypochondriacal dread. All of this is related in perfect Philip Roth unflinching fashion. And if this sounds dry, it is anything but. Roth skillfully lays bare the humanity of each character in only the way this author can.
This book will make the listener look at his or hers own life and mortality and I must say that it impacted me as strongly as any novel in recent history.
As with all Roth’s novels one can’t help but wonder that some of the material is autobiographical. Just how much is or isn’t makes no matter, because it could be universally autobiographical… for every man and woman.
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- JOHN "Audible Member Since 2003"

Abused by the Narrator

I am giving this book a hefty four stars just because the writing level is Philiip Roth delivering his usual consistent quality, his facility with language much in evidence, his brilliance in targeted metaphor, and his characters meticulously drawn and never cliched. And he is one of our national literary treasures, along with Updike, Charles Frazier ("Cold Mountain") and Anne Tyler. There are other writers I've missed, but, contrary to belief in some circles, literature seems to be thriving as our national art form at the moment. Not that we always need a national art form, but I disagree that "the novel is dead".

Roth also gets special points for taking an "everystory" in which nothing unusual happens, a plot that unfolds day in and day out in lives across the country and all over the world, and turning it into a narrative with magnetic appeal and drama in detail. Isn't that what writing is about, really, the small everyday details?

But the story suffers from the narrrator's contribution. I respect Guidall's vast experience as an interpreter of audiobooks but in this case he just doesn't forge that critical bond with Roth. Throwing lines away, muttering like a sixtysomething curmudgeon himself, he removes any possible intimacy with the story and with its characters.

It compares negatively to the sensitive reading of Roth's "The Human Stain" by Arliss Howard, in which his rendering of lyrical phrases gave me chills and was the equivalent of listening to a musical work as significant as Handel's "Messiah" for example.

Instead of portraying a sensitive man dealing with the everyday challenges of a pedestrian life, Guidall gives us an oldish fuddy-duddy, sounding much like the aging, annoying uncle who appears at holiday dinners. Ergo four stars, not five.
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- Pamela Harvey "glam"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-08-2006
  • Publisher: Recorded Books