Mercy of a Rude Stream

  • by Henry Roth
  • Narrated by Christopher Kipiniak
  • 60 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This "landmark of the American literary century" (Boston Globe) is finally published as one volume, appearing with a brilliant new introduction. Sixty years after the publication of his great modernist masterpiece, Call It Sleep, Henry Roth, a retired waterfowl farmer already in his late eighties, shocked the literary world with the announcement that he had written a second novel. It was called, he reported, Mercy of a Rude Stream, the title inspired by Shakespeare, and it followed the travails of one Ira Stigman, whose family had just moved to New York's Jewish Harlem in that "ominous summer of 1914". "It is like hearing that... J. D. Salinger is preparing a sequel to The Catcher in the Rye," the New York Times Book Review pronounced, while Vanity Fair extolled Roth's new work as "the literary comeback of the century." Even more astonishing was that Roth had not just written a second novel but a total of four chronologically linked works, all part of Mercy of a Rude Stream.
As the story unfolds, we follow the turbulent odyssey of Ira, along with his extended Jewish family, friends, and lovers, from the outbreak of World War I through his fateful decision to move into the Greenwich Village apartment of his muse and older lover, the seductive but ultimately tragic NYU professor Edith Welles. Set in both the fractured world of Jewish Harlem and the bohemian maelstrom of the Village, Mercy of a Rude Stream echoes Nabokov in its portrayal of sexual deviance, and offers a harrowing and relentless family drama amid a grand panorama of New York City in the 1910s and Roaring 20s.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Get over yourself!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who like self-involved whiners.

What was most disappointing about Henry Roth’s story?

This book truly put me off listening for so long that I've accrued 7 credits! The main character in this book would have been a huge waste of space on earth. I couldn't even finish it so I do hope that it had something redeemable in the end.

What about Christopher Kipiniak’s performance did you like?

He made me hate the character.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?


Any additional comments?

I really hope I am just stupid and didn't get the point of this book. If someone says it is great, or even good, then he isn't telling the emperor that he is buck-naked.

Read full review

- Suzanne

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-20-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios