The Big U

  • by Neal Stephenson
  • Narrated by Fred Berman
  • 11 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The New York Times Book Review called Neal Stephenson's most recent novel "electrifying" and "hilarious". But if you want to know what Stephenson was doing 20 years before he wrote the epic Cryptonomicon, it's back-to-school time. Back to The Big U, that is, an hilarious send-up of American college life, starring 30-year-old junior Casimir Radon. Now reissued after years out of print, The Big U is required listening for anyone interested in the early work of this singular writer.

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What the Critics Say

"An entertaining and sometimes murderous satire on campus life." (New York Times Book Review)
"Satire is Stephenson's major." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting, very strange

I think I am going to have to read it again. The story is one of escalating insanity and fantasy. I love his other books but I am not sure about this book.
he sets up the world to be a place of vivid reallity,that exaggerated uni life. Well written and well preformed, but I'm not sure
It may resonate better with people that went to Uni in the states.
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- david

Fred Berman Deserves Death

What made the experience of listening to The Big U the most enjoyable?

The story I guess; the performance is horrible and aggravating.


What did you like best about this story?

There's too much to list; like all Stephenson's work, the writing ranges from the silly to the sublime. Many people think this is a very 'juvenile' work, and certainly I can appreciate that Stephenson's style has matured, but it's also just fun-as-hell to read, which I can't say for some of his other work (system of the world).


What didn’t you like about Fred Berman’s performance?

I love this book. I've loved it since it came out, and I've looked for an audiobook at least every year since then. Imagine my delight then, when I learned it was available.

And imagine my frustration when one of the main characters, Ephraim, has his (biblical) name slaughtered by the reader every time (he pronounces it e-FRY-eem). Fred Berman also says "flat lux" when faced with "fiat lux" - a reasonable mistake, you might say, but it's shockingly unprofessional to my ears. You're being _paid_ to read aloud; you might want to pay a little attention to context, and ask someone when you're not sure know how to pronounce something.


Who was the most memorable character of The Big U and why?

One of the joys of this book is that it's full of memorable and fun-to-read characters. I guess I'd pick Fred Fine.


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- Michael Warnock

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-08-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios