The Castle in the Forest

  • by Norman Mailer
  • Narrated by Harris Yulin
  • 16 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

No career in modern American letters is at once so brilliant, varied, and controversial as that of Norman Mailer. In a span of more than six decades, Mailer has delved into subjects ranging from World War II to Ancient Egypt, from the march on the Pentagon to Marilyn Monroe, from Henry Miller and Mohammad Ali to Jesus Christ. Now, in The Castle in the Forest, his first major work of fiction in more than a decade, Mailer offers what may be his consummate literary endeavor: he has set out to explore the evil of Adolf Hitler. The narrator, a mysterious SS man who is later revealed to be an exceptional presence, follows the young Adolf from birth through his adolescence. En route, revealing portraits are offered of Hitler's father and mother, sisters, and brothers.
A tapestry of unforgettable characters, The Castle in the Forest delivers its myriad twists and surprises with astonishing insight into the nature of the struggle between good and evil that exists in us all. At its core is a hypothesis that is employed with stunning originality. Norman Mailer may well be saying more than he ever has before.

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What the Critics Say

"Mailer arrives at a somber, compelling portrait of a monstrous soul." (Publishers Weekly)
"This remarkable novel about the young Adolf Hitler, his family and their shifting circumstances, is Mailer's most perfect apprehension of the absolutely alien. No wonder it is narrated by a devil. Mailer doesn't inhabit these historical figures so much as possess them." (The New York Times Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Compelling

I have always loved Norman Mailer from his first novel, The Naked and the Dead, up to and including his recent effort, The Castle in the Forest.

This forensic psychological portrait of Hitler is both deeply disturbing and highly compelling, and I find myself looking forward to a quiet moment of the day when I can sit back enjoy some time with Mailer's extraodinary prose.

I'm a big fan of the printed word and I never thought I would choose an audio book of Mailer's work to listen to. Some of his phrases are so delicious, I like to re-read and savor them again and again. Perhaps I will buy a copy of the book to keep, too, but the narrator's voice on this is so wonderful I almost forget where I am. It is deep and resonant with diabolical mockery: Just listen to his charcterization of Himmler if you want a few goosebumps with your prose.

All and all a wonderful audiobook on all accounts. Mailer is at the peak of his powers as a novelist and the choice of narrator is perfect. You absolutely must get this!
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- Peter Mangiaracina

Worthy of Mailer

I was at first unimpressed and felt that the device of devils and angels was a bit clunky, but Mailer won me over. I find it, as I near the end, to be a very powerful work. The prose, at first, seem weak by Mailer's normal standards--the tone has hints of a mid-twentieth century English translation of Thomas Mann. I realized a quarter of the way through that this was certainly a choice. And a good one. The cumulative effects of the prose were stunning. As is the portrait of humanity that emerges. And the portrait of Hitler! To see and begin to comprehend the forces that molded so awful, so powerful an individual is a bit of insight that I truly appreciate. My big fear--since this clearly a first volume to a much larger work--is that Mailer will not be able to finish it, and leave us with another unfinished half masterpiece, which of course should be renamed "Hitler's Ghost."

The reader is top notch, and has a tone akin to Mailer?s, making it very pleasing to listen to.
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- Chris

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-05-2007
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio