The Dean's December

  • by Saul Bellow
  • Narrated by Sean Runnette
  • 13 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Albert Corde is a professor of journalism and dean of students at a Chicago university. He and his wife, Minna, travel to Bucharest, Romania, where Minna's mother has suffered a stroke and is lying semiconscious in the local state hospital. As Corde tries to adapt to life in his mother-in-law's small apartment and cope with her relations and friends, news filters through to him of problems he left behind in Chicago: one of his students has been murdered, and a series of articles he is writing offends powerful and influential Chicagoans he had thought of as friends. Gradually it becomes clear that Corde's trip abroad is more than a brief interlude in a calm and orderly life, and that nothing will ever be the same again. Witty and erudite, The Dean's December will be a delight to fans of Saul Bellow.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Another novel ruined by a poor narration.

What did you like best about The Dean's December? What did you like least?

The writing style of Saul Bellow is excellent. The story moved sloooowly. But the worst part was the narration style of S. Runnette. The guy either is trying to hide a speech impediment or learned a narration style where you reduce volume on the last syllable of words - like trying to avoid "popping your P's". But Runnette does it on just about every word.So you often don't hear the last syllable of the word he's saying. It's really annoying. I sometimes had to go back 30 secs in the recording to understand what he was saying.


Would you be willing to try another book from Saul Bellow? Why or why not?

Yes - I like his style


How did the narrator detract from the book?

But the worst part was the narration style of S. Runnette. The guy either has a speech impediment or learned a narration style where you reduce volume on the last syllable of words - like trying to avoid "popping your P's". But Runnette does it on just about every word.So you often don't hear the last syllable of the word he's saying. It's really annoying. I sometimes had to go back 30 secs in the recording to understand what he was saying.


Was The Dean's December worth the listening time?

not really


Any additional comments?

Several Saul Bellow books have wound up in my "Recommended List" based on my other selections - so I'll give another book a try.

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- BarelyAudible

Don't Overlook Late Bellow

What did you love best about The Dean's December?

Perfect combination of story and narrator.


What other book might you compare The Dean's December to and why?

The Dean's December is similar to Bellow's More Die of Heartbreak and Ravelstein -- late bellow seems overlooked compared to his "big" novels. If you like Richard Ford and Walker Percy, you'll like the Dean's December.


What about Sean Runnette’s performance did you like?

The narrator captured Bellow's meditative style; the book is read nice and slow and Mr Runnette has a rich deep voice. Bellow can pack more thoughts, ideas, and descriptions in one page than just about any writer. No wonder Bellow's new book is titled "There Is Simply Too Much To Think About."


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would have loved too if I could!


Any additional comments?

Great listen; don't miss it.

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- Joe

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-17-2015
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.