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Ballad of the Whiskey Robber | [Julian Rubinstein]

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber tells the hilarious and improbable true story of Attila Ambrus, the Robin Hood of Eastern Europe. He's the onetime pelt smugger, goaltender (possibly the worst in the history of pro hockey), pen salesman, Zamboni driver, gravedigger, church painter, roulette addict, building superintendent, whiskey drinker, and native of Transylvania who's decided that the best thing to do with his time is to rob as many banks as possible.
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Publisher's Summary

The radio cabaret style performance of this award-winning book features Eric Bogosian, The Daily Show's Demetri Martin, Tommy Ramone, writer/performer Jonathan Ames, bestselling writers Gary Shteyngart, Arthur Phillips, and Darin Strauss and Pulitzer-Prize winner Samantha Power. With music by One Ring Zero.

Winner of Borders "Original Voices" Book of the Year and a New York Times Editors' Choice, Ballad of the Whiskey Robber tells the hilarious and improbable true story of Attila Ambrus, the Robin Hood of Eastern Europe. He's the onetime pelt smugger, goaltender (possibly the worst in the history of pro hockey), pen salesman, Zamboni driver, gravedigger, church painter, roulette addict, building superintendent, whiskey drinker, and native of Transylvania who's decided that the best thing to do with his time is to rob as many banks as possible.

Welcome to Julian Rubinstein's uproariously funny and unforgettable account of crime in the heart of the new Europe. Part Unbearable Lightness of Being, part Pink Panther, and part Slap Shot, Rubinstein's tale is a spectacular literary debut - and a story so outrageous that it could only be true.

©2004 Julian Rubinstein; (P)2006 Time Warner AudioBooks, a division of the AOL Time Warner Book Group

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Achievement in Production, 2007

"Must be heard to be believed." (The Onion)
"Offers that simple pleasure, a great story." (Esquire)
"Outrageously entertaining." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Rubinstein has found a story of the sort that would make even the most dry-mouthed journalist slobber. Sometimes sad, often hilarious and always absurd." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (288 )
5 star
 (121)
4 star
 (96)
3 star
 (42)
2 star
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1 star
 (12)
Overall
4.0 (104 )
5 star
 (47)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (103 )
5 star
 (52)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    S. Hawkins Atlanta 12-05-07
    S. Hawkins Atlanta 12-05-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    4
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    "Fantastic"

    I loved this book. It was excellent on three levels, maybe more:

    1. The bare facts of the story are wild and entertaining. You gotta love Attila.

    2. The writing was superb. Julian Rubenstein has an understated writing style that allows the events and characters to speak for themselves. I'm tempted to track down some of his sports writing just to enjoy the prose.

    3. The reading and production actually enhanced the already great writing. I think it was the author himself who was the main narrator--if so, he might want to consider switching careers. He's a lot more enjoyable to listen to than some voice actors I've heard. The occasional interjections of dialogue by other voices took a bit of getting used to, but I ended up loving that as well.

    Highly recommended.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Nashua, NH USA 09-06-09
    Amazon Customer Nashua, NH USA 09-06-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Funny And Entertaining"

    This book is very funny and on top of that, it's a real story. The reader is also very good. I highly recommend it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wanda 06-11-09
    Wanda 06-11-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    "Buckle your seat belt for this ride!"

    The Whiskey Robber certainly was an interesting character and I can't help but think, had he been focused differently, what he could have accomplished. This book is narrated by the author and as usual this is not the best idea, yet there are enough other voices to enhance the storytelling. Based on a true story about a Hungarian (actually displaced Romanian) robber who becomes a Folk Hero. A truly fascinating man and his tale is entertaining.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Norwood Fresno, CA 05-07-06
    Paul Norwood Fresno, CA 05-07-06 Member Since 2005

    Paul Norwood

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Funny"

    The book reads like a novel but is actually a fact filled story. It chronicles the life of the Whiskey Robber, Attila, who apparently had some notoriety in Hungary during the late 1980's. Attila has his own imperfections, and we are were cheering for him even though we wish he could just get it together in his life. The book is generally amusing. The beginning of the book is a little slow but the book ends very well and is worth the wait. The reader could have more spring in his voice, but the many other voices that are used are excellent. Good for a light read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James W Dietz Seattle, Washington United States 10-12-06
    James W Dietz Seattle, Washington United States 10-12-06 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
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    12
    6
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    "An Engaging Story"

    This book was a blast to listen to. The reader was fantastic, and it was more like theater, complete with occasional music and sound effects, than a straight reading. The introduction gave a good quick synopsis of the history of Hungary, but it was the combination of dry and almost slapstick humor that made this book sing for me. I gave my son, who is living in Europe, the actual book, and he said he was reading it on a train when a group of Hungarians recognized the title and all started talking to him about this guy (with great enthusiasm). By the end of the book, the plight of the Whiskey Robber is clearly very sad and discouraging, but it was one of the most engaging stories I've listened to.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MidwestGeek Ann Arbor, MI, United States 12-12-11
    MidwestGeek Ann Arbor, MI, United States 12-12-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    85
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    Story
    "Unbelievable story; excellent performance"

    This story illustrates that, sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction. Written in a manner that is both sympathetic and critical. I can't imagine how lucky Attila Ambrus has been, even to be alive. He is obviously far more intelligent than his lifestyle belies. I hope that when he gets out of prison, he will find a constructive outlet and lay off booze. Listening to this performance was undoubtedly better than reading the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander Sarasota, FL, United States 09-19-11
    Alexander Sarasota, FL, United States 09-19-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    54
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    "I almost turned this off"

    Hearing the weird music at the beginning of this book, I thought I'd made a bad choice. But with nothing else to listen to, I kept listening. Within minutes I was captivated by the narrator and the writing. Funny, sad, exciting, inevitable. You'll feel like an expert on Budapest banks after this book. Loved it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Attila Burleigh Heads, QLD, Australia 07-16-10
    Attila Burleigh Heads, QLD, Australia 07-16-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "great narration with flaws"

    I'm about halfway through the book and I love the way it's narrated with different actors and short segments of music in between.

    However, while the acting and narration is good, the fake hungarian accents are distracting (and sound more russian than hungarian).
    Most importantly, all the hungarian words in the book (there are many!!!) are pronounced wrong. It would have been nice to have a narrator who either learns how to pronounce the words he's reading or someone who already knows how to pronounce them.

    Overall, I still highly recommend this audiobook!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Livingston , MT, USA 11-24-09
    Anna Livingston , MT, USA 11-24-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Wonderfully offbeat satire!"

    This book is fun, quirky, intelligent, and touching. The narration adds surprise, authenticity, and silliness. The book might not be for everyone, but will be a favorite for those who like satire and oddball characters.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa Tomball, TX, United States 09-02-08
    Teresa Tomball, TX, United States 09-02-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    10
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    "liked it"

    This was a thoroughly enjoyable "lite" read. I liked that different people spoke their parts. Quiky and fun book! It made me want to visit Hungary, and Romania...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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