Audie Award Nominee, Short Stories/Collections, 2013
Universally acclaimed from the time it was first published in 1968, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has been admired for decades as a stylistic masterpiece. Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton (Annie Hall, The Family Stone) performs these classic essays, including the title piece, which will transport the listener back to a unique time and place: the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco during the neighborhood’s heyday as a countercultural center.
This is Joan Didion’s first work of nonfiction, offering an incisive look at the mood of 1960s America and providing an essential portrait of the Californian counterculture. She explores the influences of John Wayne and Howard Hughes, and offers ruminations on the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room. Taking its title from W.B. Yeats’ poem "The Second Coming", the essays in Slouching Towards Bethlehem all reflect, in one way or another, that "the center cannot hold."
Slouching Towards Bethlehem is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star had a hand in selecting. For more great books performed by Hollywood’s finest, click here.
©1968 Joan Didion (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
"Diane Keaton does an outstanding job of conveying an era and a place. Her narration is clear, well timed, and wonderfully consistent with the author's voice. Her ability to convey Didion's musings and gentle skepticism add much. Didion's style remains extraordinary." (AudioFile)
i've always found 'personal journalism' something of a contradiction...hunter thompson, joan didion, tom wolfe, etc., and often can't find the bright line between it and fiction... that being said, a few of the 'stories' in this collection are golden reflections of our time, but most are simply the personal insights into how this writer receives the world...ms keaton's reading is entirely sympathetic and a pleasure to listen to...what puzzles me is whether she's ever met a foreign word (non-English) that has been adopted by our vernacular that she can pronounce with something that resembles its source language.
Having grown up in California in the 50's and 60's this was a wonderful walk down memory lane. Joan style and content was totally engaging and true to the time. Highly recommend!
I haven't heard any other audio books narrated by Diane Keaton, but I must say, I would listen again and again, just because she did a wonderful job. Her speach was clear and, unlike some narrators, she wasn't overly dramatic. Her tone is clear and easy to listen to.
I love Joan Didion and I loved this collection of essays when I first read it many years ago but Diane Keaton's reading of it just seemed a little flat. I wish Ms. Didion had read it aloud herself.
I really like Diane Keaton as an actress, and I think that made my disappointment in this audiobook more difficult to swallow. I really wanted to enjoy it, but it just never pulled me in. I have a long commute; however, when I have a good book to listen to, I look forward to the drive. I never looked forward to my ride and finally gave up on the book.
Diane Keaton's intonation is exhausting at best. Her pauses are poorly placed and she doesn't seem to respect sentence structure. The book and Joan Didion are perfect and timeless.
The nostalgia is lost on someone who was born after the time period of the story. I can imagine someone enjoying the stream of consciousness writing style if you relate to the images or feelings the author describes, but otherwise, it feels a bit scattered and lacks a real take-away.
How could I go wrong, I thought. But the sad truth is I stopped listening because Diane Keaton's performance was so flat and uninspired.
I only got a few chapters in before I decided to return this and read the book in print. It was almost impossible for me to pay attention to the actual content of the book because the way Diane Keaton reads it is... odd. Other reviewers have mentioned that it sounds like this was a cold read. I tend to agree. Keaton has a great voice and could do a remarkable job with this book, but as it is recorded here, every other sentence sounds as if she is searching for a forgotten word, and then quickly remembers it. That may not be the case for the whole book, but the two hours I listened to felt like Keaton asking hundreds of questions, stopping for a beat to think and then immediately blurting out the response.
I heard the authors name mentioned in reference to the beautiful clarity of her prose and found myself absorbed in a melencholly journey through the lives of people now long gone, and of places on their heyday. l enjoyed every word. The reading is superb, delivered as if some longings are a shared memory with the author.
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