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 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.
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.
I wish I had read the other reviews before purchasing. Who would guess that Diane Keaton would be such a horrible narrator? Between her wooden amateurish performance and her mispronunciation I had to quit listening, even though the stories are well written.
There were some nice moments and good writing, especially in Part II "Personals," but I found most of these essays to lack structure and emotional depth. Throughout, I was restless and bored. I suspect she's grown a lot as a writer since these early days. I look forward to reading her more recent work.
I'm mystified by the negative comments on Diane Keaton's narration. I thought her pitch, clear speaking, and voice to be quote wonderful for the material. The writing is excellent, although some of the pieces were not especially compelling. One thing that really stood out for me was the timelessness of these collected non-fiction stories.
The first person telling
Diane Keaton could have put an effort into giving the characters some life. Most of the book she read like she was just trying to get to the end. She would be good at reading children to sleep.
The sixties...as I lived it
what can I say. I was as surprised as anyone. There's an underlying childish drawl and she mispronounces words (turns out Joan Didion uses "desultory" quite a bit).
I LOVE Diane Keaton, but a reader of prose she is not. Like, for realsies. I'm also fond of Joan Didion, but I wish I had read this 40 years ago. The thing I enjoyed the most about this book is her love of California and Los Angeles. If you're a Californian, you too may enjoy that-- but maybe buy a hard copy, unless you like trying to ferret out where the verb is in each sentence.
This is one of the worst Audible recordings I have heard. I could not abide the mispronunciation throughout of common words and the semi-quixotic, sing-song reading that sounded as though Keaton were reading everything for the first time and didn't know how the sentences should end. It was really trying to catch any coherence and I wish I'd just read the book myself.
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