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Sabbath's Theater Audiobook

Sabbath's Theater

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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Fiction, 1995

Once a scandalously inventive puppeteer, Mickey Sabbath at 64 is an aging, raging powerhouse, defiantly antagonistic and exceedingly libidinous. But after the death of his longtime mistress, Sabbath embarks on a turbulent journey into his past. Haunted by the ghosts of all the people who loved and hated him the most, Sabbath contrives a succession of farcical disasters that take him to the brink of madness and extinction. Acclaimed author Philip Roth is at the very peak of his creative powers in this bold and hilarious novel, a comic creation of epic proportions.

Copyright ©1995 by Philip Roth; Copyright (P)1995 by Dove Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This splendidly wicked book . . . is among the most remarkable novels in recent years. . . . The energy of the book is amazing.... Roth is hilariously serious about life and death." (The New York Review of Books)

"Roth's extraordinary new novel is an astonishment and a scourge, and one of the strangest achievements of fictional prose that I have ever read. . . . It is very exquisite." (New Republic)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (165 )
5 star
 (53)
4 star
 (46)
3 star
 (27)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (22)
Overall
3.7 (80 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (80 )
5 star
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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
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  •  
    Joshua Lexington, VA, USA 08-23-07
    Joshua Lexington, VA, USA 08-23-07 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    "A great book by a great writer"

    Those with fragile sensibilities should look elsewhere, but make no mistake: this is Roth's masterpiece. Exhilarating, challenging, lyrical. Wonderfully performed as well.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. DelPorto Utah 12-19-03
    B. DelPorto Utah 12-19-03 Member Since 2003

    Virtuous Pagan

    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Train Rex"

    Some of Roth's best writing, but almost impossible to get through because of Mickey Sabbath's determination to live life as frivolously and libidinously as humanly possible. In fact,the sheer inventiveness of Sabbath's (and Roth's) debauchery is almost superhuman or perhaps inhuman, as if he were the embodiment of a force of nature, a Pan or a Puck. Oddly, I found the book extremely depressing when reading to myself and hilarious when I read portions out loud to a friend. Overall, I'm glad I read it, but getting inside the head of Mickey Sabbath was an uncomfortable experience.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Wyoming 12-09-14
    George Wyoming 12-09-14

    Mountainbiker, Skier, Riverman, Dzedo

    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
    ratings
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    21
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    "Modern Masterpiece by a Spectacular Writer"

    First, I am a fan of Roth, have read a number of his books and look forward to reading more. Roth was denied the Nobel again in 2014. While reading/listening to this book I felt I better understood why he will likely never win. Nobel's will provides that the prize be given for outstanding work in "an ideal direction". Brilliant as Roth is, there is nothing "ideal" about his work in general or about Sabbath's Theatre in particular. Roth is anti ideal. The antithesis of idealism. He will not uplift your spirit or get you to feel better about what it is to be human. His gaze is unflinchingly honest and his eloquence unsurpassed. Sabbath's Theatre is a high water mark of a great writer in full flight. It is dark. It is challenging. It is graphically sexual (many will find it pornographic). It is depressing. It is also laugh out loud, set the book down, hilarious. It is quite a strong stew. What is Sabbath's Theatre about? It is about loss, how integral to life loss is, and the spiritual consequences of loss. David Dukes narration is pitch perfect.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake Anthony Cummings 05-15-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    72
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    Story
    "Great story, terrible audio quality"

    Really bad audio quality with this one. Great story though hard to get through. Yep

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Mitchell 06-28-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Wow! Adds to my list of Phillip Roth attributes."

    A marvelous story, Mickey Sabbath being one of Phillip Roth's most provocative protagonists thus far (Book No. 6 in my quest to read all of PR's novels over twenty-four months). This was a great listen, David Dukes having done a brilliant narration. Now I have to buy the book and READ IT. I particularly admired the way Roth wields sexuality the way other good writers wield their chosen violence, greed, mayhem or absurdity, to render them all one in the same as part of the human condition. The characters are all quite real and believable, however they stray from the mainstream. The story is fully engaging and the ending a real treat. Not sure I'd trust Mickey Sabbath as a friend, but I'm sure I'd enjoy meeting and talking with him. An imaginative excursion into the bowels of being unabashedly human.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leif H. Jenssen 03-29-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    28
    3
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    "Warts well to say the least"

    Quite a sensational expert reading! Really opened up this book and writer to me . Audible it's very good judgment in the selection of this reader. 5 Stars!.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin 01-22-15
    Kevin 01-22-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
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    Story
    "Roth's filthy masterpiece"

    Mickey Sabbath is a lecherous, shameless old man with a near religious reverence for transgression.

    Be warned that the sound quality initially sounds a bit lo-fi (presumably it was first recorded in analogue before being transferred to digital content). However, far from being a detriment, it enhances the performance by adding a later of grittiness that complements the content of the novel well.

    What really makes the audiobook work is David Duke's subtle, patient narration. His range of accents (Balkan, German, Spanish, various US regional accents) is accurate and consistent. Indeed, considering that some characters appear only sporadically, it is astonishing how convincingly he renders the same accent from one chapter to the next. Moreover, he reads all of the lurid details without rushing or embarrassment, leaving all the awkwardness up to the reader.

    So accomplished is his reading that I, at least, had to turn off the book when listening on a bus or subway because of the excruciating vividness of the lechery.

    Whether or not you are a fan of this novel or Roth in general, the narration is top notch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    arkady United States 03-30-14
    arkady United States 03-30-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "My favorite Roth made me feel puzzled..."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Sabbath's Theater to be better than the print version?

    I think no doubt about it- I will not be able to endure hard work of reading this in particular...


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Sabbath's Theater?

    There were quite a constellation but cemetery scene was the masterpiece.


    Have you listened to any of David Dukes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not yet.


    Who was the most memorable character of Sabbath's Theater and why?

    I guess author- his fascination with sex in human life sound too pathological from my physician standpoint.


    Any additional comments?

    I still admire Phillip Roth talent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Wilson 02-03-12
    Greg Wilson 02-03-12 Member Since 2015

    Architectural Photographer based in Florida

    HELPFUL VOTES
    57
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    "Not Roth's finest work"

    Philip Roth is one of my favorite writers but I guess you can't win them all.

    I found Sabbath to be a boorish, unredemtive and ultimately an uninteresting character. I think that perhaps Philip was in a sexual slump in his life and took out his frustrations on poor Mickey. Perhaps Sabbath's mother's suggestions of an early termination should have been given more consideration early on.

    Can't recommend this one.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarrie Bolingbrook, IL, United States 02-23-11
    Sarrie Bolingbrook, IL, United States 02-23-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    35
    27
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    "Weird, gross, disturbing, not too bad!"

    What a strange, twisted piece this is. Follow a despicable jerk through his golden years while he re-lives most of his disgusting life in flashbacks. Occasionally funny. Always cringe-worthy. I listened to the whole thing is about my highest praise for it.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Gman
    1/23/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "shame about the quality"

    superb story and really well read but the audio quality was appalling. Maybe it was recorded on wax disks in in 1920s but it could sure.do with digital tinkering.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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