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Sabbath's Theater | [Philip Roth]

Sabbath's Theater

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.
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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

3.5 (117 )
5 star
 (37)
4 star
 (30)
3 star
 (22)
2 star
 (11)
1 star
 (17)
Overall
3.8 (36 )
5 star
 (14)
4 star
 (11)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.2 (37 )
5 star
 (12)
4 star
 (21)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    Joshua Lexington, VA, USA 08-23-07
    Joshua Lexington, VA, USA 08-23-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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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.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brett Salt Lake City, UT, USA 12-19-03
    Brett Salt Lake City, UT, USA 12-19-03 Member Since 2003
    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 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    arkady United States 03-30-14
    arkady United States 03-30-14 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    1
    Overall
    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
  •  
    WV Senior Skier WV Eastern Panhandle 04-15-04
    WV Senior Skier WV Eastern Panhandle 04-15-04 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    5
    4
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    "A Truly Disgusting Book"

    This book was disgusting from start to finish. Main character has little to no redeeming qualities what-so-ever. From wallowing in self pity to wallowing in filthy habits this book is a waste of time. I had read some Roth before but based on this book and the very bad taste it left in the ear will never read or download one of his ever again.

    12 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Isam New York, NY, United States 05-29-13
    Isam New York, NY, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2003
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
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    Performance
    Story
    "Not for the faint of heart but extraordinary."

    The Audio quality isn't that great because it was probably recorded a while ago.
    The reading performance (great) and the book itself (a masterpiece) make the half-hour or so it takes to adapt to the audio well worth it.

    Like I said in the headline, this is not for the faint of heart because there's a lot of graphic sex (if graphic can be said of an audiobook, which, in my opinion, it indeed can) and it is quite morbid, cynical, immoral, immoderate, etc.... But this is a Philip Roth novel so what do you expect? And it probably is his magnum opus, a heartwrenching, tender and deeply touching ode to life that will manage to make you laugh at places where you'll think it should make you cringe.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Becky Walters TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, US 05-01-12
    Becky Walters TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, US 05-01-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
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    "shocking and disgusting"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Could not finish the book. Way to graphic for me.


    What does David Dukes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    David Duke is a great reader; as much as I was able to listen to anyway.


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe audible could warn you when a book is THIS sexually graphic.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    greg sarasota, FL, United States 02-03-12
    greg sarasota, FL, United States 02-03-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Wilson 02-03-12
    Greg Wilson 02-03-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
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    218
    41
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    0
    7
    Overall
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    Story
    "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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarrie Bolingbrook, IL, United States 02-23-11
    Sarrie Bolingbrook, IL, United States 02-23-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    27
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    1
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    Overall
    "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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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