This classic 1955 thriller of the triumph of the human spirit over an invisible enemy inspired the acclaimed 1956 film, directed by Don Siegel and named one of Time magazine's 100 Best Films. Blackstone's edition is read by Don Siegel's son, actor-director Kristoffer Tabori, an Emmy and Audie Award winner, and concludes with the narrator's insider reminiscences of his father's work on the film.
©1955, 1983 Jack Finney; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
I knew the story from the movie adaptation from 1978. Young as I was, it was a story that scared me. Now, almost 30 years later, I listened to this audible version of the book narrated by Kristoffer Tabori. The way the narrator tells this story is so good. It really gives character to the story and the characters. Sometimes my hair stood on end. 5 stars for me!
I was a 'readaholic' for most of my life. I started crochet and other hobbies. That took away from my reading time. I discovered audio books at the library. That set me off. now, that I am older my eyes make it too difficult to read. So I now am a very diligent audio book listener!
I saw the movie way back when. I had no idea it was based on a book. I was too young to bother with this fact. I saw this and got it in part because I remember how that movie scared my younger self. I was not disappointed. It is very well done. Kristoffer Tabori does a great job reading it. By his voice, I could picture myself running huffing and puffing through the woods in an attempt to get away. The frustration as our main characters try to get away is riveting. So nice to have a STORY surrounding a little sex instead of having SEX surrounding a little story. I really enjoyed this book glad to have discovered it.
I've always loved this story, and the narrator does a fabulous job - he's just perfect for it. The interview at the end is interesting too :)
I've always loved the old black-and-white movie and thought it would be fun to read the book. I was not disappointed. A bonus interview at the end of this audio recording proved very interesting, too, as it speaks to both the book and that original movie.
Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
I listened to Jack Finney's "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1955) during several evening hikes in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. The Santa Ana winds were blowing, and it was warm. The lights across the valley shimmered and danced with each gust. Homes, people and safety are never too far in Los Angeles County, but on the dusty fire roads, with only coyotes and other night animals close, the aliens that sailed on cosmic winds to make the clones in Finney's book seem not only very near but very possible.
Some critics/teachers argue that Finney's book is intended to be an allegory for the fear of communism that was the hallmark of Dwight D. Eisenhower's America. Maybe it was, or maybe, just maybe, Finney came up with a good story and let nascent psychiatrists and pop psychologists think what they wanted.
I do have a complaint, and it's not one I have often: I would have liked a longer book. Not on the plot - that's fine - but on the description. Finney analyzes and draws Freudian conclusions in ways that successful modern fictions writers don't today (although non fiction writers, presupposing the reader has some familiarity with a topic do). The result is a book that's too sparse. In print, it's 191 pages; as a listen, it's only 6 1/2 hours.
Finney's spartan language allowed some truly great movie adaptations of the book, which overshadow (over-echo?) the listen for me. I've seen the original 1956 black and white movie, first on late night Channel 13 back when there were only 5 channels on TV; and then the 1978 remake in its original theater run. During this listen, I kept imagining Donald Sutherland as Matthew Bennell - especially at the end. A little Donald Sutherland can resonate for years. I've heard that there was an exceptionally mediocre more recent remake, but I'm not going to torture myself.
The narration was a little uneven, a little mechanical in places.
The title of the review is from a psychological disorder. "People experiencing the Capgras delusion claim that others, usually those quite close emotionally, have been replaced by near-identical impostors." (Ellis H..D. et al, "Reduced autonomic responses to faces in Capgras delusion" Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B (1997) 264, 1085–1092, available at PubMed.)
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I have seen the first two movies but the book as usual was so much better and actually expains whats happening. I have listened to alot of books and I really liked this one. Don't miss it.
Another one of those classic novels that inspired multiple cult-classic films, but have rarely been read by the people who saw the movie(s).
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a classic "B" movie, and this book is a classic "B" novel. I was not blown away by it, but it's a decent page-turner. Also, it gets extra credit for creating many of the tropes that are now old hat in sci-fi.
Set in Mill Valley, California, the protagonist is a psychologist, recently divorced, who sees several patients in succession who report to him a conviction that their husband, sister, or English teacher isn't really who they're supposed to be. The "patients" can't explain how they know - the supposed dopplegangers are exactly like the originals in every respect. They have all the original's mannerisms, they remember things only the real person could know, they have all the correct scars and other distinguishing marks. There is just something missing.
Dr. Bennell, being a pragmatic and compassionate sort, initially assumes his patients are deluded in some fashion. He takes great pains to explain to the first woman to come to him that she's not crazy, and patiently goes over other explanations. Then when more patients start reporting the same thing, he begins to believe it's a case of mass hysteria.
Then he finds a body lying on a shelf, hidden in an unused cupboard. A "blank" body, missing distinguishing features and fingerprints, yet still warm.
Gradually, he and his new sweetheart, an old flame who is thrust together with him by circumstances, realize that something is very wrong in Mill Valley. They enlist others who have also realized the same thing, and skeptics like another psychotherapist.
The aliens are really less interesting than the psychological tension created by the story, first as the reader, like the protagonist, is forced to wonder whether there really is an alien invasion going on or if people are simply losing their minds, and then, as it becomes evident that people really are being replaced by aliens, by the question of who's really an alien and who can be trusted. One by one, they'll get you... or your friends... or your family...
Invasion of the Body Snatchers has later been interpreted as a metaphor for the spread of communism, or the paranoia of McCarthyism, or whatever else people wanted to project onto it. In the afterword for the audio edition, the narrator, who is the son of the producer of the original movie, says that his father never had any such ideas in mind. He was just trying to make a good movie on a very limited budget.
I doubt Jack Finney, the author of the novel, intended any highbrow interpretations either. At its heart, this book is just a straightforward invasion story. As a work of science fiction, it's a bit weak - the premise of alien seeds being carried to Earth by stellar winds is fine, but the book stretched my suspension of disbelief after that, as the biology of the invaders made no kind of sense, nor did the ending. (The ending of the book is significantly different from the movie versions.)
The book is popcorn entertainment, but as a modern classic based on an idea that definitely has a creepy quality all by itself, it's worth reading.
This was a deal of the day and one of the best values I've come across to date. Excellently written, excellently performed, and totally unnoticeable production (that's the best thing you can say about production values).
Get it. Hear it. Love it.
Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.
There is a mini-prologue at the beginning of chapter 1. I made a mental note to relisten to this again after finishing the book. I did, and came darn close to listening to the whole book all over again ... such is the magic of Kristoffer Tabori's narration. I also strongly recommend listening to the epilogue. Tabori is the son of the director who made the first film version of this book. Much is explained during that interview.
Many have surmised that this book was a philosophical exposition on McCarthyism and/or Commies Under Every Bed scares in the 50's. That interested me and I looked for that theme while listening. I couldn't find that connection and thought that was too much of a stretch to explain what some of the characters called mass hysteria. Tabori confirms that his father wasn't focused on our troubled history.
Back to my fascination with the narration, which I believe to be more than fully justified. Tabori's enactment of this book made me feel that an older, wiser man has wandered into my library (or den or family room, you get my point) late on a stormy night; as he sits down in front of my hearth with roaring fire, beverage in hand, he leans forward and rather thoughtfully starts to tell me the story of what happened to him when he was a much younger town doctor in Mill Valley, Ca. He maintains this ambience throughout the book.
The story isn't exactly neat and wrapped up at the end, which may be exactly the right note. It seems that the author's intent is to leave his audience wondering ... could it really have happened ... could it really come again?
If you decide to listen, set aside some time. This one is hard to stop once you get started.
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