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In the Darkroom Audiobook

In the Darkroom

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Publisher's Summary

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author of Backlash comes In the Darkroom, an astonishing confrontation with the enigma of her father, and the larger riddle of identity consuming our age.

"In the summer of 2004 I set out to investigate someone I scarcely knew, my father. The project began with a grievance, the grievance of a daughter whose parent had absconded from her life. I was in pursuit of a scofflaw, an artful dodger who had skipped out on so many things - obligation, affection, culpability, contrition. I was preparing an indictment, amassing discovery for a trial. But somewhere along the line, the prosecutor became a witness."

So begins Susan Faludi's extraordinary inquiry into the meaning of identity in the modern world, and in her own haunted family saga. When the feminist writer learned her 76-year-old father - long estranged and living in Hungary - had undergone sex reassignment surgery, that investigation would turn personal and urgent. How was this new parent who identified as "a complete woman now" connected to the silent, explosive, and ultimately violent father she had known?

Faludi chases that mystery into the recesses of her childhood, and her father's many incarnations: American dad, Alpine mountaineer, swashbuckling adventurer in the Amazon outback, Jewish fugitive in Holocaust Budapest. When the author travels to Hungary to reunite with her father, she drops into a labyrinth of dark histories and dangerous politics in a country hell-bent on repressing its past and constructing a fanciful - and virulent - nationhood. The search for identity that has transfixed our century was proving as treacherous for nations as for individuals.

Faludi's struggle to come to grips with her father's metamorphosis self takes her across borders - historical, political, religious, sexual - to bring her face to face with the question of the age: Is identity something you "choose", or a thing you can't escape?

©2016 Susan Faludi (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Narrator Laurel Lefkow shines most brightly when recounting the most difficult moments of Susan Faludi's life.... This immersive story about a father and daughter illuminates so much more." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (152 )
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4.3 (136 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dida 09-06-16
    Dida 09-06-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Intricately insightful study of identity"
    Where does In the Darkroom rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    one of the best


    What did you like best about this story?

    the wry tone, intelligent writing


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

    good voice for both Susan and Stephani --- brought Stephani to life


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Susan Faludi's compassion for her father and steady sense of her own self throughout...


    Any additional comments?

    a masterful psychological analysis in historical contexts ...

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen 01-23-17
    Karen 01-23-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Terrible narration"

    The narrator has so many mispronounced words that I could hardly focus on the story. It was unbearable to listen to. I called Audible for a refund!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Portland, OR 01-04-17
    Amazon Customer Portland, OR 01-04-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Brilliant"

    Intellectually rich, emotionally moving, and wonderfully performed. Equal parts biography and historical narrative, Faludi's exploration of identity is riveting.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mordechai Kamel 03-23-17
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    "Well written & interesting"

    this was a very well written book , which grab your attention and kept it throughout. Unfortunately the reader mispronounced many of the Hungarian and Jewish words and this detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Yates 01-21-17
    S. Yates 01-21-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Worthy of the praise"
    Any additional comments?

    The accolades this memoir/history/identity study has garnered are incredibly well-deserved. Susan Faludi, journalist, has beautifully documented her fraught relationship with her father, and his fraught relationship with identity. The book opens with Faludi heading to Budapest to visit her father who, via email, reveals to her that he has undergone a sex reassignment surgery and has transformed from Steven into Stefanie. What follows is part personal memoir of life with her father and part journalistic investigation. On the one hand, Faludi's writes a lovely if conflicted remembrance of her father, his creativity and knack for editing and airbrushing (he was a well known photographer), his violent outbursts, his controlling nature, and his internal struggles. On the other, her father's transformation leaders her to an investigation into gender identity and into Hungary during WWII (her father came of age as a Jew in that nightmarish time). The book is wonderful and sad, confusing and fascinating. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. C. Edens Georgia, USA 07-24-17
    J. C. Edens Georgia, USA 07-24-17 Member Since 2017
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    "What a book!"

    I read this on the recommendation of a friend, and it is an incredible book. The audio and narration is nice as she does the Hungarian accent, making Faludi's father really come alive. Fascinating journey through WWII in Hungary, and through transgender identity, religious identity, family and nationality, in the 20th and 21st centuries. Really an exceptional tale and explores a lot of issues we all deal with, and very well written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clive Hazell 03-17-17
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    "An astonishing journey of identity"

    I could not stop listening to this audiobook. It was powerful and moving. I was a fan of Susan Faludi before I began this book and it is so different from her other works. It is such a human and powerful journey and she never hides her own shortcomings. I recommend this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine S. Read Fairfax, VA USA 02-26-17
    Catherine S. Read Fairfax, VA USA 02-26-17 Member Since 2010
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    "A Captivating Book about Identity"

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. I thought the narrator did a wonderful job of bringing both the author and her father to life through her nuanced narration.

    As an LGBT activist, I have more than a superficial understanding of the multifaceted aspects of gender identity. And yet . . . Susan Faludi takes the question of identity to a whole new level and shows the many layers and overlapping aspects of how we see ourselves. Gender is only one of those pieces to our sense of self. And she explores how gender can also be conflated with other aspects of identity like Jewishness.

    It was also a fascinating history of Hungary. While that was most unexpected, I enjoyed learning the history of this country through the story of her father's life and his family's history there. It is the most personal of journeys through a country's long and fraught existence and it comes to life through the impact it had on individuals. People with names, faces and histories themselves.

    I was also grateful for the deeper understanding of the Jewish experience in Hungary and the very specific details of how the Holocaust impacted Hungarian Jews. Susan Faludi does a masterful job not only in her deep research, but in her storytelling.

    I can't get this book off my mind. I wish more people would read it so we could talk about it! That is the hallmark of a really great book - one you want to talk about with other people.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cecilia 02-05-17
    Cecilia 02-05-17
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    "Too much dialogue"
    Would you try another book from Susan Faludi and/or Laurel Lefkow?

    This is a memoir that advances by dialogue and I think that there is way too much of it. As a reader, I came by the author's point of view indirectly, as she receded as a character in the narrative with very little exposition of herself and her view of her relationship with her father. Her father has a rather abrasive personality and refuses to discuss his motivations and much of what he says is superficial, repetitive and annoying. The narrator compounds this irritation by giving the father a comically exaggerated Hungarian accent with verbal tics such as constantly repeating Well at the start of speaking as a drawn out "Veeeeeel"
    which put me in mind of Dracula speaking. It seems like he says this at least 100 times. The author, more than once, begs her father to please stop talking, stop yelling. Yes, please stop. Being that the father lived in America for many years and spoke other languages, there was no justification for this very heavy accent.
    Maybe the structure of this memoir was a way of drawing the reader into Ms Faludi's experience of getting to know her father, and also a commentary on the fact that he didn't really know himself. The problem is I didn't think he was interesting enough to give this level of attention to, after all, we all have our own annoying relatives. I was much more interested in the author's ideas about her family in the context of the war and its aftermath. I only wish there was more of Susan Faludi in the book.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Westbrook 01-12-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Beautiful and fascinating story"

    I loved the combination of familial reflection and Hungarian history. My Hungarian Jewish family fled the country and I felt real kinship with the author. The intersection of religious and gender identity and marginalization was really thought-provoking and educational as well. And cannot praise the narrator highly enough! I was sad to finish this one!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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