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Publisher's Summary

An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family.

Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, is an intimate portrayal of the complexities and joys of (queer) family making.

Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson's insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry of this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.

©2015 Maggie Nelson (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
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  • Story

A relaxing meditation on identity, gender and art

A friend close to the author told me numerous times to read this book. Because I was in school, because I had no time to read, because I was busy raising hell, I put it off. After getting a punishing job that has left me no time for reading I decided to take his advice and buy the audiobook for my long LA commutes. I finally understood the parallels he saw and the radical voice of Maggie I feel is a commonality. I should have read the book but I would have missed out on the author's soothing voice. I would have missed the slight intonation she gave to certain subjects or the correct pronunciation of the names of theorists I had never known how to properly pronounce. This is a beautiful, meditative and at times painfully personal story. What a gift that Harry and Maggie allowed the world in. The ideas, the stories and her voice will stay with me for a very long time. Well done.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful writing

While Maggie Nelson was not my favorite narrator, the writing was captivating. The author offers such a mesmerizing take on all aspects of love and being human. I learned so much from such a short book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Didn't really care for this book

Had some interesting ideas but she quoted/paraphrased something too much, it felt like she was trying to make it longer. Made it feel really unoriginal

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Intelligent Stream of Thought on Gender &Sexuality

Would you consider the audio edition of The Argonauts to be better than the print version?

If I could go back, I would definitely rather read the print version than listen to the audiobook. Maggie Nelson has a very eloquent and intelligent way of speaking/writing, and so I feel I would've better understood her story and what she was trying to say if I were able to visually re-read and analyze certain passages. She used a handful of words that I was not familiar with when listening to this while driving for lengthy periods of time, and so I was unable to look up the definitions of those particular words in the moment. Another issue with listening to this book instead of reading it is that Nelson uses a lot of quotations from other writers, theorists, and philosophers and this sometimes makes the performance a little choppy because of the author having to verbally say "quote... unquote" around every quotation.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the mixture of styles. Nelson masterfully intertwined memoir story telling with intellectual/academic discussions of gender, sexuality, and relationship. This is definitely not your average story or novel, it is very unique and so it really stands above and beyond any other book for me.

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

I have not, but I think her narration of this novel was fantastic. I imagine some may think she had a lack of animation to her voice, but I loved her straight forward way of reading. For me it made the humour of certain passages really stand out, as well as letting the words speak for themselves.

If you could give The Argonauts a new subtitle, what would it be?

The Argonauts: Falling forever, falling to pieces

Any additional comments?

Although I loved this book, I do wish it would have been divided into a couple more chapters. I also wish the audiobook would have verbally indicated when chapters were beginning

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Lovely.

Crass in a way that is so honest and well-written that it is not offensive.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Mixed Feelings. Strange Book

I found this book frustratingly elusive and lacking linear organization, although there were some interesting points in her stream of thought and ongoing reflections. The narration was mixed as well. Nelson has a beautiful, clear voice, but her reading is methodical and distant. I would not particularly recommend this book because it's too obtuse, even for my quirky taste.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Delightful and Thoughful

This is my first Maggie Nelson book, and it definitely won't be the last. It is insightful and poetic, and makes you think about aspects of everyday life we rarely stop to think about.
I am so glad she got to perform it herself, it wouldn't have been the same read by someone else.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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This book speaks to me and for me

A treasure- scholarship woven thru the most intimate and exquisitely written details of lives lived deeply, honestly. Love and curiosity guide the trajectory of each inquiry. This book is a rich expression of liberation.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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So intense

This is the most important book I read since Between the World and Me.
Intense and electrifying and amazing! I'll definitely be re reading this many many times

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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I cried, and I don't do that often.

Wow. What a beautiful, tough, humane book. Wish there were more stars for me to offer it. Not a good one to share with young children, and not an easy thing to listen to if you've already lost your own mother. But wow. I can't recommend this enough. Thank you Maggie.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful