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Publisher's Summary

Novelist Clifford Irving's "autobiography" of Howard Hughes was the literary hoax of our time. This no-holds-barred confession by the author was first published in Great Britain in 1997, where it became a best seller. But no American publisher would touch it until now. Why? The answer is implicit in this ultimate caper story of daring, treachery, and corruption.

As fast-paced and exciting as any spy novel, The Hoax involves the listener at every devilish turn. Irving describes how the hoax developed, like a Chinese puzzle, from its madcap beginning to the final startling confession, a witty and nail-biting story of international intrigue and beautiful women, of powerful corporate executives and jet-set rogues, of cover-ups and headlines.

©1972 Clifford Irving; (P)2006 Blackstone Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Eddie
  • Topanga, CA, United States
  • 05-05-07

Fantastic

I saw the movie first and was glad I did. The book is sooo much better. It really takes us into the life of Clifford and Dick. How these two guys lived with this incredible hoax is almost inconcievable. But, since the author is a born liar... how can we believe his recant of an admitted lie. Who cares, this was wonderfully written and I couldn't stop listening... I loved it.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • fred
  • greensboro nc
  • 06-01-09

What a louse, what a story

The reader did a great job of creating many different characters. Mr. Irving is the epitome of an old style writer...drinks, smokes, chases skirts and tries to cheat some of the biggest corporate titans in publishing. Forget about the movie, read/listen to the book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Terence
  • Dahlonega, GA, United States
  • 02-21-11

Interesting, but Exhausting

There's no denying the hoax itself is incredibly entertaining, however the book is literally twice as long as it needs to be. Though very well written, the author (Clifford Irving) is so incredibly opportunistic, corrupt, and narcissistic, that he is often hard to bear. Though this whole book is purportedly about "coming clean" about an undeniable crime (Irving literally stole almost $1 million from his publisher) he would really rather blabber on in coma-inducing detail about how glamorous his life is, and what a ladies man he is - or was. Hey Cliff - we all want to know about Hughes and the fraud you perpetrated: not you!

Also, as another reviewer mentioned, the narration is usually strong, but laughably bad - and incredibly annoying - when attempting accents. A supposedly middle-aged Asian-American woman in New York is made to sound like some teenaged valley girl, Hughes himself is made out to be some hillbilly, etc. What was the guy thinking? Just like the book itself, the material is strong - so why resort to slapstick caricature voices?

Despite all the criticism, I still think this fascinating ruse is worth your time - if you have a lot of it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good not great

An interesting story but too long and with too many details. You get lost in the minutiae. The reader was very good and does many voices well.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

a preposterously compelling story

great narration. the story kept me n the edge of my seat; the audacity of the hoax was highly entertaining.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Big disapointment

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I can't imagine anyone really enjoying this book

What was most disappointing about Clifford Irving’s story?

Very boring. How can a book about such an interesting subject be so poorly written?

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Joe Barrett?

Someone who can tell a story without trying to do all the voices. His female voices, with their accents, were so bad they were hard to listen to.

What character would you cut from The Hoax?

Edith and Nina.

Any additional comments?

Poorly written and poorly narrated. I made it about three hours in and couldn't take any more. One of the worst performances I've heard in quite awhile. This could have been ok if Irving stuck to the story of the Hughes hoax and left out all the filler about his wife and girlfriend.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Good, Yet Disappointing Book

I really enjoyed the movie that is based on this book but I couldn't bring myself to truly enjoy the book. Throughout the whole thing you are thinking "This man is just an extremely amoral con-man." The fact that the events in the book actually took place just makes it worse.

I purchased this book and read it mainly because of an interest in Howard Hughes and the infamy surrounding the events mentioned in the book and I honestly thought I would enjoy it. But the book reads like a textbook on how to fool trusting, yet naively greedy, people into giving you massive amounts of money.

I would recommend this book, but I will not promise your going to like it.

  • Overall

I thought the beginning insufferable

And it didn't get much better. Irving talks about his personal life for half the book. It is not interesting. There are a lot of characters which was a challenge for the narrator, but some of the accents are just grating and absurd. The woman who is the executive at Mc Graw hill sounds like the wildly gay wedding planner in the new version of "father of the bride".

However, that being said, it is just an amazing story that he was able to pull the wool over so many people's eyes.