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Publisher's Summary

Harry Haller is a sad and lonely figure, a reclusive intellectual for whom life holds no joy. He struggles to reconcile the wild, primeval wolf and the rational man within himself without surrendering to the bourgeois values he despises. His life changes dramatically when he meets a woman who is his opposite, the carefree and elusive Hermine.

With its blend of Eastern mysticism and Western culture, Steppenwolf, Hesse' best-known and most autobiographical work, originally published in English in 1929, continues to speak to our souls as a classic of modern literature.

©1927 S. Fischer Verlag A. G., Berlin. Renewal copyright 1955 Hermann Hesse. English translation copyright B 1929 Henry Holt and Company. Renewal copyright 1957 Hermann Hesse. Revised translation copyright 1963 Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. Author's note copyright 1961 Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt Am Main (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks America

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Story

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Steppenwolf

I have read steppenwolf several times over the years, but listen to it as always made me enjoy it in a slightly different way.

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Book excellent, narration notably disappointing

There were a few moments of good narration, but as a whole, this beautifully-written character-rich book was represented flatly and lifelessly. I understand that the main character is in the deep despair of an existential crisis -- I am there myself -- but that doesn't equate to malaise, nor does it justify very nearly interpreting all other characters in precisely the same way. There are several occurrences of awkwardness, as well as oddly too-slow or (more rarely) too-quick readings.

I am certainly not a fan of this narrative performance, and I have little qualm in stopping an otherwise good book for this very reason. But I persisted in this case for two reasons: 1) the text is just that good and I have the imagination to re-interpret the narrative on-the-fly; and, 2) the narrator, though uninterested or incapable of putting humanity and pathos into his narration of this work, does succeed in providing just enough for my attention-span to grip (almost paradoxically). Perhaps again it is the superb writing of Hesse and the book's resonance with a similar struggle in my own life, but I refer you to a few other reviewers who were more than pleased with this narration.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Peter
  • Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 04-05-12

Not meant for audiobook

Any additional comments?

This book is very much a work of philosophy. Many of the sentences are meandering philosphical statements that most accessible when read more than once. The performance is monotone (which I suppose is fitting for the story) and tends to be boring. Buy this as a real book to truly access this classic.

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  • Dian
  • COQUILLE, OR, United States
  • 03-19-12

timeless and contemporary

What made the experience of listening to Steppenwolf the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the setting of the novel and it's raw psychoanalytic theme. As a person who lived through the 1960's and 1970's, I've always been curious about the impact this 1920's novel had on that era. Now I understand what that was all about.

What other book might you compare Steppenwolf to and why?

Steppenwolf is unique but I'd compare it to some of Kafka's works and Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.

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

No. But I enjoyed it very much.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No way.

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  • Lyn
  • NEW ULM, MN, United States
  • 02-29-12

Wasn't impressed!

Don't really know why I bought this book and must say several times wanted to quit listening. But.... curiousity just keep dragging me on, kept hoping for something that never came.

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  • Jacalyn
  • Cobb, CA, United States
  • 02-28-12

not my cup of tea

This story was not my cup of tea. For me it was boring & slow about a snobbishness depressed mans philosophy of life & discovery of fun. The narrator was good.

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  • Renee
  • TOPSHAM, VT, United States
  • 02-21-12

Well read, difficult material

Would you listen to Steppenwolf again? Why?

No. This is not an easy listen. It deals with the dark side of a self-consumed protagonist. It might be good to have a familiarity of the work because it is a classic which might be referenced in genres from history to music and philosophy.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

One doesn't consider changing a classic.

Which scene was your favorite?

I laughed at the scene of Harry visiting with the aunt and predicting the future of technology.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found it pretty tedious, but worthwhile.

Any additional comments?

The reader did an exellent job making the text understandable, and giving different voices to the range of characters. He's got a rich, if smokey voice, and perfect pronunciation.

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A good redition of a classic.

A good redition of a classic. You will need to look at several discussions of this before you begin to get what is going on. Much of it is surreal and you end up wondering if some of the main characters are more allegorical than flesh and blood.

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  • David
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 01-30-12

Brilliant!

Would you listen to Steppenwolf again? Why?

Yes - and I did - because it is a classic!

What did you like best about this story?

The psycho babble and the relationship with the girls!

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

Great drama and poise

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

The description of his failure to approach his school boy love of his life! And of course the party ....

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  • Michael
  • Santa Monica, Ca, United States
  • 01-20-12

Absolutely Amazing

What did you love best about Steppenwolf?

This is the perfect combo of wonderful introspective writing and a great delivery on the read of the book.

What did you like best about this story?

The mix of philosophy in a narrative and entertaining storyline.

Which character – as performed by Peter Weller – was your favorite?

There's really only 1 main character: The Steppenwolf. The others are small in comparison.

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

The first encounter of the love interest is one of the most moving scenes I've ever heard. It takes a long time to get too, but is all that more sweet once you get to it.

Any additional comments?

I would love to hear more books like this. Wish Audible could show me more.