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Editorial Reviews

The gritty and robust voice of veteran performer Eric Conger is the perfect mate for the subject matter in Francine Prose's A Changed Man. With a confident energy, Conger brings to life the story of Vincent Nolan and his valiant attempt at personal reformation. Francine Prose is at the top of her game here as she finds sympathy for Nolan, a young neo-Nazi, and has orchestrated a beautifully plotted story where one man's desire for change can have a dramatic effect on those around him. A Changed Man is an unusual look at some of our most essential struggles, and this production only enhances its importance.

Publisher's Summary

Vincent Nolan, a young neo-Nazi, walks into the Manhattan office of World Brotherhood Watch, a human rights foundation headed by a charismatic Holocaust survivor, Meyer Maslow. Vincent announces that he wants to make a radical change in his life. But what is Maslow to make of this rough-looking stranger who says that his mission is to save guys like him from becoming guys like him?

As he gradually changes, Vincent also transforms those around him; including Maslow; Bonnie Kalen, a devoted believer in Maslow's crusade against intolerance and injustice; and her teenage son, Danny.

Masterfully plotted, darkly comic, A Changed Man illuminates the everyday transactions in our lives, exposing what remains invisible in plain sight. Remarkable for the author's tender sympathy for her characters, A Changed Man poses the essential questions: What constitutes a life worth living? Is it possible to change? The fearless intelligence, wit, and humanity that inform this novel make it Francine Prose' most accomplished yet.

©2005 Francine Prose; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Prose tears into this unusual premise with the piercing wit that has become her trademark....Her lively skewering of a whole cross-section of society ensures that this tale hits comic high notes even as it probes serious issues." (Publishers Weekly)
"Riotously funny....Like novelist Richard Russo, Prose uses humor to light up key social issues, to skewer smugness, and to create characters whose flaws only add to their depth and richness. This may well be Prose's best novel to date." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

A Changed Man is unpredictable

I like page-turners but when a book is also surprising, informative and well crafted, I love it. A Changed Man is all of this. It's honesty is sometimes shocking and would likely confuse younger readers. But the story-telling is incredible. A Changed Man is so well written that when I saw there was a minute and 42 seconds left I thought my reader was broken. With 25 seconds left I thought something had to be wrong. Boy was I in for a surprise!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Engaging

I could not stop listening. I would be sitting in front of work and I would have to drag myself out of my car it was that good. I thought that the narrator was excellent and I was a bit lost once I finished it. Definetely give this one a go. Also read the Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold as that was another favourite.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Frederick
  • Beaver Falls, PA, United States
  • 04-16-05

This needs to be a movie

This was a great story line with a narrator that added a lot of natural appeal. I was hoping this book wouldn't end. When it finally did end, I was a disappointed in the way the author left the listener wanting a little more. Don't get me wrong, I still highly recommend this book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Character Study

This isn't a page-turner. It tells its story by way of each character thinking out loud, so we know a great deal about their perspective on the storyline. However, I never really felt like I believed Vincent or his reasons for changing. The author had some insights spread throughout the book, but it wasn't riveting, engaging, or one that I was sad to see end. The whole book felt flat to me.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Wonderful Experience

An incredibly well-written, engrossing book that is even more enhanced by the great reader. He has a wonderful talent for individualizing each character, and Francine Prose has such a gift for writing real people- thoughts and feelings that just strike so close to the way we all would think and act. I loved this experience!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Marta
  • Petaluma, CA, USA
  • 04-06-05

A splendid book

Sly, funny, witty, true and kind -- this is a great book and a great listen. Each character, so different from the others, is treated with attention and understanding. Conger's voice grows right out of Prose's prose (I've always wanted to use that phrase) so that the text and the performance are a seamless whole. Highly recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Changed man

In this wonderfully crafted book, Ms. Prose manages to let us both look in, with sympathy, on her characters and look out from their eyes. I think the key to the story--and I admit it pretty much hits the reader over the head--is the duffel bag the ex-skinhead drags around with him, whether on the run or in a seemingly safe haven. We all have baggage, of course, and it always comes with us, whether we reveal it, don't reveal it, or just leave it sitting around until someone discovers it. The characters' thoughts are arrogant one moment, slipping toward humility the next, soft with love the next--ideas as bouncy, biased, and contradictory as those in our own heads. The narrator did a really good job of expressing these inner workings of the characters.

When I had to leave the world--or should I say worlds--of Bonnie and her kids, Vincent and his cousin, and Maslow and his institution, I was left to ponder my own rationales, irrationalities, and beliefs with some tenderness. I think the novel shows us we are always changing, and we are never entirely changed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Rebecca
  • Plainfield, VT, United States
  • 04-10-07

Hmmmm

Well I eagerly listened to this book having read the other reviews, but I have to say I was somewhat disappointed. I enjoyed the fact that one often saw the same events from the perspective of different characters. However, I did not find the characters totally believable. I was never convinced that Vincent had really changed and the explanation he gave for his shift in perspective was pretty unbelievable. I found Maslow's ambivalience about his personal ambition versus his "good works" interesting, but didnt feel this aspect of the story was properly explored. At its conclusion it felt like the book finished with many unresolved issues and no proper closure.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • ANNA
  • LONG BEACH, NY, United States
  • 05-28-07

Loved it

This was a great book. Funny and well written, and I really came to love all the main characters, especially Bonnie (she took off her glasses)and Danny, but also Vincent and Meyer. No one was a carictature (even Raymond, who was sympathetic in his own way), well, except maybe Lo the Ho, but she deserved it, everyone was complex. The narration was pitch perfect. I understand people's complaint about the ending, but it had to be that way - leaving you to imagine how things will work out and hope that they do. One of those books that you are really sad to realize has ended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

One of my favorite audio books!

The author's skill, especially when reflecting the thoughts behind the character's actions, was an interesting and FUN study in human psychology. The story took several unexpected turns which I loved, and which held my interest.

The characters were richly complex and the story entertaining. It's about real life, real characters - both perfect and flawed. I loved it!

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Emily
  • 02-28-14

Eric Conger is brilliant

I have just chosen another book to listen to based on the fact that he is reading it. I love his George Clooney type voice. I liked this book a lot but the reading made it fantastic.

  • Overall
  • Mrs. REP
  • 02-01-11

Different - in a good way!

This book is really interesting, amusing and thought-provoking. I find it scary though that there are really people in the world like Raymond who actually believe those things.