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Buddenbrooks Audiobook

Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family

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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1900, when Thomas Mann was 25, Buddenbrooks is a minutely imagined chronicle of four generations of a North German mercantile family - a work so true to life that it scandalized the author's former neighbours in his native Lübeck.

As he charts the Buddenbrooks' decline from prosperity to bankruptcy, from moral and psychic soundness to sickly piety, artistic decadence and madness, Mann ushers the reader into a world of rich vitality, pieced together from births and funerals, weddings and divorces, recipes, gossip and earthy humour. It is perhaps the first great family saga of modern literature, and it brought to public notice a writer of world stature who, three decades later, was to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. David Rintoul gives one of his finest performances in this committed and deeply moving reading.

©1993 Alfred A Knopf (P)2016 Ukemi Productions Ltd

What Members Say

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  •  
    W Perry Hall 02-15-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Condemnation of Materialistic Decadence"


    "That all those charms have pass'd away,
    I might have watch'd through long decay...."
    "And Thou art Dead, as Young and Fair," Lord Byron

    Thomas Mann's moving 1901 saga of the Buddenbrooks, a respected, wealthy family of grain merchants, begins in 1835 at the death of the patriarch. The three successive generations suffer a decline in their finances and family ideals as values change and old hierarchies are upset by Germany's rapid industrialization. Two of the siblings, Thomas and Antonie, subordinate their personal happiness to the welfare of the family business. Antonie in particular gives up happiness twice for appearance's sake, each time being ravaged by reverses.

    While Mann wrote this novel largely in an objective manner, the story represents a condemnation of the decadence of a materialistic society, as shown through this family. While the Buddenbrooks were naturally honest and good, imbued with love of family, they were also afflicted by a blind loyalty to their own class. They viewed each significant event in their lives, such as births, deaths, marriages, and social decisions, in relation to its effects on the family business. Their refusal to adapt to changing conditions, to act from their moral convictions rather than treating their business as a religion, and to accept those not of their class led to their destruction.

    Mann showed an incredible attention to the descriptive details of the period as well as his affinity for leitmotifs such as those derived from his love of the operas of Richard Wagner. For example, blue skin and yellow teeth to represent decay and decadence in the family members.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs Sydney, Australia 02-23-17
    Mrs Sydney, Australia 02-23-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Wonderful listen"

    A long listen, but I loved it. Sometimes achingly sad. Very poignant how family fortunes can change.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence Monroeville, PA, United States 12-22-16
    Lawrence Monroeville, PA, United States 12-22-16 Member Since 2013
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    "unbelievably talented narrator"

    This classic novel has been on my bucket list for years because it'slisted in most of the great literature polls, plus the author won the Nobel Prize. But I was blown away by how entertaining this book and the narrator are. I'm an audiobook junky who's listed to over 400 novels, most of them classics and best sellers. I thought I was familiar with the great narrators. Before this novel I hadn't heard of thos narrator. He's damn talented. He's the kind of narrator who devises a distinctive tone for each character, thus eschewing the need to figure out who is talking. I've decided to listen to his other books. I hope he does lots more to include Mann's other classic, The Magic Mountain.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Berkeley, CA, United States 12-18-16
    Richard Berkeley, CA, United States 12-18-16 Member Since 2007
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    "An Extraordinary Reading of an Extraordinary Novel"

    Mann creates characters that you have love and sympathy for despite clearly showing all their foibles and limitations, and finally their self-destructive tendencies. It traces the history of four generations of a German bourgeois family in the nineteenth century from their pinnacle of success to its final dissolution. Their family history also mirrors the tremendous cultural, social, political, philosophical and religious changes going on about them. Yet the novel also teems with a richness of detail and humor which keeps the story buoyant in spite of its pessimism. The description of Hanno's Christmas is worth the price of admission alone.

    David Rintoul is the ideal narrator for this book. I felt as if I were watching a movie instead of just listening.

    Here is hoping that Ukemi and David Rintoul might bring us the audiobook version of The Magic Mountain.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline Summer 02-12-17
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    "Superb novel--beautifully read!"

    One of the world's great novels: full of deep philosophy, warm comedy, the joys and sorrows of a memorable family. Wonderful characters are portrayed perfectly in this rendition.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Richardson 04-28-17
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    "BUDDENBROOKS"
    What made the experience of listening to Buddenbrooks the most enjoyable?

    I'll begin by saying that the reader, David Rintoul, was excellent, adept at pronunciation of foreign languages and skilful in portraying characters without straining to create female voices that might seem strained or unlikely. His name on the enterprise was a main reason for selecting it.

    This is a classic book by a superior author, which was another spur for my choice. I enjoyed the book without being swept away by it; The theories about life that were expounded in the course of the narrative were interesting and sometimes profound, yet the book did not leave me pondering on philosophical offerings or illuminations. It seems a solid story about a German upper-class family in the middle of the 19th century, so historically and sociologically it offered a stimulating picture.

    I have small reservations about other things, which is why I gave the story three-stars~~probably I"ll earn penance by not being in utmost admiration of a mighty writer!
    However, this is just my personal reaction, for better or worse.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virginia Waldron 03-30-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Where Have You Been All My Life, Thomas Mann?"
    Would you listen to Buddenbrooks again? Why?

    I have already listened to it twice as I didn't want it to end. It is just so incredibly well written. Subtle shifts which are significant in the development of the story. The last section is some of the most powerful and passionate writing I have ever read. Thomas Mann is orderly when needed and wildly insightful and inflamed when needed. It is a brilliant book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Buddenbrooks?

    The final sections of the book will remain with me forever. I even awoke in the middle of the night thinking about that part. It is a book that made a big impression on my thinking about education and sensitive, young people. Utterly wonderful.


    What about David Rintoul’s performance did you like?

    He is a perfect narrator for this story. Excellent performance.


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

    It is long but I just devoured it. Not in one sitting but over about a week. Yes I wanted to listen to it all the time as I felt part of it so much more than my own life, as I read it. I had no idea what a consummate writer Thomas Mann is until I stumbled upon this book. I actually feel privileged to have read it. It is such a rich text.


    Any additional comments?

    Read this book before you die.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fenna 08-31-17
    Fenna 08-31-17 Member Since 2016
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    "A Classic with a Great Narrator "

    This is a book that's been sitting on my to-read list for a while but when I saw there was an audiobook version I jumped at the chance to listen to it. This is my mother's favorite book from Thomas Mann so I'm glad I finally read it and can talk to her about it.

    This is a generational novel where you follow the lives of the Buddenbrook family, a wealthy merchant family of Northern Germany, through several generations. As can be guessed from the title, you watch as the family looses its wealth and status over those generations as well.

    The narration for this audiobook is fantastic and the translation is great since I'm sure it can't be easy to note a difference from High German to Platt while translating it and having it be understood in English. Mann's descriptions of characters and their traits are so particular and specific that they really come alive in your mind, they're fantastic. Between Mann's writing and David Rintoul's narration I really grew attached to many of the characters over the novel since you're seeing these characters grow and develop throughout their lives.
    This book covers so many things including class and materialism but it does so in a way that still shows you that the Buddenbrooks could be any family. The decline that this family is shown to have is one that happens gradually and though luck and bad choices; it is a decline that can happen to any family even today. You ache by the end of it but, I guess, 'that's life', I suppose.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    philip bronx, NY, United States 07-03-17
    philip bronx, NY, United States 07-03-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Masterpiece"

    Buddebrooks is one of the great masterpieces of 20th century literature. The translation by Woods brings out some of the humor that was lost in the original Lowe translation. The ironic humor perhaps highlights the tragedy even more. The narrator, David Rintoul is fabulous. Listening to Buddenbrooks was a new experience that was much funnier when read by Rintoul. That's the 2 bd time I've référés to the humor but it's actually quite tragic. I hope that Rintoul gets the opportunity to narrate Magic Mountain by Mann, maybe my favorite novel of all time. But sadly Magic Mountain does not exist on Audible as of today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mini Driver 06-13-17
    Mini Driver 06-13-17
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    "A gem of a book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. I can't believe I didn't know about this book earlier. Truly a classic.


    What other book might you compare Buddenbrooks to and why?

    Somewhere in between the 19th-century Russian classics such as Anna Karenina and the family sagas of Faulkner (but not as difficult as either of those).


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I like the scenes with Tonie and Schwarzkopf, when they visit the sea together.


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

    Just admiration.


    Any additional comments?

    David Rintoul's deep bass voice is resonant and beautiful but not recommended for listening to while driving because it blends with road noise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Hugh M. Clarke
    4/1/17
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    "Five Star"

    One of the best readings I have yet heard. David Rintoul's performance was perfect throughout. The intensity and the gentle humour of the novel were beautifully delivered. I hope we can have a recording of Mann's "Doctor Faustus" with the same reader.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Bookaholic
    Killin, Scotland
    5/9/17
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    "Truly wonderful narration!"

    Excellent narration by David Rintoul on what must have seemed like a marathon! I am sure he must have been very tired of Toni and "life" by the end! Probably a well researched story, but much too long - thank goodness for David Rintoul.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Elvis Patterson
    Penrith, United Kingdom
    1/12/17
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    "The German Middlemarch"

    Very enjoyable reading of a clever translation, which catches the nuances of pre-unification German society. The decline of a mercantile family, often humorously drawn, played out against the seismic changes of the 19th century. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • MR
    9/9/17
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    "Absolutely superb!"
    Any additional comments?

    It seems superfluous to say what a wonderful story this is or how convincing the characters are when it is such a well known masterpiece. Ultimately what matters most for the listener to a great Audible classic like this is the quality of the narrator's performance. David Rintoul makes this an unforgettable experience. His perfectly paced and insightful narration drives a truly gripping story all the way to its inevitable and tragic denouement while his brilliant portrayals of Thomas, Antonie, Christian, and Hanno, Bendix Grünlich, Alois Permaneder, and Hugo Weinschenk bring the main characters vividly to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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