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Tropic of Cancer Audiobook

Tropic of Cancer

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Audible Editor Reviews

Tropic of Cancer is Henry Miller's 1934 "autobiography as novel" about the impoverished, middle-aged writer's expatriate sojourn in depression-era Paris and France. Banned in the US until 1961 for its sexual content, Tropic of Cancer has been and remains a literary classic of a unique sort. "A dirty book worth reading," Ezra Pound famously wrote, as he went on to compare it to James Joyce's Ulysses. Prominent 1930s literati — including T. S. Eliot, John Dos Passos, Aldous Huxley, and George Orwell — joined in praising this non-literary, literary work.

Campbell Scott's narrative style has a unique stamp. His baseline technique in Tropic of Cancer is the dampening of his voice, joined with a masterly expressive control that emanates from this restriction. The effect is a quite strong sense of, and control over, mood and an intimate narrative connection with the individual listener. Scott's approach is suggestive of sotto voce, literarily "under speaking", similar to that bit of news spoken by a friend through a cupped hand in lowered tones into your ear — in the Age of iPod, the narrator speaking through your earphones. Scott moves fluently from this baseline into the very lively stuff of Miller's tropes, riffs and rhetoric, and comically charmed outrages. Scott hits the marks, even as a tonal resonance of intimate communication remains constant. And Henry Miller's narrative voice? George Orwell observed, in his 1940 essay "Inside the Whale", "Read him for five pages, ten pages, and you feel the peculiar relief that comes not so much from understanding as from being understood. 'He knows all about me,' you feel. 'It is as though you could hear a voice speaking to you...with no humbug in it, no moral purpose, merely an implicit assumption that we are all alike.'"

With their production of Tropic of Cancer, Harper Audio and Campbell Scott have reached an elusive artistic benchmark: that point where the voice of the author and the voice of the narrator converge. —David Chasey

Publisher's Summary

Now hailed as an American classic, Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller's masterpiece, was banned as obscene in this country for 27 years after its first publication in Paris in 1943. Only a historic court ruling that changed American censorship standards, ushering in a new era of freedom and frankness in modern literature, permitted the publication of this first volume of Miller's famed mixture of memoir and fiction, which chronicles with unapologetic gusto, the bawdy adventures of a young expatriate writer, his friends, and the characters they meet in Paris in the 1930s. Tropic of Cancer is now considered, as Norman Mailer said, "one of the 10 or 20 great novels of our century".

©1961 Grove Press, Inc.; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (463 )
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4.0 (333 )
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  •  
    DARRELL Washington, DC, United States 04-08-12
    DARRELL Washington, DC, United States 04-08-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So much poetry, so little plot"

    I had read this decades ago. I wasn't all that impressed. But hearing it read aloud makes the poetry come through. There is a lot of musing on life and Paris and friends: and that is lovely to listen to. There really isn't any plot, just some extended narrative and a few anecdotes. I thought the narrator did a good job of playing the observer that Henry Miller was. My only complaint was that it needed more chapter breaks.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 11-11-12
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 11-11-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A madman who dances with lightening in his hands"

    “When into the womb of time everything is again withdrawn chaos will be restored and chaos is the score upon which reality is written.”

    This is one of those amazing books that does violence to your system (think Lolita, Naked Lunch, Ulysses) but still leaves you gobsmacked by its brilliance. IT is the brazen, tortured soul of a man going through an existential crises in Paris. The novel is a cry in the dark; a delirious shout in the void. Miller's prose dances on the edge of the cracked mirror of Modernism. It is dazzling, sharp and extremely dangerous.

    This is NOT a novel for the weak, the timid, the easily shocked or those that believe art exists (or should exist) without shadows. Miller lifts the sheets and describes the decay, the despair and the rot of humanity. If you are not prepared for the monstrous vision of Miller you won't be able to find the roses in the dung heap, and thus you will be unable to question your own desire for roses in the first place.

    21 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly SPRINGFIELD, TENNESSEE, United States 04-16-14
    Kelly SPRINGFIELD, TENNESSEE, United States 04-16-14 Member Since 2014
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    "A great sordid classic"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Tropic of Cancer to be better than the print version?

    Not entirely - only for the purpose of listening to it in my car.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tropic of Cancer?

    Van Norden's tirade about microphones in his trousers


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

    No I haven't. Even though I like Campbell Scott as an actor and enjoyed his narration, I didn't feel that it matched what I expected, which was more of a Brooklyn accent.


    Who was the most memorable character of Tropic of Cancer and why?

    Mona stood out for me, as she was like a ghost, weaving in and out of the story. (Mona was based on Miller's second wife June - who was also like a ghost in his life). The other characters, including Henry, are quite sordid and hopeless.


    Any additional comments?

    Paris and the left bank, in the early 1900's, was often romanticized, and for the most part - rightly so. With 'Tropic of Cancer' though, you get it warts and all - the bed bugs, lice and cockroaches - the poverty, sleeping on straw, moldy cheeses and breads, rancid butter etc. The pendulum also swings to the other side where you have the 'swanky' side of life, the prostitutes, the sex, the great meals. You also have to wade through crap like women being referred to as 'c*nts' - however - believe me, it's worth it for the rhapsodizing and for the history. It's interesting, funny, has great dialogue and is a kind of sordid classic!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jeantoomer 05-14-16
    jeantoomer 05-14-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Fabulous book, nice reading, terrible, many, guitar interludes"

    Love this book, but why oh why have the frequent elevator music jam band breakdowns?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rfi123158 04-05-16
    rfi123158 04-05-16 Member Since 2016
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    "outstanding outstanding outstanding"

    What an incredible book! Henry Miller was brilliant. His mixture of filth and fantasy was perfect. I'll never be the same. I recommend this 100%.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Trisha 08-07-17
    Trisha 08-07-17
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    "Tell again why?"

    Let me say first off, I'm not a romance or sensual book lover (I wouldn't even stretch it to say I liked them). I can see why this was banned and out of print for so long. I read this for a book group, but would NEVER have wasted my time to plug through it otherwise. Soft porn anyone?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Allen United States 08-06-17
    Allen United States 08-06-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Meh, I really wanted to like it."

    I'd been wanting to see what this book was all about. I was super excited to jump right into it.
    Like other people reviewing this book I can see how this book might have been very impressionable or even shocking at some point but imho it's not shocking enough to carry the book till the end.
    I believe the performance made it super dull and like the ramblings of some emo that didn't get his way. The narrator is monotone throughout the entire story too!
    Too bad because I can see how this audible production could have been hilariously fun!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Man in the Fishtower 08-16-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Awful bumper music"

    The music between chapters on this one is so bad and incongruous with the narrative it becomes something to dread whilst the story plods on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    drebra sterling everywhere, world, universe 06-28-16
    drebra sterling everywhere, world, universe 06-28-16
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    "henry miller is a master storyteller."

    campbell scott couldn't match Henry's enthusiamsm and disgust with parisian life, but still, one gets used to it. i was saddened the story ended, but thank audible there's more!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Shawn Higgins 05-27-16
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    "Honestly thought it would be raunchier."

    Didn't really like the narrative tone at the beginning. But I've got to say that it grew on me. The story was a bit hard to follow and didn't really have a goal or meaning, just following a guys experience in France.
    The sex scenes were rather lacking. Was expecting details, instead was given vague encounters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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