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In the Darkroom

Narrated by: Laurel Lefkow
Length: 13 hrs and 46 mins
4 out of 5 stars (206 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author of Backlash comes In the Darkroom, an astonishing confrontation with the enigma of her father, and the larger riddle of identity consuming our age.

"In the summer of 2004 I set out to investigate someone I scarcely knew, my father. The project began with a grievance, the grievance of a daughter whose parent had absconded from her life. I was in pursuit of a scofflaw, an artful dodger who had skipped out on so many things - obligation, affection, culpability, contrition. I was preparing an indictment, amassing discovery for a trial. But somewhere along the line, the prosecutor became a witness."

So begins Susan Faludi's extraordinary inquiry into the meaning of identity in the modern world, and in her own haunted family saga. When the feminist writer learned her 76-year-old father - long estranged and living in Hungary - had undergone sex reassignment surgery, that investigation would turn personal and urgent. How was this new parent who identified as "a complete woman now" connected to the silent, explosive, and ultimately violent father she had known?

Faludi chases that mystery into the recesses of her childhood, and her father's many incarnations: American dad, Alpine mountaineer, swashbuckling adventurer in the Amazon outback, Jewish fugitive in Holocaust Budapest. When the author travels to Hungary to reunite with her father, she drops into a labyrinth of dark histories and dangerous politics in a country hell-bent on repressing its past and constructing a fanciful - and virulent - nationhood. The search for identity that has transfixed our century was proving as treacherous for nations as for individuals.

Faludi's struggle to come to grips with her father's metamorphosis self takes her across borders - historical, political, religious, sexual - to bring her face to face with the question of the age: Is identity something you "choose", or a thing you can't escape?

©2016 Susan Faludi (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Laurel Lefkow shines most brightly when recounting the most difficult moments of Susan Faludi's life.... This immersive story about a father and daughter illuminates so much more." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intricately insightful study of identity

Where does In the Darkroom rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

one of the best

What did you like best about this story?

the wry tone, intelligent writing

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

good voice for both Susan and Stephani --- brought Stephani to life

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

Susan Faludi's compassion for her father and steady sense of her own self throughout...

Any additional comments?

a masterful psychological analysis in historical contexts ...

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Terrible narration

The narrator has so many mispronounced words that I could hardly focus on the story. It was unbearable to listen to. I called Audible for a refund!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Well written & interesting

this was a very well written book , which grab your attention and kept it throughout. Unfortunately the reader mispronounced many of the Hungarian and Jewish words and this detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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What a book!

I read this on the recommendation of a friend, and it is an incredible book. The audio and narration is nice as she does the Hungarian accent, making Faludi's father really come alive. Fascinating journey through WWII in Hungary, and through transgender identity, religious identity, family and nationality, in the 20th and 21st centuries. Really an exceptional tale and explores a lot of issues we all deal with, and very well written.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant

Intellectually rich, emotionally moving, and wonderfully performed. Equal parts biography and historical narrative, Faludi's exploration of identity is riveting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Narrator Mispronounces Lots of Words

The story was okay although a bit longer than I thought was necessary.

The narrator read expressively and did a decent Hungarian accent, but she consistently mispronounced words, especially proper nouns. That really detracted from my enjoyment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Worthy of the praise

Any additional comments?

The accolades this memoir/history/identity study has garnered are incredibly well-deserved. Susan Faludi, journalist, has beautifully documented her fraught relationship with her father, and his fraught relationship with identity. The book opens with Faludi heading to Budapest to visit her father who, via email, reveals to her that he has undergone a sex reassignment surgery and has transformed from Steven into Stefanie. What follows is part personal memoir of life with her father and part journalistic investigation. On the one hand, Faludi's writes a lovely if conflicted remembrance of her father, his creativity and knack for editing and airbrushing (he was a well known photographer), his violent outbursts, his controlling nature, and his internal struggles. On the other, her father's transformation leaders her to an investigation into gender identity and into Hungary during WWII (her father came of age as a Jew in that nightmarish time). The book is wonderful and sad, confusing and fascinating. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful and fascinating story

I loved the combination of familial reflection and Hungarian history. My Hungarian Jewish family fled the country and I felt real kinship with the author. The intersection of religious and gender identity and marginalization was really thought-provoking and educational as well. And cannot praise the narrator highly enough! I was sad to finish this one!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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After a rough start book improved immensely

I struggled with the first few chapters of this book. The main character is certainly not a hero but rather an anti-hero. He/she is need a kind nor really compelling. However the historical and sociological aspects and components of the book as the story proceeds are fascinating. I would recommend this book but it is not an easy read. I am glad I prevailed but this is by no means a “page turner “!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator cannot pronounce even English words

And she mangles words of French derivation, like genre and Trianon, which she says wrong about 100 times on this recording! I kept shouting corrections. I don’t know Hungarian, so maybe she got that right? Nothing else, however. A bust as a reader.