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Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Crossing Press Feminist Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Robin Eller
Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Gender Issues
4.5 out of 5 stars (304 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in 20th-century literature. In this charged collection of 15 essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope.

This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde's philosophies resonate more than 20 years after they were first published.

©2007 Audre Lorde (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Still powerful." ( Library Journal)

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Great material, awful performance

The narrator is straight trash. Lorde was such an eloquent and powerful writer that it sucks to have her material being read through this horrible computer sounding voice. Do better

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Ingrid
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 03-23-17

A must read.

I read this book in college then taught it while in grad school to undergraduates. Listening to it again has been profound in many many ways. The fact that it is still so relevant is both frustrating and powerful. Audrey Lourde should be required reading for everyone not just college educated. She writes in a very accessible manner and her way of explaining things is digestible mentally and even emotionally. This is a book that I have internalized and will always carry with me in my heart and I enjoyed to listening to it. The problem I had was that the narrator to me sounded like a bad version of Siri. Having had the privilege of hearing Audrey Lorde speak many many years ago in Montreal, her voice then was very different and more passionate & had gravitas. The narrator's voice however felt mechanical and dispassionate and her pronunciation Adrianne drove me nuts. But I still had to listen to every word to the end because I love the author so much. Don't miss this.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Performance so bad I couldn’t finish

The voice sounded like a robot. It was so monotone and dull I had to stop by chapter 3 unfortunately. I’ll be picking up a hard copy of this book as an alternative but I wasted $ on this version.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Audre Lord is superb; this narrator is not

Seriously, who picked this bland, robotic narrator for the powerful, inspiring words of Audre Lord??!! I usually try to give voice performers a little leeway because I know how challenging it can be, but this was easily one of the most boring narrations that I have ever heard. Luckily, the content was strong enough to keep me listening, but I was grateful when it was over, as it took energy to stay focused on the words with such a monotonous reading of them. I would recommend you buy the actual book and read it yourself.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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One of the most important things I have ever listened to.

This audiobook was amazing. Lorde is thoughtful, engaging, and heartbreaking with her words. Robin does a great job keeping her emotions out of it so you can hear the depth of what Lorde is saying rather than her interpretation of what Lorde is saying. This is one of the best books I have ever read or listened to.

27 of 34 people found this review helpful

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DO NOT Listen to this Book - Read it.

What did you like best about Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches? What did you like least?

Audre Lorde is an amazing writer and essential voice to feminists, WOC, and the lesbian community. But to get the most out of this book you should pick it up at your favorite used bookstore. The lack of emotion in this performance lower Lorde's powerful words to the level of a barely successful used car salesman giving a high school commencement speech.

What other book might you compare Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches to and why?

Women, Race and Class - Angela Davis.
Ain't I a Woman - Bell Hooks

Mixing well researched, historical facts with personal anecdotes.

What didn’t you like about Robin Eller’s performance?

I wanted to finish this book for my monthly book club & when it was announced I was looking forward to it! I thought essays and speeches would inherently lend themselves to an audiobook seamlessly. I was very wrong.
This performance is embarrassingly awful. There's a severe lack of emotion and emphasis throughout the entire book. You can barely tell when one chapter/essay ends and the other begins.
Many times I played sections back because what was said should've been an extremely powerful moment & I wanted to absorb the impact of Lorde's words, but Eller's performance was so flat it lowers the quality of the message. It's really a tragedy considering the impact this book should be having on listeners.

Was Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches worth the listening time?

No. I eventually sped up the time to get through it faster.

Any additional comments?

Please have someone re-record this.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Powerful book!

Through reading Audre Lorde's book Sister Outsider, I feel I've reached a new level of achievement, of understanding. As a kid, I didn't know anything about her. I've only come to reading her work in the last few years. Learning from her earlier would have made me a stronger woman. Well, I am thankful I have at last found her words. While I didn't like the narration so much (the narrator sounded machine-like which was especially problematic for hearing the words of a poet), I often stopped whatever I was doing and replayed passages so I could reflect longer on the ideas. There were so many moments that demanded multiple hearings - Lorde's recalling how she interpreted information when she was a schoolgirl and her mother's use of language in the interview with Adrienne Rich, disscussion on difference as powerful, divisions between Black women, etc. I will spend years reflecting on and working through experiences with this book.

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So good!

Audre Lorde should be required reading-she was an incredible writer and her words are as useful and prescient now as when they were first written.

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This woman devoured the very hate she hopes to end

Lorde's text serves as a legitimate starting point for anyone without a background in African American studies or womens' studies. Get depiction of the life of a black lesbian woman in the mid-20th century is stark and powerful. Unfortunately, there is very little depiction of what Lorde wants to see here. The book reads like a tirade of an indignant adult furious with the world she sees, but with no direction for that fury to be directed.

Without the crucial solidification of the sum of her argument, I left with an impression of an irrate geriatric individual shaking their first at the wind.

I do not wish to belittle her struggle or that of others feeling the same pain, but it's difficult to empathize with someone like Lorde who always stands firm in her unbridled assault on what she sees as unjust when there is such a small portion of the text devoted to what progress looks like.

I left this book with the feeling that Lorde had obsorbed and assimilated the hatred that she rails against.

I would suggest this to shake someone up if they were already familiar with and sympathetic to the notion of black liberation, but never beyond that.

Last point, the narrator was the worst I've ever heard. I may be mistaken, but there is a grave injustice having an extremely white sounding lady read this book, what a poor decision.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • K. James
  • TAKOMA PARK, MD, United States
  • 06-06-18

Radical honesty about, race, class, gender, and sexuality!

I’ll be reading this work again, very soon. Audre Lorde leads by example, she demonstrates what it means to learn and apply lessons from her own experiences of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and colorism outside the black community and within it. This is not an exercise in navel gazing, nor is it for the faint of heart. Few but the most marginalized can speak to the contradictions of mainstream white society, the failings of mainstream/white feminism, and the divisions within the movement for black liberation. Audre Lorde exposes, examines, and articulates a way through obstacles as opposed to going around them.

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  • G. Getz
  • 01-21-17

An incredible book, badly produced and performed

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Audre Lorde was an incredible writer and speaker, and the content of this book is deeply profound and, in and of itself, well worth listening to. However, two major issues with the audio book make it difficult to enjoy. First of all, the narrator is dull, passionless and frankly sounds like she's reading out the FTSE index. She's a terrible choice for the work given that Lorde's rhetoric is so full of passion and urgency. Secondly, whoever edited/mastered the recording has gone overboard with whatever plugin it is that removes the breaths from a voice artist, to the extent where the beginning of each sentence is clipped - the first letter or syllable is regularly missing because the editors have cut out each and every breath in the recording. I found this highly distracting and irritating. I understand that heavy breaths and background clicks etc need to be edited out but this recording goes to far. It adds an even more artificial, lifeless quality to the narrator's already flat, bored, expressionless reading. "Sister Outsider" is a remarkable work that deserves more thought and care in its delivery and presentation as an audio book. Very disappointing.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Ann-Marie
  • 05-09-18

Good book but read robotically

It’s a shame that the publishers couldn’t choose someone else to read the book,
Because that is the only thing that destoyed my experience. The message is good as André lorde is obviously a genius, but it’s painful to sit through hours of a monotone , robotic sounding voice (audible, was it actually read by a robot??). Sounds like Siri reading the book literally. Please buy a paper or ebook version of the book instead.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • serentious7
  • 03-08-17

Content is excellent, but narration doesn't engage

This is one of the most important works of its kind and of interest to feminists and womanist of all persuasion. However the narrator does not do it justice and sounds like she's reading someone else's notes. The editor needed to ensure the reader was given the opportunity for a more polished performance.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • K. Goldschmitt
  • 10-19-17

narrator very annoying

This is an amazing book, but the narrator is shrill, has trouble pronouncing some words.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ross
  • 12-16-18

Important and insightful.

A wonderful and integral collection of essays and speeches from Audre Lorde. Essential listening. The only improvement would be the delivery - very robotic and takes time to get used to - slightly detracts from the overall experience which is unfortunate.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter Spencer
  • 05-18-19

Subtle, challenging, fresh

A punctual and refreshing collection of essays by an amazing woman Would definitely recommend Read this!

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  • Lydia
  • 02-24-17

Would not play at all!

Downloaded the book but very disappointed not to be able to listen to it at all.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah Lorraine Thomson
  • 04-25-17

Powerful words, let down by the narration

Lorde's writings are powerful, thought provoking and, at times, confrontational. It was well with the listen, but I did find the narrator very frustrating. I almost couldn't believe it was a human narrating the book- it sounded so robotic and didn't do justice to the passion in Lorde's words at all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-26-18

Thought-Provoking

A Great Listen that makes you reflective about your own life & priviledges. I really Enjoyed this AudioBook.