The Counterlife

Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (79 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Counterlife is about people enacting their dreams of renewal and escape, some of them going so far as to risk their lives to alter seemingly irreversible destinies. Wherever they may find themselves, the characters of The Counterlife are tempted unceasingly by the prospect of an alternative existence that can reverse their fate.

Illuminating these lives in transition and guiding us through the book's evocative landscapes, familiar and foreign, is the mind of the novelist Nathan Zuckerman. His is the skeptical, enveloping intelligence that calculates the price that's paid in the struggle to change personal fortune and reshape history, whether in a dentist's office in suburban New Jersey, a tradition-bound English Village in Gloucestershire, a church in London's West End, or a tiny desert settlement in Israel's occupied West Bank.

©2016 Philip Roth (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Counterlife

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excellent performance

As a non native speaker I can really appreciate when an actor’s reading is so clear and well paced and nuanced that I can appreciate this amazing novel in all its complexity

1 person found this helpful

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Eros, Thanatos, and the Male Yenta

When I told a Catholic girlfriend that I was reading and loving Philip Roth's The Counterlife, she said, "Of course you are. You're a Jewish man." As obliquely hostile as some of the dialogue between Roth's men & women, this comment is also roughly as accurate. The Counterlife repeats in five variations a story about a Jewish man in early middle age weighing life, sex, identity, and the imaginary of love. I find Roth's female voices to be intellectual simulacra of what men might want or need women to say in order to carry on their stories. (This isn't a compliment.) By contrast, I feel completely at home in the interiority and dialogue of Roth's men, here the author Nathan Zuckerman and his dentist brother. Ok, but why then five stars? Why not lose some, in view of the artificiality of The Counterlife's female voices? Could it be because, as was pointed out to me, I am a Jewish man and like hearing versions of myself echoed in fiction? Sure. But more, it's because the way men tell stories about themselves to construct their identities is the essence of this masterwork of metafiction. That is what we all do all day long, and The Counterlife is a telling and retelling that, beyond plot and character, highlights the tricky ways men tell others, and, crucially, themselves, who and what they are. Beautifully narrated in this Audible edition by Malcolm Hilgartner, who captures the egoism, humor, and rage of Roth's men. His female characters sound less real. They sound like men reading women, which is very much the point.

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The Counterlife- how deep can you get?

In his writings, Philip Roth unearths and describes human emotions in an epic narrative of reality. This book is both immensely jarring and immensely insightful at the same time. An amazing experience that can render one’s self-perception of uniqueness as something quite pedestrian.

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classic Roth

not necessarily the book of Roth to start with but the dialogues are classic roth

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Brilliant

Intricately, ingeniously constructed plot with interesting characters, outrageous and hilarious the story was situations, and struggle for inner truths. And identity and meaningful relationships.