Extended Audio Sample

Download Against the Country: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Against the Country: A Novel, by Ben Metcalf Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ben Metcalf Narrator: Scott Sower Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
Regular Price: $29.99 Download
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Download learn more )

Against the Country is a gift for fans of Southern Gothic and metafiction alike. Set in the Virginia pines, and overrun with failed parents, racist sex offenders, cast-off priests, and suicidal chickens, this novel challenges literary convention even as it attacks our national myth—that the rural naturally engenders good, while the urban breeds an inevitable sin.

In a voice both perfectly American and utterly new, Ben Metcalf introduces the reader to Goochland County, Virginia—a land of stubborn soil, voracious insects, lackluster farms, and horrifying trees—and details one family’s pitiful struggle to survive there. Eventually it becomes clear that Goochland is not merely the author’s setting; it is a growing, throbbing menace that warps and scars every one of his characters’ lives.

Equal parts fiery criticism and icy farce, Against the Country is the most hilarious sermon one is likely to hear on the subject of our native soil, and the starkest celebration of the language our land produced. The result is a literary tour de force that raises the question: Was there ever a narrator, in all our literature, so precise, so far-reaching, so eloquently misanthropic, as the one encountered here?

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Iconoclastic…Against the Country has obvious affinities to Southern Gothic, both in its voice and in the delight it takes in rural ignorance and grotesqueries…[A] country cousin of David Foster Wallace.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Faulknerian…eccentric, magnificent Southern Gothic metafiction.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “A daring conglomeration of every trick, swindle, and gimmick possible using only ink and paper, a pulpwood imagination machine so finely and expertly wrought that it can take on Jefferson, Thoreau, the church, patriotism, race relations, sexual identity, J. D. Salinger, the myth of America and a thousand other targets…[Against the Country] is absolutely and completely worth all investment of time and effort, because it is an undeniably beautiful object, sharp as a new razor.”


  • “A virtuosic tour de force of Southern malfeasance…The all-American life is lovingly deconstructed in a passionate screed that feels like a confession from the tortured heart of the South itself. But even in envying Thomas Jefferson ‘his idyllic hallucinations’ and damning ‘this flytrap of a county,’ Metcalf composes a relentlessly articulate paean to the American project. In the end, this isn’t a Southern novel, because it isn’t exactly a novel. It’s more like man’s revenge on God for the world he made—and anyone who disagrees must be a Yankee.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • A Vanity Fair Hot Type Pick for January 2015
  • A Vulture.com Pick for the 10 Best Books of 2015
  • A NPR Best Book Selection of 2015
Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

Ben Metcalf was born in Illinois. He was for many years the literary editor of Harper’s magazine. He has since taught at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and joined the Lapham’s Quarterly editorial board. His writing has appeared in The Baffler, Harper’s, The Best American Essays, and elsewhere.