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Extended Audio Sample Letting Go Audiobook, by Philip Roth Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (579 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Philip Roth Narrator: Luke Daniels Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9781441801159
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Letting Go is Philip Roth’s first full-length novel, published just after Goodbye, Columbus, when he was twenty-nine. Set in 1950s Chicago, New York, and Iowa City, Letting Go presents as brilliant a fictional portrait as we have of a mid-century America defined by social and ethical constraints and by moral compulsions conspicuously different from those of today. Newly discharged from the Korean War army, reeling from his mother’s recent death, freed from old attachments and hungrily seeking others, Gabe Wallach is drawn to Paul Herz, a fellow graduate student in literature, and to Libby, Paul’s moody, intense wife. Gabe’s desire to be connected to the ordered “world of feeling” that he finds in books is first tested vicariously by the anarchy of the Herzes’ struggles with responsible adulthood and then by his own eager love affairs. Driven by the desire to live seriously and act generously, Gabe meets an impassable test in the person of Martha Reganhart, a spirited, outspoken, divorced mother of two, a formidable woman who, according to critic James Atlas, is masterfully portrayed with “depth and resonance.” The complex liaison between Gabe and Martha and Gabe’s moral enthusiasm for the trials of others are at the heart of this ambitious first novel. “[Roth] has the finest eye for the details of American life since Sinclair Lewis.” — Stanley Edgar Hyman Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 hirtho | 2/10/2014

    " 12/24 - Very good. It's a personal peeve of mine but I'm docking it one star for how much the annoying children are involved (which is thematic to a point, yes, but i think the point could still be made w/o so much time wasted on those exchanges) - it's much better at the beginning and end because of those tangents but wow what beginnings and endings! the main characters are all so fascinatingly flawed and flailing and beautifully sad, easily the deepest characters I've yet to read in Roth's work, but then they're also inside this amazingly sprawling structure that makes me ache for all those classic Russian and English 19th century writers Roth is obviously channelling here - in a way it's a bummer that he'd quickly move away from this type of novel and get more into the neurotic and satirical and nostalgic (the worst phase in my opinion) and aim at all this Big Idea type of statements when he's all big ideas here in these smaller, intimate stories/characters/scenes which the rest of his books only hint at or occasionally echo (some having alot more important elements to add to any deficiency, but still...) All in all this is a very fitting farewell for a while to probably my most important authorial discovery this year. Cheers, Roth!! 12/18 - Yes! Roth is BACK! (...with his first book) (...in my good graces, i meant) (cuz i've been hating on him all autumn) 12/18-12/25 Part 15/16 of my Last 16 Weeks of 2011 project "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim Anderson | 2/5/2014

    " Lots of plot lines and frustrating, argumentative dialogue. From what I gathered, "Letting Go" is about a guy just barely discernable as a "main character" who gets screwed over by everyone even though all he does is help them. The people in this book cling to each other, even when they have no reason to, even when they kind of hate one another. Most of what's great about "Letting Go" gets drowned out by the book's sheer size and how it just goes on and on, plots racking up, until it finally gives up and ends (maybe the title says more about the book than I thought?). Still, there's some pretty fun sections, including book II, "Paul Loves Libby," where one of the characters runs around trying to arrange his wife's abortion while an old lawyer who lives above him attempts to blackmail him into conning another old man out of his stash of vintage underwear. Blackmailed by a septuagenarian! Just one of many laughs included in "Letting Go." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen Schmidt | 1/30/2014

    " This is my favorite book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Otto | 1/22/2014

    " This is another extraordinary Roth book. He excels at showing, not telling. It is a psychological study, in the Henry James tradition (from what I've been told about Henry James, I haven't read much of him,)set in Chicago, mostly, about a trio of young people who become involved with each other while at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and then wind up teaching at the University of Chicago. As always in Roth, being Jewish, is a big part of the book. What I like about Roth is he describes situations and conversations and let's the reader figure out motivations rather than spelling them out. The book is a little short on plot, but very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 EJ | 1/21/2014

    " This book revolves around the problem of letting go. The main characters, Gabe Wallach and the couple Paul and Libby Herz, all have their problems involving letting go: Gabe and his grudge against his father, Paul with his attempts to mold Libby into his ideal woman. Even the supporting characters also have problems with letting go. A bit overwritten, but one can laud Roth for being able to provide unity for each of the characters' stories. You can also feel the drama that is present as you read along the book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Megan | 1/16/2014

    " I still believe Roth is another quiet, competent but grossly overrated American writer. Can't pick up Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and WANT to be stuck with books about baseball and the city for another second. One thing I do remember after this book, which I read years ago, is the way the dentist father describes a mouth like a universe of stars. It shocked me. Can you do that more often, Philip Roth? Like before I open 100 Years of Solitude for the 23940834 time? Roth's structured, literate mediocrity recalls for me the poet Philip Larkin. In my private moments, I think of them as the bland Philips. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sonya | 1/14/2014

    " You can sure tell this was early Roth. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Georg | 12/19/2013

    " So far as I can see I am the only one who thinks that this is the best book by Roth. I read it at least four times and I will read it ar least four times more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hamid Sattar | 12/1/2013

    " So far, there are mentions of two novels by Henry James (Portrait of a Lady and The Wings of the Dove) I haven't read them but looks like Roth has been influenced by James in this novel. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 patrick | 11/17/2013

    " Overly dramatic and repetitious. Roth could have shaved off 200 pages easily. His dialogue was hard to follow and his characters too self-absorbed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 maia | 11/8/2013

    " I enjoyed the book, but Roth is a bit too pleased with his alter ego Gabriel Wallach. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cheryl Kaper | 8/20/2013

    " Dreary, slow; couldn't finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 7/28/2013

    " Several of my friends have told me how much they liked this book. It is Roth's first full length novel and I'd never read it. I liked it...ok. You could certainly see the origins of many of Roth's favorite topics here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Felice | 3/28/2013

    " Beautiful--amazing character development. The large descriptive paragraphs are a bit much for me but it's completely worth it. Don't read the paperback, i can't get from one line to the next without a marker. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alka S | 1/16/2013

    " Just couldnt carry on. It started alright but went off on a tangent later. If someone has read it please let me know if it becomes better later and I could perhaps try to read again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo | 11/16/2012

    " Roth does a grand job of illustrating idiosyncratic behaviors and letting us into the minds of these often neurotic characters. Believable and compelling. I found myself reading deep into the night. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 10/10/2012

    " Anne Frank. Seriously, this proves that Roth has serious chops as a writer. He's a Jew who is not afraid to "f" with the story of Anne Frank. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 9/28/2012

    " This was one of my favorite books. Beautifully written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret Ellis | 9/12/2012

    " Apparently I'll enjoy reading anything by Philip Roth, because I liked this and I can't even make the plot sound interesting to myself. It's about a group of graduate students and their awkward and painful relationships. It had the added benefit of making me feel good about myself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 RK Byers | 1/23/2012

    " Norman Mailer reminded me that i had read this book. thanks Norman. It wasn't the Roth that I liked. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristiana | 12/29/2011

    " I love books writeen in the 60's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 6/23/2011

    " I suggest that all irresponsible young men read this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Justin | 1/21/2011

    " This is like his first full length novel, I think. It was hard to get through. Hyper-accomplished in some ways (it reads like it could have been written by someone much older), but sort of meandering in plot and transition. For a die hard Roth fan only. American pastoral is next, probably... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 9/8/2010

    " Apparently I'll enjoy reading anything by Philip Roth, because I liked this and I can't even make the plot sound interesting to myself. It's about a group of graduate students and their awkward and painful relationships. It had the added benefit of making me feel good about myself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hamid | 5/13/2010

    " So far, there are mentions of two novels by Henry James (Portrait of a Lady and The Wings of the Dove) I haven't read them but looks like Roth has been influenced by James in this novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristiana | 2/1/2010

    " I love books writeen in the 60's. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cheryl | 1/18/2010

    " Dreary, slow; couldn't finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 4/10/2009

    " Several of my friends have told me how much they liked this book. It is Roth's first full length novel and I'd never read it. I liked it...ok. You could certainly see the origins of many of Roth's favorite topics here. "

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About the Author
Author Philip Roth

Philip Roth is one of the most decorated writers in American history, having won the National Book Critics Circle Award twice, the PEN/Faulkner Award three times, the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, and many more. He also won the Ambassador Book Award of the English-Speaking Union and in the same year received the National Medal of Arts at the White House. In 2001 he received the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, given every six years “for the entire work of the recipient.”

About the Narrator

Luke Daniels is a narrator whose many audiobook credits range from action and suspense to young-adult fiction, including works by Philip Roth and John Updike. He has been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award in 2012 and 2014 and has earned thirteen AudioFile Earphones Awards. As an actor, he has performed at various repertory theaters around the country, with an emphasis on Shakespeare.