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Extended Audio Sample Letting Go, 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:
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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

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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