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Extended Audio Sample Seize the Day Audiobook, by Saul Bellow Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.29 out of 53.29 out of 53.29 out of 53.29 out of 53.29 out of 5 3.29 (28 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Saul Bellow Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2010 ISBN: 9781470803728
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Fading charmer Tommy Wilhelm has reached his day of reckoning and is scared. In his forties, he still retains a boyish impetuousness that has brought him to the brink of chaos: he is separated from his wife and children; at odds with his vain, successful father; failed in his acting career (a Hollywood agent once placed him as “the type that loses the girl”); and in a financial mess. In the course of one climactic day he reviews his past mistakes and spiritual malaise, until a mysterious, philosophizing con man grants him a glorious, illuminating moment of truth and understanding and offers him one last hope.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It is the special distinction of Mr. Bellow as a novelist that he is able to give us, step by step, the world we really live each day—and in the same movement to show us that the real suffering of not understanding, the deprivation of light. It is this double gift that explains the unusual contribution he is making to our fiction.”

    New York Times

  • “One of the finest short novels in the language.”

    Guardian

  • “Saul Bellow is one of the giants of the twentieth-century novel. Read Seize the Day and see why.”

    Irish Times

  • “Grover Gardner’s everyman narrative voice augments the fumbling, oafish life of Wilhelm by supplying the character with an air of bafflement, even helplessness. The pliable narration gives color to the supporting characters of Wilhelm’s father and especially to Doctor Tamkin, whose blunt philosophizing about living in modern times provides the core of this short novel. Gardner’s approach eschews the expected New York City accent for Wilhelm in favor of emphasizing his off-kilter inner turmoil, reminding the listener that Seize the Day is a dark comedy, not just grim reality.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Kitcher | 2/12/2014

    " Good pace, interesting style of writing and just good stuff. A similar feel to capote breakfast at tiffineys "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 1/27/2014

    " Wilhelm is searching for reassurance and finding none. Unemployed, living in a hotel, despised by his father and his wife, he spends a day reflecting on his decisions, obsessing over his actions and the actions of others, and desperately searching for someone to save him. He puts his faith in a swindler and loses the rest of his money; his father refuses to help him; his wife won't even talk to him. I found myself alternately frustrated at the absurdities in Wilhelm's behavior and deeply empathetic with his precarious position in life. An immensely moving read! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Seth Cochran | 1/24/2014

    " Characters very well done, but the main character was super annoying. This novel was very short on plot. Bellow has done much better with Henderson the Rain King. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Evan Sandman | 1/13/2014

    " Lovely, lyrical, devastating portrait of a father & son falling further and further apart, set in a residence hotel in '50s Upper West Side. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Edward | 1/7/2014

    " Holy overrated piece of sleep-inducing drudgery "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carolyn | 12/26/2013

    " I wish that I could have read this book in an English class where I could really analyze it with someone who knows what it's all about. Unfortunately, I'm 43 and short on analytical brain cells, and didn't think the introduction helped much. This won the Pulitzer Prize, so I know there are lots of meaning to the main character. Tragic character? Oh, what does it all mean in relation to the whole "Seize the Day" concept. How does Tamkin figure into things? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 12/18/2013

    " Every time I read Saul Bellow, I feel like I'm clawing through a homework assignment. I know I'm wrong to feel this way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carlos | 12/16/2013

    " I think is agreat book. Sad, pretty sad actually. What does this guy do in a hotel in NY, waiting form something to happen. Kinda waiting for Godot. But great. It reallyncaptures thenfragili of human life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul Grimsley | 11/21/2013

    " I know I really loved this book -- the energy of it, the neuroticism of the main character and the whirling world that he inhabited. I was going to say that the film with Robin Williams had supplanted a lot of my memories of the film but things came flooding back in. I love Saul Bellow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christopher Kent | 10/23/2013

    " If this short novella wasn't a Broadway play, it should have been, it would be perfect for that medium! A decent character-study that most definitely has a moral hidden in it somewhere... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 10/8/2013

    " "Someone had said, and Wilhem agreed with the saying, that in Los Angeles all the loose objects in the country were collected, as if America had been tilted and everything that wasn't tightly screwed down had slid into Southern California. He himself had been one of those loose objects." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeremy Jetzon | 8/28/2013

    " If this novella were any more taut, you could slice your hand on it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sean McBride | 8/26/2013

    " Bellow does wonders with feelings. He can somehow describe what a feeling looks like so much so that you feel it intrinsically in your own being. The story is ok, the writing is brilliant "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gregory | 1/9/2013

    " I really liked how the tone is overall very restrained, building up our frustration and dismay in sympathy with Wilhelm; but then SB releases brief moments of lyricism with supreme effect. It's a brilliant novella! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff920 | 10/1/2012

    " My favorite book by Saul Bellow. Dreams of Hollywood, bitter disappointment, Charlatans and quacks, and epiphany at the end. Brilliant. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura Jean | 5/25/2012

    " There are reasons that Saul Bellow is considered a genius. I don't think this is one of them. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nat Bond | 4/12/2012

    " I didn't get the point. But at least it was blessedly short! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather Clitheroe | 3/22/2012

    " Quite a splendid, if sad and desperate, book. I'm glad I read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jgilon41 | 1/25/2012

    " Try and find a more perfect novella. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matthew | 10/15/2011

    " I don't care much for Bellow. The story is well done, and he fits a lot of depth into a single period of probably under 12 hours. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff920 | 8/19/2011

    " My favorite book by Saul Bellow. Dreams of Hollywood, bitter disappointment, Charlatans and quacks, and epiphany at the end. Brilliant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Philip | 8/8/2011

    " Melancholy tale of the day when a man's bad choices all come home to roost. Even his father cruelly greets his appeal for support with a cooll 'told you so!' Well structured, it is thankfully short. A bitter pill to swallow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ron | 8/6/2011

    " This slim volume did little to explain to me why Bellow is worshipped by so many of my literary heroes (Amis among them), nor did it make me feel compelled to read any of his lengthier books. He is a boring, tedious prose stylist who does have a great deal to say, but no idea how to say it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kristine | 7/29/2011

    " I read this book for class. Books where the main character feels sorry for themselves the entire time suck. This is one of those books. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steven | 7/29/2011

    " Yet another english required reading that tanked. Didn't like this book at all. No mam! Not at all!
    xoxo "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kelly | 6/11/2011

    " Bleh. Whooo says this is a must-read!? A bitter aftertaste remains even. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 5/18/2011

    " One Day in the Life of Willy Loman "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 5/16/2011

    " This is a book that will wake you up. The end was terrifying, which is why I liked it. Wilhelm is a character that I think we can all relate to in some part of our life. A failure who is always thinking about the future instead of living in the moment. This book motivated me to move and not wait. "

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About the Author
Author Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow (1915–2005), author of numerous novels, novellas, and stories, was the only novelist to receive three National Book Awards. He also received the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize in Literature, the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction. During the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, Bellow served as a war correspondent for Newsday. He taught at New York University, Princeton, and the University of Minnesota and was chairman of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.