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Download Ship of Fools Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Ship of Fools Audiobook, by Katherine Anne Porter Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (890 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Katherine Anne Porter Narrator: Grace Conlin Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2010 ISBN: 9781455171989
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In the summer of 1931, a cruise ship sails from Mexico on its way to Bremerhaven, Germany. Among its many diverse passengers are a Spanish noblewoman, a drunken German lawyer, an American divorcée, a pair of Mexican Catholic priests, a number of Germans returning to their homeland from Mexico, and a corrupt, avaricious company of Spanish singers and dancers who scheme to defraud the other passengers of their money. In the mingling and meeting of these varied personalities on board the ship of fools, a drama of good and evil takes place from which no one will emerge unchanged. Rich in incident, passion, and treachery, the novel’s themes of nationalism, cultural and ethnic pride, and basic human frailty are as relevant today as they were when the novel first appeared in 1945.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This vivid, beautifully written story is bathed in intelligence and humor.”

    New York Herald Tribune

  • “A creative feat…Ship of Fools not only crowns Miss Porter’s notable career but takes and should hold an eminent place among contemporary novels.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A phenomenal, rich, and delectable book.”

    Atlantic Monthly

  • “A masterpiece.”

    Harper’s

  • “Katherine Anne Porter moves in the illustrious company headed by Hawthorne, Flaubert, and Henry James”

    Saturday Review

  • “Porter’s passengers are extremely diverse in nationality, age, class, education and experience. Grace Conlin does a splendid job portraying them.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marc | 2/20/2014

    " How Porter avoided suicide is beyond me. Her picture of the human race is devastatingly and bleakly accurate. As you read you begin to say, "Yes, people do behave this way." The descriptions of German paranoia on the cusp of Germany's downhill slide into Nazism are perfect. It has been a dream of mine to take a trans-Atlantic cruise to Europe. After reading this book I still would like to take that trip but would be sure to have plenty of writing material and a tape recorder with me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gregory | 2/16/2014

    " Porter is a satirist at heart here, and while her characters are colorful, there's not much of a plot, other than the construct of a voyage. At 500+ pages I wanted to disemark as much as the rest of the passengers, and found myself wondering if that's what she intended, in part. At any rate, read her short stories instead. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steven | 1/25/2014

    " This is a leisurely paced and highly engaging panorama of humanity by a writer with a gift for creating subtle, picturesque prose and beguiling characters. Porter presents a microcosm of the human comedy in this account of the passengers aboard a ship headed from Mexico to Germany in 1931 whose lives become intertwined in various ways during the voyage, sometimes comically, sometimes heroically, sometimes tragically. She wrote it well after World War II, and infuses the story with a poignant sense of doom and ironic hindsight as the characters seem oblivious to the horrors we know they will confront in the very near future after they land. The cast represents a diverse array of nationalities and religions, and includes people exhibiting varying degrees of prejudice and moral fiber. Porter focuses her intelligent and keen eye on the best and the worst qualities of humankind, and honestly portrays them in all their glory and loathsomeness. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie | 1/19/2014

    " I liked it because I like stories about sea voyages, but not a very happy book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 KathyC | 1/14/2014

    " I didn't really like this book but kept reading anyway because of Porter's relentless character detail and her staunch refusal to add any redeeming qualities to her characters as the book progressed. The Fellini-esque setting and portrayals also drew me along. (If there were a movie version, costume design would be great fun.) Anyway, I trudged through resolutely until just before the end, when I simply couldn't take any more. I give it three stars, though, for stellar writing and (painfully) astute observation of human failings. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jaime | 12/27/2013

    " As you start Ship of Fools you understand it's a book about people you don't want to meet; as you read Ship of Fools you realize these are people you already know, although hopefully not intimately: bigots, poseurs, liars....The story isn't so much a story as a series of scenes succeeding one another as choppily as the waves breaking against the titular ship, so the pace contrasts sharply with the idea of a smoothly flowing ocean voyage. That's a nice bit of irony. I like this novel but I don't love it the way I do Porter's short stories. The precision with which she presents her observations of human nature lends itself better to the carefully cut, perfectly polished gems that comprise short fiction. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carrie | 12/24/2013

    " I could not get into this book. So I did not finish it. Maybe I need to read it at another time when I am not in the mood for something with a faster pace. I just kept thinkging "when do we get on the boat?". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steven | 11/29/2013

    " A group of characters on a ship sailing from Mexico to Germany traces the rise of fascism and Nazism. As one can imagine, many passengers are anti-Semitic and fearful of others, considered by many to be a great satire. Required reading as part of my Law and Literature class at FSU College of Law. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rhoda | 9/27/2013

    " One of those chance matches to recently read Der Fuehrer. Both books were chosen at random but the scaffolding effect makes Ship of Fools so much more powerful a read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 M | 11/28/2012

    " This book was difficult to stomach at times; it is a montage of characters, all of whom are described with such merciless realism, that it is easy to hate them all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly | 9/28/2012

    " finally read porter's masterwork novel. amazing! there isn't really much of a story arc and the action that does happen never builds into any sort of crescendo, but the interweaving of characters is wonderful to get caught up in. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angelina | 9/13/2012

    " I lost track of the characters a few times. I think a few could have stood to be removed altogether and the rest expanded. Interesting read though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan | 8/11/2012

    " Brilliant character development and insight on human nature. Wow! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kris | 7/17/2012

    " I put this book down 3/4 of the way through about 3 years ago. Porter does such an excellent job of creating characters that it only took one page before I was right back where I left off! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Theresa | 4/29/2012

    " Great writing, memorable cast of characters, sharp humor. Porter presents an unrelentingly bleak view of human nature. Maybe this view would be hard to refute, maybe we are all deluded by ourselves. But whew! that was a long voyage. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ma'lis Wendt | 12/16/2011

    " I found this book slow to read and never learned to care about any of the characters. It read like a screen play, but never really engaged my attention. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christy | 4/12/2011

    " Lots of details and less story line. Kinda' hard to read! Never finished, sad to say! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brittney Urban | 3/31/2011

    " It was really interesting, so many plot lines though, I felt like I should have taken notes of everyone's relationships. Might have added to my experience if I could have remembered all that was disclosed. Overall, it was good! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ayun | 3/15/2011

    " My favorite ever. Though John Steinbeck and Truman Capote may cry foul.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teryl | 2/12/2010

    " I would love to read this again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie | 8/17/2009

    " I liked it because I like stories about sea voyages, but not a very happy book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meave | 8/8/2009

    " It started out slow, but I'd heard it was very good so I stuck it out and was pretty well rewarded. Not the pleasantest story, but an interesting one, well told. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leah | 7/7/2009

    " This book could not be more aptly titled. Everyone on the boat is, in fact, a fool. I just wished that some of them had been more engaging fools. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly | 6/30/2009

    " finally read porter's masterwork novel. amazing! there isn't really much of a story arc and the action that does happen never builds into any sort of crescendo, but the interweaving of characters is wonderful to get caught up in. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kay | 4/20/2009

    " This truly is a masterpiece. The writing is so exceptional that you find yourself pausing and rereading a sentence. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rhoda | 3/22/2009

    " One of those chance matches to recently read Der Fuehrer. Both books were chosen at random but the scaffolding effect makes Ship of Fools so much more powerful a read. "

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About the Author
Author Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Anne Porter (1890–1980) was born in Indian Creek, Texas. Though also an accomplished journalist and essayist, she remains best known as a master of the short story and as the author of her first and only novel, Ship of Fools. Her Collected Stories (The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter) won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. She was appointed to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1966.

About the Narrator

Grace Conlin (1962–1997) was the recording name of Grainne Cassidy, an award-winning actress and acclaimed narrator. She was a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC, and won a Helen Hayes Award in 1988 for her role in Woolly Mammoth’s production of Savage in Limbo.