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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,520 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Norman Mailer Narrator: Harris Yulin Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2007 ISBN: 9780743566742
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No career in modern American letters is at once so brilliant, varied, and controversial as that of Norman Mailer. In a span of more than six decades, Mailer has searched into subjects ranging from World War II to Ancient Egypt, from the march on the Pentagon to Marilyn Monroe, from Henry Miller and Muhammad Ali to Jesus Christ. Now, in his first major work of fiction in more than a decade, The Castle in the Forest offers what may be Mailer’s consummate literary endeavor: he has set out to explore the evil of Adolf Hitler.

The narrator, a mysterious SS man in possession of some extraordinary secrets, takes the young Adolf from birth through his adolescence. En route, revealing portraits are offered of Hitler’s father and mother, and his sisters and brothers.

A tapestry of unforgettable characters, The Castle in the Forest delivers its myriad twists and surprises with astonishing insight into the nature of the struggle between good and evil that exists in all of us. At its core is a hypothesis that is employed with stunning originality. Now, on the eve of his eighty-fourth birthday, Norman Mailer may well be saying more than he ever has before.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This remarkable novel about the young Adolf Hitler, his family, and their shifting circumstances, is Mailer’s most perfect apprehension of the absolutely alien…Mailer doesn’t inhabit these historical figures so much as possess them…Mailer the wild empathizer, the maestro of the human ego, is keen and blunt about…what, in effect, are the deceptively homey psychological origins of evil.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Terrifically creepy…Mailer has an inclusive vision of evil, one that embraces nurture, nature, and supernatural demonic forces, all of which come together in that perfect storm over the spin-and-span Hitler home…An icy and convincing portrait of the dictator as a young sociopath.” 

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Mailer’s great strengths as a novelist shine: his feeling for character and detail, his empathy for the unworthy and the sly, his wit…Mailer knows Hitler’s life intimately…and his insights and intuition into how that warped mind was influenced and grew are genuinely intriguing.” 

    Washington Post

  • “Saturated with a very material sense of evil: The moods, textures, auras, and above all the smells that announce the entrance of the Devil into earthly affairs.” 

    Boston Globe

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Derek | 2/19/2014

    " Well-written and exhaustively researched, but felt like it lacked some sort of conclusion. The premise was fascinating, but there were no great truths, no secrets revealed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy Deyo | 2/12/2014

    " I've never made it through a Norman Mailer book before so this is an accomplishment for me. Very interesting take on the youth of Adolf Hitler and a reminder how Satan works, and walks, among us all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gunnar | 2/9/2014

    " What a sick bastard. I'm of course talking about Norman Mailer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Giroux | 2/9/2014

    " It's unfortunate that Norman Mailer passed away before he could finish what was supposed to be a trilogy. A fictional look into Adolph Hitler's childhood. "

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

    " This book was well written but very slow. I purchased it two years ago and I still haven't finished the thing. I fell asleep somewhere between Hitler being a naughty boy and his father being a bee keeper. At least that is what I think was going on. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Travis Dalke | 1/14/2014

    " Very strange yet interesting book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kent Newcome | 1/11/2014

    " Started reading this January 4, 2011. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Angela | 1/4/2014

    " I'm still reading this and it's quite strange...not sure what I would have to say about it besides that (and the fact that it's jam-packed with incest). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matus Miksik | 12/30/2013

    " after The Naked And The Dead, this was a huge disappointment for me... an interesting thought maybe, but nothing more "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sami | 12/21/2013

    " This had quite interesting premise, but didn't seem to go anywhere. I gave up somewhere before page 150. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 joelene | 12/8/2013

    " I actually listened to this on audio. Picked it up at the library mainly because I saw Norman Mailer. The decision turned out to be a mistake. Not sure what to think really except that if there was a half star option I would have given it that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna Bear | 12/7/2013

    " One of my top favorites. Such a good read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ryan | 10/17/2013

    " I gave up after a few chapeters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barry | 7/6/2013

    " i really enjoyed this book. Mailer put a face and reason behind the world's most evil man. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Carolyn | 5/3/2013

    " Read about 150 pages and finally decided to stop (too many other good things to read). Was greatly bothered by Mailer's the-Devil-made-me-do-it approach. Besides, I had to keep up with my tradition of never finishing a Norman Mailer book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Northington | 8/1/2011

    " Forgive me for the following cliche: This was a page-turner. Also forgive me for the fact that this book happened to be about Adolf Hitler. Insightful, hilarious, tongue-biting, and overall genius. I actually punched in late a few times for wont of reading on my lunch break at work. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Terry Gorman | 6/16/2011

    " An interesting read, but didn't hold my interest well. Felt like I was slogging through it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ana | 5/17/2011

    " Complicated story, and I wish it would have lasted longer, let's say at least through Hitler's twentysomething years.. It stopped right where his actual life should have started! But it was a very good book, i could not let it out of my hand. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 5/8/2011

    " Forgive me for the following cliche: This was a page-turner. Also forgive me for the fact that this book happened to be about Adolf Hitler. Insightful, hilarious, tongue-biting, and overall genius. I actually punched in late a few times for wont of reading on my lunch break at work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kmkoppy | 4/21/2011

    " A bazaar book. Not one of Mailer's best! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 4/7/2011

    " Very interesting, dark book about Hitler as a boy. Disturbing, but fascinating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Toni | 3/21/2011

    " This is a strange but interesting story of Hitler's childhood and events that lead up to his birth. It is told from the perspective of what one might call a demon -- one assigned to oversee his progress. Very unusual but it was, after all, written by Norman Mailer. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kaworu | 1/22/2011

    " Interesting premise (devil observes life of young Hitler) but very bizarre and dull digressions. Lots of talk about piss and Nicholas II. Come on, Norman, you could've done better than this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kent | 1/18/2011

    " Started reading this January 4, 2011. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marc | 12/19/2010

    " Captivating and masterfully written. The one disappointment is that Mailer intended this book, his last before he died, to be the first of a trilogy. In that sense, the ending may seem unsatisfying, but the rest of it is so great that it hardly makes a difference. I loved this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barry | 11/26/2010

    " i really enjoyed this book. Mailer put a face and reason behind the world's most evil man. "

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About the Author
Author Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer (1923–2007) wrote more than thirty books, including The Naked and the Dead; The Armies of the Night, for which he won a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; The Executioner’s Song, for which he won his second Pulitzer Prize; Harlot’s Ghost; Oswald’s Tale; The Gospel According to the Son; and The Castle in the Forest. He was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He was one of the cofounders of The Village Voice.

About the Narrator

Harris Yulin is an Emmy-nominated stage, film, and television actor who is best known for his work in Scarface, Training Day, Rush Hour 2, and his appearances in Frasier, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Law & Order. He has also directed a number of plays, including This Lime Tree Bower, Don Juan in Hell, and Intimacy.