The Scientists: A Family Romance Audiobook, by Marco Roth Play Audiobook Sample

Download The Scientists: A Family Romance Audiobook

The Scientists: A Family Romance Audiobook, by Marco Roth Play Audiobook Sample
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Author: Marco Roth Narrator: Michael Goldstrom Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Audio Length: Release Date: September 2012 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781481573498

Publisher Description

This is a frank, intelligent, and deeply moving debut memoir.

With the precociousness expected of the only child of a doctor and a classical musician—from the time he could get his toddler tongue to pronounce deoxyribonucleic acid, or recite a French poem—Marco Roth was able to share his parents' New York, a world centered around house concerts, a private library of literary classics, and dinner discussions of the latest advances in medicine. That world ended when his father started to suffer the worst effects of the AIDS virus that had infected him in the early 1980s.

What this family could not talk about for years came to dominate the lives of its surviving members, often in unexpected ways. The Scientists is a story of how we first learn from our parents and how we then learn to see them as separate individuals; it's a story of how growing up quickly can slow us down when it comes to knowing about our desires and other people's. A memoir of parents and children in the tradition of Edmund Gosse, Henry Adams, and J. R. Ackerley, The Scientists grapples with a troubled intellectual and emotional inheritance in a style that is both elegiac and defiant.

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  • “Marco Roth emerged from his privileged NYC childhood like one of Salinger’s precocious Glass children, but Roth’s family was ravaged by secrets, and from it he has written a gorgeous memoir no one will be able to put down—psychologically adroit, precise, moving, one of the best memoirs I’ve read in years.”

    - Mary Karr, New York Times bestselling author
  • “This is the first intellectual autobiography that I’ve read by someone our age in the searching, nineteenth-century tradition of Edmund Gosse or Henry Adams: the autobiography equally of a reader and of a son, grappling with an inheritance that is both intellectual and emotional—an education for our times.”

    - Lorin Stein, editor, Paris Review
  • “[A] powerfully forlorn debut memoir…Roth’s work is a ferocious literary exercise in rage, despair, and artistic self-invention.”

    - Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “Manages to recuperate for our time a certain kind of personal, idiosyncratic, private writing that moves at the speed of an actual very high intelligence. No one in our generation has written anything like this.”

    - Keith Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men
  • “[An] affecting memoir…The book is, among other things, a cautionary tale of a hypertrophied intellectualism that overreacts to any faint threat of sentimentality or child’s logic, and threatens to choke off and kill any spontaneous show of pleasure, passion or affection…The Scientists is an act of love—a circumspect, often bitter, always studious love—and thus an act of both filial piety and defiance.”

    - New York Times Book Review


  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of Fall of Fall 2012
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, September 2012
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A Library Journal Best Book of 2012: Memoir

Customer Reviews

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  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Read this in various locations (parks, rooms, trains) but finished the last few pages in the tiny park at First Ave and Houston about a block from where the author bounds up the subway steps toward the end. I expected to look up and see a 3D projection of Marco turn the corner and bound toward the Lower East Side, conspicuously alleviated, his self-portrayed nervous, self-defeating, self-consciously "intellectual" intelligence at long last chanelled toward specific purposes: this recently published, smart, moving "anti-memoir" about more than his father's HIV contraction and death by AIDS, and his work as co-editor of n+1. Anti-memoir, essay, or whatever it's called, it's a book very much about the interdependent duo of life and text. As such, it's also very much a book about writing a book, and therefore eligible for shelving among other books I've loved like Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling With D.H. Lawrence by Geoff Dyer, Concrete by Thomas Bernhard, Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas, and Bartleby & Co. by Enrique Vila-Matas, among others I can't remember now but will add once I do. I love books about trying (and predominately failing, of course) to write books -- it's probably my favorite literary subgenre, in part because the existence of the book itself suggests a successful struggle. This is an excellent example of the genre, although it's not quite as explicit as those mentioned above. The author traces intricate patterns on a sophisticated, elaborate, endangered foundation of artistic, tempermental, and intellectual inheritance. Hand-wringing involves living up to the expectations of privilege and one's talent and education, and at most matching (if not necessarily surpassing) one's parents' success. Like all worthwhile writing, essay or otherwise, this is primarily a Truth Hunt, with the author presented as fragile literary investigator with a nose for the facts, even/especially if they're abstract realizations achieved via strict scrutiny of serious Russian/European novels his father suggested he read. The investigation takes the author to Paris to study with Derrida (as he learns more about his father's history/orientation, the son's origin/center shifts); to Yale's PhD lit program to assay his father's favorite texts (including "Fathers and Sons") for traces of truth about father and son and to hash out anti-narrative ideas of identity with brilliant/sloshed fellow grad students; and to his ever-changing place of origin, the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It's an investigation that pays off for the author in that this is clearly a book that had to be written, and it's something that had to be written in proper and attentively phrased prose worthy of the author's cultural/famililal legacy and intense literary interest. But it also pays off for readers because of the clarity and intelligence of the prose, the general spirit of erudition lofted by engines of emotion (and vice versa), but also it succeeds as a simple high-lit whodunit (the conclusion of the case I won't reveal). All in all, a brave, intelligent, moving book for telling the story of discerning the truth about the father's tragic story while devising out of aesthetic and emotional necessity the book in the readers' hands. After alleviating his family burden by abstractly avenging his father's death, the son seems ready to trace new patterns across the interdependent pages of life and text. Alt title: "Portrait of the Public Intellectual as a Young Man." "

    - Lee, 1/9/2014
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Very good. I love an interesting family story which is told in 200 pgs. I enjoyed it very much. "

    - Roland, 12/24/2013
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " At times this felt like two different memoirs that were only tenuously connected, but I enjoyed both of them. "

    - Katie, 12/7/2013
  • Overall Performance: 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " For the most part I enjoyed this book although there were sections that I found a little over indulgent. "

    - Steve, 11/13/2013
  • Overall Performance: 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

    " beautiful writing but too self-indulgent for me - i got about halfway through, maybe a little less. "

    - Kali, 10/27/2013
  • Overall Performance: 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Not much of a memoir reader here, but if you like an intellectually charged book, this is the one for you. Fascinating look at a family dynamic growing up in the 80s New York. "

    - Bobby, 8/2/2013
  • Overall Performance: 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

    " Well written and all, but a little too whiny for me. "

    - Nan, 6/13/2013
  • Overall Performance: 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

    " Not my cup of tea... "

    - Jessica, 6/11/2013
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " This is certainly a good read. Though at times, the metaphors between HIV and the author's life seemed a bit forced. Even so, I do recommend it to my fellow readers out there. "

    - Antonio, 6/7/2013
  • Overall Performance: 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

    " This guy came off as completely insufferable. "

    - Judith, 2/26/2013
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Reviewed for ELLE Magazine's Readers' Prize Program (October 2012). "A compelling tale that keeps you guessing until the very end, The Scientists examines how we are our own scientists, discovering truths and finding cures in our own lives." Check out for the rest of my review. "

    - Mary, 2/17/2013
  • Overall Performance: 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Interesting, well written but a bit self- serving . "

    - Audra, 2/10/2013
  • Overall Performance: 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

    " Have to say I was disappointed. Intermittently interesting. Some of the writing was clever, smart and entertaining but was hoping for something more insightful or enlightening. Much of it feels indulgent and self-serving. "

    - Stephen, 12/8/2012

About the Author

Marco Roth was raised amid the vanished liberal culture of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. After studying comparative literature at Columbia and Yale, he helped found the magazine n+1 in 2004. Recipient of the 2011 Shattuck Prize for literary criticism, he lives in Philadelphia.

About the Narrator

Michael Goldstrom is a Juilliard-trained actor and comedian. He has appeared on Comedy Central, HBO, A&E, NBC, and ABC, as well as on and off Broadway. His audiobook narrations have earned several Earphones Awards.