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Hardcover Listen: A Memoir Book

ISBN: 1596910836

ISBN13: 9781596910836

Listen: A Memoir

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Poetic and haunting, Listen is an artfully rendered memoir that recounts the author's relationship with her brilliant and abusive father. Listen is a memoir of voices, the voices of parents that... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Abuse, pain and love

This is a brilliant book. At its heart is the author's devotion to her father (including her presence at his bedside as he died) despite his abuse of her and the damage it caused. I can't think of anything in literature which so daringly combines the experience of sexual abuse, pain and love. The memoir is an extraordinary combination of prose and poetry. In the prose sections, the author comes across as an observer, as if she were a passenger in a car driven by her parents. Only in the poetry does she reveal her inner feelings. In the chapter, "Undoing the Spell," which is nearly all poetry, the author becomes most revealing about her pain and its source. One must admire her bravery. In creating the image of her father, Victor, she has depicted a monster, but without recourse to superlatives or even description of her subjective response. Her style of painting pictures with dialogue, so that it comes across as purely objective is stunning. Somewhere towards the end of the book, she has her mother, Lillian, say something like, "Why should I wear my hearing aid when I'm only going to be talking" - which makes the reader gasp, and points up the intent of the title.

Poetry within Prose - beautifully written

I could scarcely breathe during sections of the book. The haunting "tap,tap" the repetitive "gray, yellow, pink" boosted the emotional pitch of the content. I loved the beauty of the writing - the mixing of poetry and prose. Being of the same age and era and one of 3 daughters, I recognize much of what sounds funny now: parental worry about cost of phone calls, wanting daughters to be married, the conversations about hometown people long forgotten and/or never known. My sorrow for the author is for the lack of a loving, supportive, admiring mother which lack led to inappropriate love from a father.

an innovative memoir

I loved, and admired how Listen lacked the "I see, I feel, I know, I process" so ubiquitous in memoir, in lieu of allowing us as readers to uncomfortably, necessarily, inhabit Salinger's space, and hear the clash and overwhelming sound of these two powerful, painful, shaping voices. The amount of empathy and love with which Salinger is able to render these voices dramatically is astounding. I was so moved, impressed, and grateful. I too read it in 4 days.

Such a sad story so well told.

Wonderfully written, riveting reading, a sad story, cathartic I am sure but horrific none the less. I really liked the freshness and vividness of the language. No cliches here. The story is not a one sided rant. It is way more nuanced. Given what happens, how could she be so kind to him as he is dying? How could she credit him for putting the pen in her hand? How could she do anything other than just hate?

Moving, Funny, and Stylish

It could be put simply--"Listen" is an account of father-daughter incest--but the whole point of this remarkable memoir is that it can't be put simply. What Salinger is out to demonstrate is that secrecy and abuse necessarily unsettle how the young perceive the world and--more to the point for a poet like Salinger--how they hear and use language. "Listen" enacts that insight; it embodies the strange speech of adults trying to keep their story going even as it makes less and less sense. It is a stylish work, then, or rather a work about style, about styles of speech. And the style speeds things along rather than slowing them down. "Listen" has an forward-moving energy throughout and it is often very funny. Each vignette is like a well-sung tune or a well-told joke, and the reader keeps wanting to hear just one more. Salinger has a wonderful ear for the ways in which families weave wordy webs about themselves that are meant to be self-protecting but are in fact odd, leaky, and preposterous.
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