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The Devil and Webster  By  cover art

The Devil and Webster

By: Jean Hanff Korelitz
Narrated by: Kate Burton
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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of You Should Have Known and Admission, a twisty new novel about a college president, a baffling student protest, and some of the most hot-button issues on today's college campuses.

Naomi Roth is the first female president of Webster College, a once-conservative school now known for producing fired-up progressive graduates. So Naomi isn't surprised or unduly alarmed when Webster students begin the fall semester with an outdoor encampment around "The Stump" - a traditional campus gathering place for generations of student activists - to protest a popular professor's denial of tenure. A former student radical herself, Naomi admires the protestors' passion, especially when her own daughter, Hannah, joins their ranks.

Then Omar Khayal, a charismatic Palestinian student with a devastating personal history, emerges as the group's leader, and the demonstration begins to consume Naomi's life, destabilizing Webster College from the inside out. As the crisis slips beyond her control, Naomi must take increasingly desperate measures to protect her friends, colleagues, and family from an unknowable adversary.

Touching on some of the most topical and controversial concerns at the heart of our society, this riveting novel examines the fragility that lies behind who we think we are - and what we think we believe.

©2017 Jean Hanff Korelitz (P)2017 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about The Devil and Webster

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Disappointing!

I've tried for months to get into this book without success. It goes on and on and takes forever to get anywhere...and the narrator is rather depressing. I am going to return it.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent.

The audio is well produced, the narration amazing, the writing just defines the term 'excellent'.

1 person found this helpful

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Another compelling character study

Bought this after reading a few others by Korelitz. I find her characters to be completely fascinating; her writing frequently puts the listener right inside the mind of the character. This novel centers on a woman, Naomi Roth, who is the first female president of a small northeastern liberal arts college. Her conflicts with a group of dissenting students (privileged and misguided in their thinking) reveal much about race, ethnicity and being “woke” in academia today. Her relationship with her daughter, a student at the same college, is loving, complicated, and real. I found the first few chapters a bit hard to focus on, but stick with it and it will come together. Narration was perfect; she captured Naomi Roth in all her uncertainties, fears, outrage, intelligence and wry humor.

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Excellent look into the academic world

I bought this book by mistake. I was looking for the classic short story, the devil and Daniel Webster. I did listen to it, and enjoyed it.

I still wonder whether this book was intended as an indictment against the thoughts and attitudes of a liberal academic. Or if these really enjoy thinking about themselves this way.

The supposed protagonist more than a little shallow and self serving. Her family and friends are despicable, angry and lack thankfulness for their good fortune.

The few clear headed characters are represented as contemptible. What the book really lacks is a hero. All the characters seem to be at least to some degree villainous.

I guess I enjoyed listening because the book reinforced my biases about the woke culture and decadent nature of institutions.

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Good

nteresting characters and subject matter, but needs tighter editing. The characters often overreact and/or ignore the obvious in order to artificially ratchet up the drama. The motivations and methods of those who “lie big“ are unfortunately not explored, and the behavior of the character embodying this is inconsistent, making him nothing more than a plot device. The writing is very good in parts, and the narrator does the bits of dry humor well.

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Good Higher Education Leadership Case

This book reminds me of an updated version of The University by Rosovsky. it's great to have a modern day example albeit using somewhat fictitious characters. The author did her research and provided us with meaningful law, higher education, and policy cases to consider. This is a very timely book and I appreciate the aubile version.

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A stunning novel; a brilliant performance

A most insightful journey into the privileged world of Ivy League academia. This novel has everything. It’s witty; it’s smart; it’s enlightening ; it’s moving and it has the pace of a psychological thriller.
Kate Burton catches every nuance in a tour-de-force performance that brings this great work to palpable life.





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Good performance, sloppy editing

The narrator's performance was engaging, but the audiobook contains several retakes that had not been edited out. Usually these are short (just a few words or single sentence), but it gets annoying when it happens repeatedly in an otherwise good reading.

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The Devil and Webster

If you like the academic world and the complexity of scholarly, political, historical, and social dynamics, this is a great read! The narrator is supremely accomplished in her use of inflection as it informs the reader of the lead character's (the Webster College president) varying perspectives. Full of range and nuance. My only criticism of the story is the too-easily-passed-over reality of tenure decision confidentiality which, if fully highlighted by the college president, would have calmed the waters. Yet this flaw in plotting enables the unfolding of a dramatic story of campus life that would otherwise not have been told.

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Identity politics can poison an open mind.

This book is an excellent illustration of when the beauty and necessity of youthful idealism is corrupted by charismatic self promoters. The story of a college president struggling with the illogical means of modern protest while simultaneously coming to terms with the fact that she is not one of them.

Identity politics runs amok on today's campuses. The devil and Webster is a perfect synopsis of the negative impact it can have on today's youth.