• The Ghost Writer

  • The Nathan Zuckerman Series, Book 1
  • By: Philip Roth
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
  • Length: 4 hrs and 31 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (305 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Ghost Writer introduces Nathan Zuckerman in the 1950s, a budding writer infatuated with the great books, discovering the contradictory claims of literature and experience while an overnight guest in the secluded New England farmhouse of his idol, E. I. Lonoff.

At Lonoff's, Zuckerman meets Amy Bellette, a haunting young woman of indeterminate foreign background who turns out to be a former student of Lonoff's and who may also have been his mistress. Zuckerman, with his active, youthful imagination, wonders if she could be the paradigmatic victim of Nazi persecution. If she were, it might change his life.

The first volume in the Zuckerman Bound trilogy and epilogue, The Ghost Writer is about the tensions between literature and life, artistic truthfulness and conventional decency - and about those implacable practitioners who live with the consequences of sacrificing one for the other.

©1979 Philip Roth (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Ghost Writer

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  • DM
  • 09-13-18

The beginning of Nathan Zuckerman

Wonderful story. Read it years ago. I have read everything by Roth, decided to listen to them a second time around. Fun to see where Nathan began, and then to watch him develop as well Roth through all these novels! Philip and Nathan will be missed, luckily we can turn on an audible when we need a fix! Enjoyed the narrator.

5 people found this helpful

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Turning Sentences Around

“I know the kind of man I am and the kind of writer. I have my own kind of bravery, and please, let’s leave it at that.”
― Philip Roth, The Ghost Writer

I've read a ton of Roth, but have yet to really engage the Zuckerman series. The Ghost Writer is book one in the four book cycle Zuckerman Bound:

1. The Ghost Writer (1979)
2. Zuckerman Unbound (1981)
3. The Anatomy Lesson (1983)
4. The Prague Orgy (1985)

It is hard to engage some of the more specific reasons WHY I loved this book -- without giving away some of the more the dramatic elements. However, within that constraint I CAN say I loved how Roth explores both what it means to be a Jewish writer (with all the expectations that come with that occupation in a post-holocaust world) and what it means to be a fiction writer period. How art reflects life and life is impacted by the work and the flow of art. There are few living writers whose output I respect more than Philip Roth, and while I don't think his 80s novels stand up entirely to later novels, he is still stretching the limits of prose and dangling ideas and situations that are both entertaining and almost absurd.

18 people found this helpful

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Better Than Reading It Myself!

I usually have not enjoyed audible books; however, this narrator made me stay in the moment and made most-likely-tedious portions rather not so much. This narration was movie-like, what with the insertion of the Zuckerman family history as well as the 'Amy' back-story. I enjoyed the voice characterizations by which each person was portrayed . I must say, I was sad for the story to end and surprised by the book's intrigue and suspenseful plot twists. It's probably because I'm not a writer that I didn't understand the title choice. This experience makes me want to download the Zuckerman trilogy from Audible!

2 people found this helpful

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So boring

I am a Philip Roth fan but I was bored with this book. Maybe the Zuckerman novels are not for me. I didn’t finish this one but there is no option to return it. When did they change that?

1 person found this helpful

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Intro to Roth

This was my first taste of Roth, and it DEFINITELY won't be my last. I started out by really liking the book - the general, honest depictions of being a human in the U.S.A. after WWII, and more specifically, a Jew in that time and place that did not personally go through the persecution in Germany. What it means to take liberties in being yourself as well as artistically and how that can affect your family and community. Very funny in an everyday sort of way, imaginative and unpredictable. By the end I loved it rather than liked, and will 100% be reading more Roth.

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Revelation

Believe it or not it’s thought provoking . Reminded me of the movie Anastasia . U’ll have to listen to under stand . About to embark on the whole Zuckerman series . Can’t wait !

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Disappointed

Very thin content, restating the obvious, enough material for an article, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d into a book. No subtlety. I lasted for about a quarter of the book before deleting it.

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Writers must listen

At some point in your development as a writer you worshiped an author and not only thought if I could just use words the way they did, or create stories with their passion, or develop characters that acted the way theirs did, or ...This is the story to put yourself in. Just become Nate and let your own hero worship begin.

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Difficult book

No problem with the narrator, but it is just a difficult book to understand. Philip roth was a fabulous author but not for the easily distracted

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. Buckley
  • 12-28-21

Middling Roth, terribly read.

Typically sloppy Blackstone production. Totally inappropriate vanilla actor who doesn't get Roth at all. Bad.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-27-21

No story

Random, scattered scenes and thoughts. Waste of time. Like reading someones notes on ideas for a novel.