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Publisher's Summary

Now an Academy Award-winning Netflix film by Jane Campion, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst: Thomas Savage's acclaimed Western is "a pitch-perfect evocation of time and place" (Boston Globe) for fans of East of Eden and Brokeback Mountain.

Set in the wide-open spaces of the American West, The Power of the Dog is a stunning story of domestic tyranny, brutal masculinity, and thrilling defiance from one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in American literature. The novel tells the story of two brothers—one magnetic but cruel, the other gentle and quiet—and of the mother and son whose arrival on the brothers’ ranch shatters an already tenuous peace. From the novel’s startling first paragraph to its very last word, Thomas Savage’s voice—and the intense passion of his characters—holds listeners in thrall.

"Gripping and powerful...A work of literary art." —Annie Proulx, from her afterword

©2009 Thomas Savage (P)2021 Little, Brown & Company
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

Featured Article: All the Best Literary Screen Adaptations to Stream in 2021


There is so much to look forward to in film and TV this year—and so much audio to make you the ultimate insider. You may be surprised by how many movies and TV shows were adapted from excellent audiobooks. Get ready to dig in, because this covers just about every great adaptation for 2021, and then some. Find something great in this guide whether you listen before you watch or take a deep dive after the credits roll.

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What listeners say about The Power of the Dog

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Abrupt Ending and Hard to Follow Story

I found the story hard to follow at points. The author does a wonderful job character building but I felt that the ending was very very abrupt and confusing. There was little to no segway into the end and I had to rewind the book to see if I missed something.

44 people found this helpful

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Quick listen

Personally I found the book boring. Sometimes it was difficult to follow the reader and know who was saying what. There is a lot of chatter back and forth among characters but it’s not really interesting and I didn’t find the story engaging either.

40 people found this helpful

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Loved the performance of this book

I’m not familiar with Chad Michael Collins, as an actor but his reading extended my imagination and evocation of the book. I listen to books often these days, and it used to be that some books were ruined by what I now do absolutely view as performances, but audio books have gotten constantly better. Often they could not compete with the voice in my head, or they clashed horribly with what I wanted to hear. Chad Michael Collins has the correct voice to narrate this book, or maybe more importantly he has the voice that extends the meaning of the book. His vaguely western intonation and its authoritative depth brought to mind the time and place of a western landscape to my mind compelling me to listen late into the night. This is a story about masculinity, and the voice with it’s rich masculine rasp is like a confession of hubris. It felt like the author’s voice telling this story. The events in the story are dramatic, while all the drama is withheld and suppressed, the reading is exactly that.

40 people found this helpful

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Stunning

This book is masterfully written. I love that I did not at all see what was coming in the ending and that made all the more beautiful to me. I will hold this incredible work with me dearly as it truly is a magnificent story. Also, I enjoyed the narration very much. The slow even pace at fist made me wonder if I would come to think it monotonous. Instead, it became almost spooky as I began to feel a sense of coming dread. Wonderful wonderful book.

33 people found this helpful

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A Good Read

I saw the movie and thought that there might be more depth in the book. So I went to Audible and here it is and it’s well done and beautifully written. It helped me appreciate the way the Director fleshed out some things that are not overtly discussed in the book and I found some other things to appreciate in the story that are not addressed in the film. I highly recommend this reading. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

31 people found this helpful

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Beautiful writing on a tragic story

A brilliant and amazing story, especially in character development. The depiction urges me to read. The narrator was so great in telling the story. The ending makes me shocked and sad though, highly recommend it!

23 people found this helpful

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Intelligent novel

I choose this book because I saw the movie. It is as excellent as the movie. A must-read!

20 people found this helpful

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Captivating

Terrific experience- engrossing and meaningful- could not put it down! Very happy to spend the entire day with it!

16 people found this helpful

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Captivating

Never written a review before, but I am compelled to say that I was engrossed from the first sentence to the last. I’ve always liked character-driven books, but this one really delivers character interiority that dominates and builds excellent tension that kept me captivated without much action. The narrator is a great match for the text with a handsomely rugged voice. Definitely one to recommend.

13 people found this helpful

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wonderful

This is not my genre of interest at all but after viewing the movie on Netflix, I wanted to know more background of each character.
I was simply enthralled by the novel. Thomas Savage writes so beautifully and deeply he had me longing for more. I felt like I was right there in those mountains feeling so cold. The book is better than the movie and the movie is outstanding. Pace may be a little slow in the movie but that is all Jane.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Waggy From Derby
  • 06-07-22

superb plot

20s American ranchers, great landscape descriptions, great characterisation, and a story with an amazing twist.

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  • Sweetsweep
  • 02-12-22

Complex and powerful

I enjoyed this novel far more than I thought I would. I approached it with some trepidation as the cowboy genre is not my usual reading. I like to read (or listen these days) the book before I watch a film of it and I’m very glad I did. It gives a gripping psychological description of the characters, particularly Phil, along with beautiful descriptions of the harsh landscape. I’m looking forward to watching Jane Campion’s film even more than I was.
I thought it was wonderful but I nowadays only give five stars to books I find truly exceptional. The narration is excellent.

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  • Ann
  • 12-29-21

Read the book ; see the film

This is the first time I have seen the film and then read the book and found both incomparable.
Jane Campion is a genius filmmaker (view in the cinema not streamed).
Savage’s original, complex study, superbly read, is mesmerising and stimulating.
With The Power of the Dog the written word and cinematic experience are different but true to the tale. This is a book I will listen too again.

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  • S. Bradford
  • 11-26-21

Absolutely Essential Reading

This book is amazing. A stunning insight into the Montana ranch life in the early twentieth century. Phil is an electrifying character. He leaps off the page, so visceral you can almost smell him. Finding out what makes him tick, what makes him into this thoroughly horrible, misogynistic bully. The story builds so gradually and with each chapter, you find it even more compelling.

The narrator is brilliant and performs this exceptional book so wonderfully, he really brings it to life. The afterword by Annie Proulx is an interesting insight into the life of the author and the powerful imagery that makes this book essential reading.

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  • Marcus
  • 10-27-21

Extraordinary

It will be an extraordinary challenge to make a film that captures the beauty of this book.

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  • Fiona Gregory
  • 01-31-22

The Power of the Savage

The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage

“Having closed the little door and hidden away the little key, George would again look straight into the face of the clock and then at his accurate pocket watch.

And that was that! But wonderful to watch.

It was more than watching a man wind a full clock. It was watching a man seeing to it that things went on the way that they had. And always would.”

Into this undisturbed and familiar landscape of the Burbank brothers comes the unlikely and transformative figure of a woman. Brother George is enamoured with his new wife. Older Brother Phil is livid.

Set mostly on the Burbank ranch in rural Montana in 1925, the narrative is a delight to read. And a compulsory companion to the Jane Campion adaptation released in 2021.

Annie Proulx, who writes the afterword, places it amongst other great American novels from the early 20th Century.

The Track of the Cat - Walter Van Tilburg Clark

The Big Rock Candy Mountain - Wallace Stegner

New Wine - Katherine Ann Porter

3 people found this helpful

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  • Pinella
  • 03-18-22

Good guy / bad guy book.

This story is full to the brim with unlikeable but amazingly real characters and no real heroes. Whilst the story is set post WW1, this could easily fit into 2022 as it seems to me that attitudes haven't really changed that much. Phil is a nasty piece of work - a brilliant mind but racist, sexist and a bully with underlying mental health issues. Peter has learned to manage what appears to be autism. George goes quietly about his life but does show some steel when it's something he really wants, in particular, Rose. Rose is intimidated by everyone including her son. We all know these people.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Phil Dungan
  • 05-30-22

an interesting finish

not my type of story found it boring but we at least listened to the end .

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  • db3772243
  • 05-04-22

just ok

I must have missed something as I am yet to hear anything that would make me think phil was a homosexual.

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  • Pam
  • 04-03-22

fantastic

A great book. I had to binge listen. had me wanting more. want to see the movie now.

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  • Shane O'Bryan
  • 01-09-22

Great accompaniment to the very good movie

So good to go behind the motivations for the characters. Stick around for the bonus material at the end 👍

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-12-21

Loved it!

An amazing story, skilfully told. Narration was perfect and the afterword a delightful bonus.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason E. King
  • 09-11-21

A marvellous old tale

You have to think hard to follow the undertones and meaning of the book. It’s a beautiful poetic look at the times and repressed homosexuality- every detail written almost like poetry.

Can’t wait to see the movie when it’s released!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-03-21

Thoroughly engaging

Direct clear prose that manages to create nuanced believable characters.

You will want to listen to it in one sitting.

I won’t view a willow tree in the same way ever again.