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Winesburg, Ohio

Narrated by: George Guidall
Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

Winesburg, Ohio is a little-known masterpiece that forever changed the course of American storytelling. Bittersweet and richly insightful, it reveals Sherwood Anderson’s special talent for taking the small moments of life and transforming them into timeless folk tales - a talent that inspired a generation of writers including William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck.

At the center of this collection of stories stands George Willard, an earnest young reporter for the Winesburg Eagle who sets out to gather the town’s daily news. He ends up discovering the town’s deepest secrets as one by one, the townsfolk confide their hopes, dreams, and fears to the reporter. In their recollections of first loves and last rites, of sprawling farms and winding country roads, the town rises vividly - and poignantly - to life.

With polished prose and fresh imagery, Winesburg, Ohio is an American classic that celebrates small-town life in the lost days of innocence and good will.

Public Domain (P)1995 Recorded Books, LLC

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Profile Image for Darwin8u
  • Darwin8u
  • 27-06-13

Isolation, Loneliness, Love & Midwest Grotesque

This is one of those important novels I would have probably passed over or missed if Sherwood Anderson wasn't mentioned in so many lists--and if so many authors I admire (Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, O'Connor, McCarthy) didn't mention him as an influence or inspiration.

There is something beautiful about every single sentence that Anderson writes. Some of the stories in 'Winesburg, Ohio' (Death, Loneliness, the Strength of God, Godliness, and Adventure) were nearly perfect. Others, while they might not have hit me as hard as those five, were still almost uniformly beautiful and interesting. Like waves beating rhythmically against a wall, Anderson's stories seemed to gently deliver a message from the universe of the grotesque. Ideas of isolation, loneliness, love and the need to reach out to others (to find love or understanding) float from one story to the next and weave the various plots of the twenty-two short stories together. 'Winesburg, Ohio' is a great piece of American fiction and an amazing piece of 2oth century art.

41 of 42 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Ted
  • Ted
  • 19-06-16

An unusual, mannered performance -- but brilliant

Though it may outwardly resemble Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A., the rural town of Winesburg, in this famous collection of related short stories, is far from quaint and pastoral; rather, it's a hotbed of thwarted dreams, stifled passions, and suicidal loneliness. Anderson couldn't write explicitly about sex in those days, but it's a central element in many of the lives he examines, most of them tragic. There's so much misery in this community, so many painful or twisted emotions bubbling beneath the proper surface of daily life, that the stories seem at times almost self-parodies. (The style invites parody and has indeed been parodied.)

What sets this audiobook apart is the amazing performance that George Guidall gives. All I can say is that his reading is extremely unusual, extremely mannered, all the more so if you try listening to it, as I did, played at half speed. His delivery is somber and portentous, emphasizing every single word, and every single sentence somehow reads like a death sentence, ending on a somber, despairing note. I don't know how Anderson would have felt about it, but I think it's a brilliant performance that brings out the best in the stories.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for David
  • David
  • 01-01-19

Another destination resolved

I was not familiar with this work before making the commitment to consume all Top 100 picks from the New York Times Modern Library but found it an interesting selection.

Set in a small Midwest town at the Turn of the 20th Century and published in 1919, Winesburg, Ohio is sculpted as a series of vignettes about various people in the town commonly linked to George Willard, sole reporter of the Winesburg Eagle. Though there is an actual Winesburg, the town presented actually bears a closer resemblance to the author's home town of Clyde, OH.

Each of the short stories ultimately weave into George's story as he wrestles with his instincts to stay in a small town where he feels emotionally and psychologically abandoned even though he has always resided in his mother's boarding house.

It has been variously adapted for film and stage but I have seen none and, to be frank, won't likely actively seek out. Like some of the other selections in the Modern Library Top 100, such as Sons and Lovers and To The Lighthouse, the work didn't engage me as I had hoped though critically acclaimed by the likes of Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft, Henry Miller and Philip Roth. Perhaps I'll give her another go down the road.

On a personal note, this is my 40th book completed for the year. I will say that the ending is lovely for both the book and for me as we are where we hoped to be at the end of our respective literary sojourns.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Rich
  • Rich
  • 25-08-17

Pieces of You - Probably Better in Print

I wanted to like 'Winesburg', but this book is probably better in print.

- There are zero seconds between chapters. That doesn't sound like a huge deal, but I promise: it gets annoying fast, and seriously takes away from your internalization of what you just read.
- I'm not a fan of Guidall's narration for this title. With all the different characters and disjoint scenes, the stories feel like one homogeneous blur. And it shouldn't.

'Winesburg' presents some great unspoken honesty into the human condition. Some of the scenes are real gems: the priest/Kate Swift/George Willard sequence, the married men in the cornfield, the final chapters with Helen and George. Perhaps this title will grow on me with time. If I read it again, it will be after a trip to the library/bookstore.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • T. Lucas
  • 14-08-19

A classic classic

This book is a classic. It was near first of its kind but it continues to stand up. Humanity changes little. These people may dress in century old clothes, some re-emerging again now, but human foibles are unchanged. The reading, and I don't like the word"performance," is superb. It is even and emotionally unemotional. I say this as complement but this is a stand by to help me sleep. And that is truly a plus. So, overall an important book, a touch of humanity, a little bit of Alice Munro from many days back. A truly wonderful reader completes the package.

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Profile Image for Julie W. Capell
  • Julie W. Capell
  • 29-10-13

Maybe it's a classic, but not for me

Got about halfway through and the book just wasn't grabbing my interest. The preponderance of male protagonists bored me and the backhanded treatment of the female characters irritated me so much I just couldn't finish it.

Two notes: The cover art is wrong . . . it really is Winesburg, Ohio. And the audio is not as well edited as I would like. What I take to be the titles of the individual stories are spoken so quickly after the end of the previous story as to be easily mistaken as the continuation of the same story. It seems like a little thing, but it was really quite annoying to listen to.

11 of 23 people found this review helpful