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Publisher's Summary

Nightwood, Djuna Barnes's strange and sinuous tour de force novel unfolds in the decadent shadows of Europe's great cities, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna - a world in which the boundaries of class, religion, and sexuality are bold but surprisingly porous.

The outsized characters who inhabit this world are some of the most memorable in all of fiction - there is Guido Volkbein, the Wandering Jew and son of a self-proclaimed baron; Robin Vote, the American expatriate who marries him and then engages in a series of affairs, first with Nora Flood and then with Jenny Petherbridge, driving all of her lovers to distraction with her passion for wandering alone in the night; and there is Dr. Matthew-Mighty-Grain-of-Salt-Dante-O'Connor, a transvestite and ostensible gynecologist, whose digressive speeches brim with fury, keen insights, and surprising allusions.

Barnes's depiction of these characters and their relationships has made the novel a landmark of feminist and lesbian literature.

©1937 Djuna Barnes; preface copyright 2006 by Jeanette Winterson (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about Nightwood

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    4 out of 5 stars

A book like a person... in a novel

Nightwood is somehow what you always dream the European you will fall in love will be like--beautiful, bitter, erotic, too intelligent, even a little repulsive. Of course, you got this idea from books in the first place, but until you read Nightwood, you have never read all this distilled into a single book so potent that a few sentences can make you feel drunk... or as you imagine being drunk is... Yes, in many ways this is a book about imagination and desire and Gemma Dawson's slightly smoky narration doesn't hurt that tone. #Audible1

1 person found this helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 2020-01-18

The unendurable is the beginning of the curve...

“The unendurable is the beginning of the curve of joy.”
- Djuna Barnes, Nightwood

I listened to this novel one night as I drove from Phoenix to Las Vegas. It was ominously dark, beautiful and creepy. I guess that equally applies to the book as to the drive. Art exists when something can be both creepy and beautiful at the same time. This isn't David Lynch, but I can imagine few other directors directing this book into a movie. Nightwood also gave my The Alexandria Quartet vibes. Barnes like Durrell can capture the humanity of freaks and outcasts. She can disturb you and seduce you at the same time. I can see veins of Nightwood web through the later novels by Patricia Highsmith. As a CIS white male, reading books like Nightwood are useful. They give me a glimpse or shade of an experience that is completely foreign to mine. But, I'm not sure how far to extend that because at times, reading Nightwood felt like I was traveling through a nightmare drunk. I was disoriented, disturbed, and on shifting literary sand. But I have rarely read something that felt more like a trip.

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  • Keeano Agustiadi
  • 2020-03-06

Eloquent

It was really hard to understand but listening to it helped my poetic language for English class.

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  • Andreia
  • 2021-03-22

Great piece of literature, AWFUL narration

There is virtually no inflection in the narrator’s voice, it is so monotone and robotic ): Even Siri sounds more human reading me today’s weather than this narrator sounded throughout the course of the audiobook. So unfortunate

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  • VeeThyme
  • 2021-01-20

Captured by the Night

Absolutely captivating. A wonderful performance from start to finish. the 4th Chapter, which is the 1st chapter of the story was a bit dull, but once getting past that.... I binged the whole entire recording. Well done

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  • Sharey
  • 2020-10-21

Could Not Finish

The narrator's accent and cadence were too annoying, combined with the difficult text, to put forth the effort to keep listening. It just wasn't connecting with me at all and didn't seem worth all the effort to decipher.

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  • Harrison James Wahlstrom
  • 2022-03-29

Recording is giving me a hard time

Struggled to finish. I listened to the first 1:30 three times because I couldn't pay attention. I thought it was me, but I finished other audio books in the meantime. I think it's the reader. I really hope I don't sound mean, but the combination of their monotone voice and fast cadence really made it difficult to understand.

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  • HeureuxAudibleur
  • 2018-08-24

Not sure...

I'm not sure I understood this audiobook. Maybe it is very bad. Maybe it is very good. I'd tend for the second. I think I will have to listen to it again! This story is very demanding. There's something off and odd in the character. Maybe it is actually the best depiction of the time between the two war : a limbo of incomprehension.