- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 4 hours and 24 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: April 24, 2013
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00C4WLRAY
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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69 Barrow Street Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
And, it was where Ralph Lambert and Stella James lived. Stella was tall beautiful blonde and a tigress. Ralph was a failed artist who hadn't painted a thing in months and lived off Stella's inheritance. Ralph was bitterly unhappy with the arrangements and considered Stella a first class bitch on wheels. There was no monogamy in this arrangement either as far as Stella was concerned. She enjoyed both men and women and Ralph put up with it.
Susan often organized parties in the apartment which were often little more than marijuana fueled sex orgies. Many of the couples had no jobs and lived in the Village.
Susan Rivers, who was a lesbian, was a neighbor and afraid of Stella. Both Ralph and Stella have designs on Susan. Ralph thinks he's in love with a lesbian. That should work out well.
No one survives this story whole. They all come out twisted and damaged.
The characters are actually pretty interesting, especially a frustrated artist and his undying love for an avowed lesbian. Also, as he would do later, Block writes especially well about the drinking life in New York. The book includes a short autobiographical sketch by the author that puts the book in the overall context of his long and distinguished writing career. The novel is not high literature but rather serves as an interesting document of American literary history.
Though tame in comparison to graphic modern descriptions of sex and sexual violence, the book's depictions must have been shockingly explicit in 1961. The volume is more than mere erotica, though. It is well written, with a good plot, sufficiently fleshed-out characters, and interesting descriptions of the bohemian New York setting.
The book focuses on three main characters. Well, actually, four. Three of these are humanoid (Ralph Lambert, Stella James and the apparently young and innocent Susan Rivers); with the fourth being sex. We get to know the three main (human) characters well enough by the end of chapter two. Emotions and feelings both in the book and of the reader ebb and flow like some of the world’s great tidal flows and the reader knows that with that kind of emotional control, they are in the hands of an absolute literary master.
So what happens? What is the book actually about? Well, its like this. Stella has complete (and I mean COMPLETE) control over Ralph. Ralph is fully aware of this fact, and yet does nothing about it. At times he loves Stella with a passion; at other times he wants to kill her. So you kinda get the impression he does not completely mind the situation he finds himself in. Well, not all the time, anyway.
And from stage left, we have Susan Rivers. We meet (and fall in love with) her in chapter two. Ralph and Susan develop an instant friendship; they agree on Mushroom Omelettes for breakfast, and by-the-way Ralph, I’ve only just met you, but yes, I will pose nude for you in my apartment. (What a gal!) Anyway, Ralph swears he won’t proposition Susan and they waltz off into the distance for brekkie.
But what about Stella?
Stella is bad. Ralph is a fool. Susan, I feel, is a survivor. So when the trouble starts, you can imagine the kind of chaos bound to ensue at 69 Barrow Street.
Who lives? Who dies? Who laughs? Who cries?
At this stage of the book I have no actual idea but i can make a pretty well educated guess. My guess is that the book will turn out to be a highly entertaining, slightly erotic, relatively violent read which will delight the reader in all kinds of ways. And all of this from a work of literary art that came first from the publishers way back in 1961 when Mr Block was writing as Sheldon Lord.
Full marks for yet another outstanding work.