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No Beast So Fierce

No Beast So Fierce

Written by Edward Bunker

Narrated by Ray Chase


No Beast So Fierce

Written by Edward Bunker

Narrated by Ray Chase

ratings:
4.5/5 (7 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Released:
Aug 28, 2012
ISBN:
9781611748550
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

The basis for the film Straight Time, this compelling novel, first published in 1973 and written by a man who had spent most of his life in prison, is the story of an ex-con’s attempt to negotiate the straight world—and his swan dive back into the paradoxical security of crime.

After eight years spent locked up, Max has gotten very good at being a prisoner. He knows the guards, the inmates, and how to survive. But the parole board has decided that he has sufficiently reformed, and it’s time for him to say goodbye. When Max reaches the outside world, he finds that freedom doesn’t make anything easier.

Based on his own experiences in prison, Edward Bunker first drafted No Beast So Fierce in the 1950s, while incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison. He spent the next two decades in and out of jail, writing essays for various magazines and working on the novel, which was finally published in 1973. Eighteen months later, the book was used as evidence that he was fit to leave jail. He received parole, and spent the rest of his life a free man.
Released:
Aug 28, 2012
ISBN:
9781611748550
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Edward Bunker (1933–2005) spent many years in prison before he found success as a novelist. Born in Los Angeles, he accumulated enough terms in juvenile hall that he was finally jailed, becoming at seventeen the youngest-ever inmate at San Quentin State Prison. He began writing during that period, inspired by his proximity to the famous death-row inmate and author Caryl Chessman. Incarcerated off and on throughout the next two decades, Bunker was still in jail when his first book, No Beast So Fierce, was published in 1973. Paroled eighteen months later, he gave up crime permanently, and spent the rest of his life writing novels, many of which drew on his experiences in prison. Also an actor, his most well-known role was Mr. Blue, one of the bank robbers in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. Bunker died in 2005.


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Reviews

What people think about No Beast So Fierce

4.3
7 ratings / 3 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    In my quest to escape from the safe little box the books I read normally fall within, I've challenged myself to pick up things that aren't usually me. Edward Bunker's No Beast So Fierce was my first attempt to do that. This is an autobiographical crime novel. It's written as the memoir of Max Dembo, a parolee from Folsom Prison who has just completed an eight-year term. Trust me when I say that this isn't the type of book I'd normally choose to read. Keep that in mind too, while you read this review. It's just the opinion of one reader who is exploring new territory.

    Let's start with what I liked about this. Max Dembo is a pretty fascinating case. Imagine emerging from prison, only to find that you no longer fit in with the world as it is today. Max faces not only the issue of being a former convict, but also of being someone who hasn't been part of mainstream society for almost a decade. His clothes are wrong. His demeanor makes him stand out in a crowd. Even the way he talks isn't necessarily in style anymore. Here is a man who is finally free, and yet now has so much standing in the way of the new life he wants to build.

    I can't tell you enough how riveting it was to watch Max face all this. Edward Bunker puts the life of a parolee in vivid black and white. It's no wonder that Max hates mainstream society. They treat him like a leper without even knowing him, simply because of where he's been. It took a lot for me to read through the parts of this where his simmering rage was directed at, well, people like me. People who don't know a thing about the system and how it creates people like him. If nothing else, this book opened my eyes to the huge divide between the former convicts and everyone else.

    What I didn't like, and trust me I know it's just my own biases working against me, was that this was a really heavy book. It's obvious that it will be the instance you realize that Max isn't going to make it. Still, as he started the downhill slide, the thoughts and words that came onto the page were tough to swallow. Racism, sexism, it's all on the pages. I think what made it harder for me was that much of this book is very wordy. Bunker doesn't cut down Max's stream on consciousness for our benefit. It's all there, and sometimes it's a little overwhelming.

    I'm not sure how much of this review actually makes sense, to be honest. I'm not even certain how I really feel about this book. I've given it three stars mainly because I liked it, but not enough to keep following Max. It's distinctly possible that it's because I never liked him in the least. The fact is, this is a well written book. It's true, and it's gritty. If that's for you? You'll probably enjoy it.
  • (4/5)
    The extra long denouement was not to my liking, that prevented a 4 star rating. On the whole though, very entertaining.
  • (3/5)
    Excellent first person crime novel written by an ex-convict. Usually not my "cup of tea", but after reading the very good reviews of this book, I read it and agree.