Audiobook Review: After Woodstock
The True Story of a Belgian Movie, an Israeli Wedding, and a Manhattan Breakdown by Elliot Tiber
Sometimes an audiobook brings to life a story in a new way. Such is the case with the audiobook for After Woodstock: The True Story of a Belgian Movie, an Israeli Wedding, and a Manhattan Breakdown (Square One Publishers), by Elliot Tiber. As narrated by Edwin Wald, an actor who has a gift for accents and great conversational timing, the epic and the raucous sides of Tiber’s memoir really come out.
The story is just what the title promises: it’s true, it includes a whole lot of transcontinental moves, and it’s packed with life. The “after” part is what happens, indeed, after the Woodstock festival, when Tiber’s on the road in his Cadillac, leaving his family behind, flush with cash from his family motel’s profits (located in Bethel, it became a locus and a crash pad during the festival), and ready to seek his fortune in California. The bold and maximalist prose of the book becomes a highly enjoyable, listenable tale when narrated out loud, conveying a stronger sense of Tiber’s own state of mind in the way Wald takes readers along the journey. This is a coming of age story, to be sure — and then a coming to grips story, you might say.
Tiber’s bestselling memoir, Taking Woodstock (2007), was also brought to life — in a movie by Ang Lee that also had some of the rich fabric and textures that mark Tiber’s sensibility. But the audiobook of his next memoir is something more: it’s like an epic of its time that takes you along on a journey. We meet his incredible paramour and partner, the Belgian playwright and director André Ernotte, and witness the intensity and dynamics of their relationship as if we’re in the room. There are very high highs and low lows — sensitively portrayed by a savvy narrator. All in all it’s the kind of story of travel and growth you’d be happy to have on a cross-country road trip (or just listen in chapters). And you’ll feel as if you’ve gained a new friend in Tiber, if posthumously (he died in 2016). It’s a great reminder that life is for living — and stories are for telling.