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The Call of the Weird

Travels in American Subcultures
Narrated by: Louis Theroux
Length: 3 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (98 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Read by the author, this is Louis Theroux's hilarious and thought-provoking journey through weird America.

For 10 years, Louis Theroux has been making programmes about off-beat characters on the fringes of US society. Now he revisits America and the people who have most fascinated him to try to discover what motivates them, why they believe the things they believe, and to find out what has happened to them since he last saw them. Along the way, Louis thinks about what drives him to spend so much time among weird people and considers whether he's learned anything about himself in the course of ten years working with them. Has he manipulated the people he's interviewed, or have they manipulated him?

From his Las Vegas base, Louis revisits the assorted dreamers and outlaws who have been his TV feeding ground. Attempting to understand a little about himself and the workings of his own mind, Louis considers questions such as: what is the difference between pathology and "normal" weirdness? Is there something particularly weird about Americans? What does it mean to be weird, or "to be yourself"? And do we choose our beliefs or do our beliefs choose us?

©2005 Louis Theroux (P)2005 Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Alternately fascinating and sad." ( Kirkus Reviews)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyed

it was great to hear some more personal thoughts from Louis in this auido book. I just wish it was longer!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not his best work

Is there anything you would change about this book?

If you have seen a lot of Louis work (and I have) you have to sit through him setting up every anecdote through a re-telling of the stories in his documentaries. In these sections, it seems like he is retelling it based on what details ended up on screen, and adding little in the way of new information or insights. As such, its a bit light on 'new' details for the avid fan.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

There were a few updates on past characters that changed my views on the original tv documentaries. The least interesting part was (again) the amount of pages dedicated to explaining the TV series original material, which felt redundant.

What about Louis Theroux’s performance did you like?

He is a likeable guy, but this telling lacked a little of the humour that he is known for in his interviews - i think he is at his best when he is reacting to scenarios, rather than just writing alone for a reader.

Could you see The Call of the Weird being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Err.. Louis.

Any additional comments?

This book is only for big fans, and even then its a tad lackluster. I dont say this easily - I'm a tragic fan of Louis work, but I struggled to keep paying attention through this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating

Great listening to Louis follow up for each of the subcultures in his documentary series.

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Brilliant

What did you like most about The Call of the Weird?

The variety of people that Louis can get to open up about their lives and beliefs. The way he questions while remaining respectful

What other book might you compare The Call of the Weird to, and why?

Them by Jon Ronson. Both attempt to show peoples unusual behaviours and beliefs through their own eyes

What does Louis Theroux bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His own voice

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The young white supremacist singers

Any additional comments?

No

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Louis is a legend

loved louis doing the voices. funny, thought provoking, chilling at times - truth is stranger than fiction!

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  • Noam
  • 01-01-2013

An absolutely fascinating listen

I'm a big fan of Louis' work and have watched the majority of his documentaries.

This was probably the reason I found myself so captivated by this title; Louis revisits a select number of memorable characters in a sort of "Where are they now?" type of quest.

He gives a succinct review of each character before describing the re-visitation, so you're not completely lost if you haven't watched his shows (though you really should).

Louis also provides very interesting insights in regard to the individuals and cultures he encounters and the occasional character imitations he performs are super adorable, too.

Definitely recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 02-11-2009

Short but good

I'm disappointed this book was a bit short. However, Louis is an excellent author and reader. He expertly gives each character a unique voice. The stories are facinating, but for adults only. I highly recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mia
  • 04-11-2012

Like his BBC shows? This is a must-listen!

What made the experience of listening to The Call of the Weird the most enjoyable?

Louis brutal honesty: The fact a camera forced him and I am sure still does be entertaining. The concern and love he shows those he has met,.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Call of the Weird?

When he said "We are all weird" so true and comforting

Which character – as performed by Louis Theroux – was your favorite?

Hmmm. Harold camping or Haley.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes! It is fantastic!

Any additional comments?

Like travel books? Want to know how right-wingers can appear? Need a good book for a few saved up bucks? This is the perfect one to buy with cash, not credits because it is priced fairly according to length. As an anthropologist this book reminded me about the field without being academic. Louis is a great reader. Well worth your hard earned bucks.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gabriel
  • 03-02-2008

Who's Weirder?

I got this after a recommendation from the TWIT podcast. In short it was an interesting look at some very fringe segments of society. At times it was entertaining and just plain odd. However, the book failed to give me any special insight into the minds of the people that Mr. Theroux interviewed. Perhaps it is a statement of the people in the book, or the emotional shields that people on the fringe exude. But above all, I felt as if I was at the local country fair, just trying to find the oddest person ... and not being able to make up my mind which one was indeed, the weirdest.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Louise
  • 12-02-2019

Really good!

Yeah, really brilliant book. ties in well with his shows and wonderful to have it read by the man himself. Was a good listen.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Terence
  • 17-05-2010

Interesting, but one annoying flaw...

I really enjoyed this audio book, and found it mostly interesting and amusing. However, Theroux's insistence on attempting American accents is a huge mistake. The various accents are laughably bad at times; unbearable otherwise. All in all, worth a listen, but only if you're able to withstand Idaho Neo Nazis sounding like southern drag queens.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • CA Weir
  • 26-06-2007

One of my favourite downloads so far

If you love Louis, then what are you waiting for. I have his DVD box set of Weird Weekends at home and have always been fascinated and appalled with some of the excesses of humanity he's interviewed. Yet, I've always wanted to know...'What happened next?' Well, Call of the Weird will tell all...
This download, superbly and personally narrated by Louis, is HIGHLY recommended.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan Random
  • 24-10-2017

The Call Of The Weird

This book only loses a star rating because it's abridged, but I think that it's a fantastic listen and complements Theroux's earlier documentaries. I particularly enjoyed the odder elements of the text.

Theroux really performs the book throughout and his different American accents are a pleasure to listen to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 20-07-2015

Fan of the show

Would you listen to The Call of the Weird again? Why?

I would listen to this book again as it's very short and I love the documentary series that the book proceeds

What did you like best about this story?

The book rounds up and more or less concludes the random 'weird' people Louis has met whilst recording his documentary with additional side stories throughout!

What about Louis Theroux’s performance did you like?

Louis accents are performed well and are not cheesey, luckily as I had doubts.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It's not a book you need to sit and listen to in one go as the stories are seperate and each to their own. Like the episodes. They are not related other than Louis is documenting their activists and asking them about what they do and why.

Any additional comments?

If you're a fan of the shows then the book is worth while. If you've never seen the shows, either go watch them, or don't but this as you will have absolutely no idea who he is referring to. Even if you had heard of a few of the characters you'd need to have seen the show to fully appreciate the follow on, which is, this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 23-04-2012

This book does not disappoint!!

It's everything you could possibly want from a Louis Theroux book. PLUS, it's read by the wonderful man himself!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 30-08-2016

Louis listing "weird" Americans he once spoke to

no real content at all, seems like a quick money maker and not up to his usual standards

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Aude_Brownies
  • 25-09-2019

Nice follow up on Louis documentaries

Nice to catch up with some old subjects of Louis Theroux and hearing his reflections on them. And who is the best to read it than the man himself:)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-09-2019

Very Louis

Louis holds back giving his thoughts until quite near the end, but he is well worth a listen when he is in his flow, picking up gold from the rubbish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter Meredith
  • 21-08-2019

I love it but could have done with a bit more!

I really enjoyed this book and Louis is absolutely brilliant at performing it but it was just a bit short for me in order for me to give it the full 5*s

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Owen
  • 12-09-2017

Why did he do the accents?

The book was fairly interesting but what was really strange is that Louis put on voices for all the people he spoke to rather than just quoting them. It was a bit annoying.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss Monica Rygh
  • 23-10-2019

Very interesting

Thanks to Louis Theroux we get to understand how our world is built up. Very well written!