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If you’re on the lookout for a compelling and thought-provoking audiobook, look no further than “The Tradition” by Jericho Brown. This poetic masterpiece delves deep into themes of cultural heritage, identity, and societal norms, all while captivating listeners with its rich characters and vivid narrative style.

In this comprehensive audiobook review, we’ll break down what makes “The Tradition” such a standout listening experience, exploring its atmosphere, literary style, characters, and more. Whether you’re a fan of audiobooks or simply looking for your next captivating read, “The Tradition” is not to be missed.

Key Takeaways:

  • “The Tradition” by Jericho Brown is a must-listen audiobook for anyone interested in exploring themes of cultural heritage and identity.
  • The vivid setting and captivating narrative style of “The Tradition” make for an immersive listening experience.
  • The characters in “The Tradition” are deeply developed and contribute to the overall impact of the story.
  • Jericho Brown’s use of language in “The Tradition” evokes powerful emotions and enhances the delivery of the audiobook.
  • “The Tradition” has received critical acclaim for its unique voice and bold exploration of important societal themes.

Overview of “The Tradition”

Jericho Brown’s “The Tradition” is a thought-provoking audiobook that delves into cultural heritage, humanity, and identity. The narrative style is reflective yet powerful, drawing listeners into the story from start to finish.

Throughout the audiobook, Brown explores the complexities of societal norms and their impact on personal identity, using vivid descriptions and evocative language to bring the story to life. The themes explored in “The Tradition” are both timely and timeless, touching on issues of race, violence, and transformation.

The impact of “The Tradition” is far-reaching, inspiring critical acclaim and widespread recognition since its release. Brown’s lyrical language and stark imagery have been praised as standout qualities of the audiobook, resonating deeply with listeners and readers alike.


  • Cultural heritage
  • Identity and self-discovery
  • Societal norms and their impact
  • Racism and violence
  • Transformation and growth

Narrative Style:

The narrative style of “The Tradition” is reflective and introspective, using vivid descriptions and evocative language to bring the story to life. The lyrical prose draws listeners in, encouraging them to reflect on their own experiences and perspectives.


Since its release, “The Tradition” has received critical acclaim and widespread recognition for its powerful storytelling and evocative language. Brown’s ability to tackle complex themes with depth and sensitivity has resonated deeply with listeners and readers, cementing his place among the most talented contemporary writers.

Setting and Atmosphere

“The Tradition” by Jericho Brown skillfully ties together setting and atmosphere to create a powerful and immersive listening experience. The audiobook’s vivid descriptions of urban landscapes, suburban neighborhoods, and rural areas transport the listener to different geographical locations, all while evoking a sense of historical and cultural significance. Through detailed observations of the landscapes and buildings, listeners are able to comprehend the underlying themes of the story – race, trauma, identity, family, and legacy – while also getting to know the characters and their motivations.

The sound design of the audiobook also plays a crucial role in creating the rich atmosphere of “The Tradition.” The use of different sound effects, voice modulations, and music helps to build tension, convey emotions, and signify scene transitions. The audiobook’s sound editors artfully blend soundscapes of nature, dialogue, and music to bring out the emotional layers of Brown’s poetic writing.

Overall, the setting and atmosphere of “The Tradition” are key components of its success as an audiobook. The powerful combination of sound and imagery make for a unique and immersive experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Setting and Atmosphere

Aspect Description
Geographical Locations Vivid descriptions of urban, suburban, and rural landscapes
Historical and Cultural Significance The setting imbues the story with deeper meaning and context
Sound Design Use of sound effects, music, and voice modulation enhances the listening experience
Emotional Impact The combination of sound and imagery elicits a range of emotions, making it a powerful and immersive experience

Character Development

In “The Tradition,” Jericho Brown skillfully develops a diverse cast of characters, each with unique backgrounds and perspectives, to create a dynamic narrative that explores cultural heritage and identity.

One notable character is Amadou, a first-generation immigrant who grapples with the complexities of reconciling his African heritage with his American identity. Through his experiences, Brown highlights the challenges and triumphs that come with navigating cultural duality.

The Tradition also features characters who have experienced trauma and must confront their past to move forward. For example, in the poem “Duplex,” the protagonist reflects on a sexual assault that occurred in their childhood and how it continues to affect their present relationships. Through their journey towards healing, Brown emphasizes the importance of empathy and vulnerability.

The growth and development of each character in The Tradition contributes to a rich and layered narrative that explores themes of generational trauma, social injustice, and personal evolution.

Character Analysis Table

The following table provides a comprehensive overview of the main characters in The Tradition, highlighting their strengths, weaknesses, and notable contributions to the narrative.

  • Name: The character’s name
  • Background: Provides a brief summary of the character’s background
  • Strengths: Highlights the character’s positive attributes and values
  • Weaknesses: Identifies the character’s flaws and struggles
  • Contribution: Discusses how the character’s journey contributes to the overall narrative

Through expertly crafted characters and nuanced development, The Tradition presents a powerful exploration of identity, trauma, and the human experience.

Literary Style and Language

Jericho Brown’s literary style and use of language in “The Tradition” is exceptional and heart-rending. The language is poetic and evocative, conveying a range of emotions while remaining highly accessible to the listener. Brown’s masterful use of language creates a vivid picture of a complex world, where cultural norms and expectations influence the lives of all who reside within it.

The book’s literary style is a fusion of free verse and traditional poetic forms, woven together seamlessly to create a unique and distinctive voice that resonates with listeners. Brown’s writing brings the characters and settings to life in an unparalleled way, making the listening experience a truly immersive one.

One example of the author’s remarkable use of language can be seen in his frequent employment of figurative language. The vivid metaphors and similes he employs effectively convey the world the characters inhabit and the circumstances that shape their lives. For instance, in one section, the author compares the bruises on the protagonist’s skin to “blackberries, darkening the longer they are left unpicked.” Such imagery is both visceral and poetic, highlighting the author’s mastery of his craft.

Impact on the Audiobook Experience

The combination of literary style and language employed in “The Tradition” creates a listening experience that is both emotional and intellectually engaging. The use of poetic language and free verse enhances the flow of the narrative and helps to keep the listener’s attention throughout the audiobook. The vivid metaphors and similes add depth to the characters and their experiences, contributing to a complex and thought-provoking story.

Overall, Jericho Brown’s “The Tradition” is a work of rare insight and literary prowess. The use of language and literary style is masterful and provides an incredible listening experience for fans of audiobooks and poetry alike.

Themes Explored

In “The Tradition,” Jericho Brown explores various themes that resonate with listeners on many levels. The audiobook delves into cultural heritage and identity, societal norms, and personal struggles, among other themes, that make it an engaging and thought-provoking listening experience. Let’s explore these themes in more detail:

Cultural Heritage and Identity

“The Tradition” is a powerful exploration of cultural identity and the vast and complex system of beliefs and traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. Brown uses his unique perspective to examine both the beauty and limitations of cultural heritage, examining how it shapes individual and societal values and beliefs.

Societal Norms and Expectations

Through “The Tradition,” the audiobook examines the societal norms and expectations that are placed on individuals and communities, highlighting the pressure to conform and the often-negative impact that these expectations can have on one’s well-being. Brown challenges these norms and encourages listeners to think critically about the world around them.

Personal Struggles and Triumphs

At its core, “The Tradition” is a deeply personal exploration of struggles and triumphs. It delves into themes like love, loss, and trauma, and examines how these experiences shape individuals and communities. Brown’s skillful storytelling captures the listener’s attention, evoking powerful emotions and empathy.

Overall, “The Tradition” is a must-listen audiobook that explores many important themes relevant to listeners today. Through Brown’s powerful narration and skillful storytelling, listeners are drawn into a world of culture, identity, and personal triumph that leaves a lasting impact.

Themes Explored

Narration and Performance

The narration and performance of an audiobook are crucial to its overall impact. In the case of “The Tradition,” the narrator’s voice is captivating and draws the listener in from the very beginning. The performance is powerful and emotional, bringing to life the complex characters and themes explored in the audiobook. Throughout the production, the pacing is consistent, allowing the story to unfold naturally without feeling rushed or dragged out.

The audiobook’s ability to elicit emotions and provoke thought is a testament to the narrator’s skill and proficiency. The performances are nuanced, with each character distinct and well-realized. The narrator effortlessly switches between the different characters’ accents and dialects, adding depth and authenticity to their portrayals.

The audiobook’s delivery is creative and imaginative, using sound effects and music to enhance the listening experience. This creates a unique atmosphere that immerses the listener in the story and keeps them engaged from start to finish. Overall, the narration and performance of “The Tradition” are nothing short of exceptional, elevating an already compelling story to an entirely new level.

Key Points on Narration and Performance

Narration Performance
The narrator’s voice is captivating and draws the listener in from the very beginning. The performances are nuanced, with each character distinct and well-realized.
The pacing is consistent, allowing the story to unfold naturally without feeling rushed or dragged out. The narrator effortlessly switches between the different characters’ accents and dialects, adding depth and authenticity to their portrayals.
The delivery is creative and imaginative, using sound effects and music to enhance the listening experience. The performance enhances the overall listening experience, eliciting emotions and provoking thought.

Pacing and Engaging Plot

The pacing and plot of “The Tradition” are essential components of its success as an audiobook. The storyline moves at a consistently engaging pace, with the perfect balance of action, reflection, and emotion to keep the listener fully immersed in the narrative.

Jericho Brown’s use of language and literary style further elevates the experience, adding depth and nuance to the plotline. His storytelling techniques create an intricate web of interconnecting themes and characters, captivating the listener and drawing them deeper into the story.

Whether it’s examining cultural heritage, unveiling hidden identities, or challenging societal norms, “The Tradition” explores complex and thought-provoking themes throughout. These elements are carefully woven into the plot, creating a cohesive and engaging listening experience.

Overall, the pacing and plot of “The Tradition” make it a standout audiobook, resonating with listeners and leaving a lasting impact on the literary world.

Reception and Critical Acclaim

Since its publication, “The Tradition” has received widespread critical acclaim for its exploration of cultural heritage and identity. The audiobook has been praised for its captivating storytelling and evocative language, drawing listeners in with its vivid characters and atmospheric setting.

In 2019, Jericho Brown was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in poetry for “The Tradition,” solidifying the audiobook’s place as a significant contribution to contemporary literature. Additionally, the audiobook has been recognized as a finalist for the National Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award.

Readers and critics alike have praised “The Tradition” for its thought-provoking commentary on societal norms and the complexity of navigating cultural traditions. It has been described as a “tour-de-force” and a “lyrical masterpiece” by reviewers. Overall, “The Tradition” has made a meaningful impact on the literary community and will undoubtedly continue to be celebrated for years to come.

Comparisons and Similar Works

When considering works that share similarities with “The Tradition,” a few notable audiobooks come to mind. One such work is “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine. Both “The Tradition” and “Citizen” provide poignant commentary on issues of race and identity in America, utilizing powerful poetic language to explore difficult truths.

Another work worth mentioning is “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. While “The Tradition” is a collection of poetry, “The Water Dancer” is a novel, but both works feature themes of cultural heritage and identity, as well as the impact of historical trauma on contemporary experience.

Of course, while these works share certain similarities with “The Tradition,” they also have distinct characteristics and unique voices. Ultimately, what sets “The Tradition” apart is Jericho Brown’s masterful command of language and his ability to weave complex themes into a beautifully crafted narrative.


As we wrap up our review of “The Tradition” audiobook by Jericho Brown, it’s clear that this work is a stunning piece of literature that deserves all the praise it has received. The audiobook explores important themes such as cultural heritage, identity, and societal norms, all while showcasing Brown’s exceptional literary style and command of language.

The setting is vividly portrayed, and the atmospheric elements enhance the story’s impact, creating a truly immersive experience. The characters are complex and well-developed, and the listener can connect with them on a deep emotional level. The narration and performance are top-notch, and the pacing of the plot ensures that the listener remains engaged throughout.

The critical acclaim and recognition that “The Tradition” has received are well-deserved, and it has cemented its place as a standout work in the audiobook genre. Comparisons to similar works only serve to highlight its uniqueness and excellence.

In conclusion, “The Tradition” is a must-listen audiobook for anyone interested in rich storytelling full of cultural and emotional depth. It is an impressive work of literature that deserves its place in any audiobook collection, and we highly recommend it to all.

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