Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890 as a short novel in a magazine. What seems rather tame in the 21st century caused a great furor in the 19th, and was viewed as immoral, wicked and vile. Dorian Gray is a startlingly beautiful young man who has posed for a life-sized portrait of himself by a prominent artist, Basil Hallworth. Just as Basil is adding the finishing touches to the portrait, his friend Sir Henry arrives and meets the impressionable young Gray. Sir Henry is an influential member of society who espouses (though probably does not follow) the hedonistic philosophy -- the only things worthwhile in life are beauty and the fulfillment of the senses.
His influence causes Gray to regret that his beauty will fade over time while the portrait will stay forever young and beautiful, and he expresses the desire that the portrait should age while he stays forever young. He "would give anything" to have that happen. At the time, he does not realize that that statement has formed a bargain. Under Lord Henry's influence and encouragement, Gray explores the world of the senses, becoming more and more morally depraved over time, but his beauty never fades. Every wicked or depraved act affects the portrait, not him.
This is a philosophical horror story, beautifully written by a master of the English language. Wilde's well-known talent for creating wickedly funny turns of phrase is used in this novel particularly well in creating the conversation of Lord Henry -- light, cynical, insincere, ironic, and quite pointedly intended for the character's own amusement in manipulating his listeners. Simon Prebble does a superb job of narrating, especially the cynical viewpoint, voice and character of Lord Henry.
I'm so glad that Audible made this book one of its Daily Deals: I doubt that I would have picked it up otherwise. And the experience was so much better than any movie that has been made of the story, Well worth even the full price!
Simon Prebble's narration is perfect. He gave life to all the characters in a way that you actually feel you are in the room with Dorian Gray. Started and could not let down and finished in a couple of days. i reccomend the book to anyone who likes to listen to a great story and have an amazing narration experience.
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
Oscar Wild's only novel is full of murder and mayhem in the life of a self absorbed socialite. It tells the Faustian story of the downfall of Dorian Gray due to his deal with the devil tied up in a painting that captures his aging and moral decay and keeps him young. Very interesting twists.
I have recommended, and will keep recommending, this book/ audio book to anyone and everyone. Lord Henry shows both the impractical and the practical side of a wicked philosophy, while Basil shows the craving for simple, naive, or innocent personalities among those of us who have come into the knowledge of sin and yet resist temptation. Dorian Gray, and the changes he faced throughout this novel, represent the transition from innocence to adulthood and how simple mistakes change us forever. In this hauntingly beautiful novel, Oscar Wilde depicts both this philosophy, and his wit without overpowering the underlying moral takeaway in what has to be one of the greatest novels of all time.
I would not recommend this for Militant (i.e. unwilling to learn) Christians, Atheists, or other firm believers in something absolute. This is a novel for those willing to learn, for in learning, you are re-instituting your very belief system.
This was a really great audio book. i would recommened it to everyone.
I first read this when I was in my early 20's and at that age, the significance and quality of writing didn't impress. Now that I am in my late 60's, I was stunned to find this book so captivating, it was difficult to put it down. Oscar Wilde wrote brilliantly and so captured the withering of Dorian Grays life as well as those experiences that change us. Admiration indeed for such a wonderful writer!
Simon Prebble was the perfect narrator for this piece. His maturity, inflections and capacity to express the varied emotions of the characters was just right. I will be seeking other works by this talented narrator.
I heartily recommend this book for both the content and the storytelling. Lessons are abundant and despite its 1891 writing, much of what is presented can be compared to life today.
I thought the story was dated, very dated. The things that at one time might have made its readers' jaw drop just aren't a big deal anymore.
Nothing could induce me to sit (squirm) through this again. The extreme pontificating and holding forth ad nauseum becomes unbearable after awhile.
This book is somewhat comparable to Wuthering Heights in that the main characters drain you of any concern or compassion for them because they are determined to be their own worst enemy - all others be damned.
Skilled narration that smoothly, artfully captured both the ennui and the high-flown arrogance of the English upper class.
Initially, yes, but 1/3 into the book the pace and plot progression becomes tiresome and uncomfortably dire.
Despite the painfully forced hedonistic stance and the exhausting extremes of feverish emotions I recommend this book. It eventually succeeds in its moralizing and Wilde's matchless wit and powers of observation are a rare treat. His genius can not be denied.