"From this, he took a lesson: value the original, fragile, and rough. That's the art." Holland Carter on the art of Henri Mattisse
Never has so short a book stirred in me such a cauldron of conflicting emotions.
You think Sarah deserves love, but cannot countenance that in a marriage or against vow of commitment. You ponder, why not, in her marriage free from sex for seven years, but then cringe when considering *but, with Maurice?* who's our narrator, the pompous, neurotic narcissist.
This short novel delves into such questions and those of faith in, and relationship with, God. To say much more of the story is to spoil it.
Colin Firth's narration is perfection.
I can't say anything about Colin Firth's delivery that hasn't been said already. He won an an award for this performance and rightfully so - he handles heartbreak, bitterness, and too-bright all-consuming love with a reserved grace that captures the tone of the novel.
I would recommend this title on the strength of his narration alone.
The work itself is more difficult to fully embrace. The writing is clean, whittled to an unflinching truth but no less rich for that. Written in first person, the narrator, Maurice Bendrix, is consumed by jealousy and hatred (which is to say, love) for his former married mistress. Set in London, when Europe is in the last throws of war, Bendrix swings back and forth on an agonizing pendulum as he struggles with the wreckage of life after the affair. In him, Greene sets both the best and worst of human nature in direct juxtaposition; he shows that love and hate are as connected as an inhale and an exhale.
He takes the feeling in all its forms: physical, platonic, spiritual, obsessive, familial, divine; and places the enormous burden of that on one man's shoulders. Then he steps back and points at his narrator as if to say: "Look at how it twists him, look at how that much love and devotion and depth burns a man."
In lean prose, Greene's man Bendrix staggers under an emotion that is only capable of being fully born by a higher power. He blurs the line between humanity and divinity until loving and hating someone becomes an act of loving and hating God.
Religious or not, this book is insightful, complex, difficult; a classic worth the read.
I love to read mysteries, histories, biographies, humor, and Jane Austen.
It is interesting listening to Greene as he struggles with the complexities, frustrations, and passions of his Roman Catholic faith. This book deals with these themes well, although to someone not interest in Roman Catholicism, the book may seem to beat the same dead horse repeatedly (and I found it tiresome at times). I intensely dislike the literary convention that the best way for a romantic triangle to resolve itself is for the central woman to die. ("Madame Butterfly" anyone? "Miss Saigon"?) However, Colin Firth's performance is outstanding. As one of the other reviewers said, Firth makes the main character angry, misanthropic, and cruel, but still very human and someone you care about despite his many great flaws.
I read and listen to books. I drink tea. I sleep like a cat and wished I lived in Hawaii.
I enjoyed this audiobook narrated by Colin Firth. He has a lovely man voice with lovely British accent that one can listen to for a long time. I have a feeling though that I would not have enjoyed the book nearly as much if I had read it. The narration definitely added a star for me. The plot itself is interesting, but there is a lot of tediousness that goes on with Sarah's internal struggle with love and god and her morals. She calls herself a bitch and a fake and a phony and sometimes I felt she was just that and sometimes I felt sorry for her. It wasn't easy to love the characters, but I felt that Greene created interesting characters that are flawed in a way that is timeless. Human beings are always going to struggle with their religious and non-religious beliefs and love is always going to bring pain and pleasure. Infidelity will always exist as will the need to emotionally connect with others. Greene's take on these themes are enhanced by Firth's performance. Overall, I feel like this short book is worth giving a listen.
gerrymorAuburn, AL My favorites are books read by the authors. Janis Ian is superb.
The way Colin Firth tells the story is as good as the plot.
Colin Firth who played the hero.
Yes, and he is always good. The King's Speech may be his best of all.
Colin Firth because we would talk about English theatre and English movies.
This is a book I will keep on my hard drive so that I can listen to it again. It isn't so long that you lose your place. It is just the right length. I enjoyed it very much and wish you had some more just like this.
Apparently everyone, but I don't get it.
Nothing. I find it utterly unbelievable. Not one of the characters is likeable and the only one who rings true is Henry---as the husband who really doesn't want to know. I don't know why either Sarah or Maurice wants to have an affair with the other. They are both selfish and boring. Next, I don't believe anyone truly means the bargains they make with God in moments of desperation. However, even if she believed she had to keep it, why didn't she just tell Maurice? Her vow was to give him up and, presumably, bear the pain. It was cruel to inflict the pain of not knowing on Maurice. The only reason I can think that she didn't tell him is that there wouldn't have been a book otherwise. I realize this is a classic and I am in the minority, but there it is.
As a story, this book is the pits. As philosphy, it's even worse.
No, but I will be looking for more.
Colin Firth was great. I will look for more of his narrations.
Great book by a great writer, read by a master. This is one I will recommend over and over again. Thanks, Audible.
Infinite sadness exists.
The description of love.
I've only heard him in his films.
Colin Firth's was the perfect voice for this story.
I would, hands down, listen to any book Colin Firth performed. He is a very gifted performer.
This is a story that makes you think. Makes you wonder about relationships, people's hearts and heartbreaks, what makes us tick, what it means to love and to lose that love, and how those that we love change who we are and how we view the world around us.
I first read this book in college. It was one of my favorites, and since then I have re-read it three times. Each time I enjoyed the story as it revealed the motives, complications, expectations and denouements of characters and plot.
Colin Firth's reading of it is masterful! I have never realized how lovely it could be to have a favorite book read by someone who can bring nuance and meaning where I thought I knew it so well. Thank you, Colin!
I recommend it! One of his best, I think. Also, The Quiet American.