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Old Goriot | [Honoré de Balzac]

Old Goriot

Balzac’s universally loved novel explores the great theme of money and its effect on the human character. Old Goriot is a lodger at Madame Vauquer’s Parisian boarding house. At first, his wealth inspires respect, but as his circumstances are reduced, he is gradually shunned. He moves into smaller and less desirable rooms in the house, and soon his only remaining visitors are two beautiful young women. The mystery as to who they are and what is happening to Goriot’s fortune involves several other boarders, including Rastignac, an ambitious youth who hopes to rise in society.
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Publisher's Summary

Balzac’s universally loved novel explores the great theme of money and its effect on the human character. Old Goriot is a lodger at Madame Vauquer’s Parisian boarding house. At first, his wealth inspires respect, but as his circumstances are reduced, he is gradually shunned. He moves into smaller and less desirable rooms in the house, and soon his only remaining visitors are two beautiful young women. The mystery as to who they are and what is happening to Goriot’s fortune involves several other boarders, including Rastignac, an ambitious youth who hopes to rise in society.

With its complicities and alliances, mysteries and betrayals, passions and ambitions, the house becomes a microcosm of the grasping Parisian society of the 1820s - a perfect setting for Balzac’s masterful portrayal of La Comédie humaine, the whole comedic parade of human life.

HONORÉ DE BALZAC (1799–1850), was born in Tours, France, educated at the Collège de Vendôme, and studied law at the Sorbonne. His father wished him to become a lawyer, but he left Tours in 1819 to seek his fortune as an author in Paris. He wrote eighty-five novels in twenty years, but his life was one of frequent privation. In 1850, he married Madame Hanska, a rich Polish lady with whom he had corresponded for more than fifteen years but had only just met in person. Five months later, Balzac died in Paris.

Public Domain (P)1999 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“[A] meticulously observed story of love and greed…Reminiscent of King Lear, it also resonates today with the clarity of the poet’s barbed pen…Frederick Davidson is brilliant, deadening his voice for the dreadful daughters and their ghastly husbands, as well as portraying each ridiculous tenant in the boardinghouse…But it is Goriot’s deathbed scene that causes the hairs to rise on the backs of listeners’ neck. Listeners…cannot remain unmoved.” (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (8 )
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4.0 (6 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Eileen MERRILLVILLE, IN, United States 06-13-12
    Eileen MERRILLVILLE, IN, United States 06-13-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Classic novel, classically done"
    Where does Old Goriot rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of top classics


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Plot predictable but nuanced philosophical conclusions implied


    Which character – as performed by Frederick Davidson – was your favorite?

    Goriot of course


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

    no, too dense for that


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana 03-30-11
    Diana 03-30-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    27
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "Horrible narrator"

    I can't tell you anything about this story, because about five minutes in, I refused to listen any further. This narrator sounds like the biggest pr-ck in the world: super smarmy, full of himself, with an irritating inflection pattern. I didn't want my introduction to Balzac to be colored by so terrible a narrator. If I could return this, I would since I know with certainty that I won't be listening to it any more than the very little I have already. Don't waste your money.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
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  • Fadmal
    UK
    4/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gave up listening."
    What didn’t you like about Frederick Davidson’s performance?

    I wish I had read the review regarding the irritating French pronunciation before I wasted a credit on it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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