We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
The Death of the Heart | [Elizabeth Bowen]

The Death of the Heart

Orphaned Portia is stranded in the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of her wealthy half-brother's home in London. There she encounters the attractive, carefree cad Eddie. To him, Portia is at once child and woman, and he fears her gushing love. To her, Eddie is the only reaason to be alive. But when Eddie follows Portia to a sea-side resort, the flash of a cigarette lighter in a darkened cinema illuminates a stunning romantic betrayal.
Regular Price:$24.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

The Death of the Heart is perhaps Elizabeth Bowen's best-known book. As she deftly and delicately exposes the cruelty that lurks behind the polished surfaces of conventional society, Bowen reveals herself as a masterful novelist who combines a sense of humor with a devastating gift for divining human motivations.

In this piercing story of innocence betrayed set in the '30s, the orphaned Portia is stranded in the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of her wealthy half-brother's home in London. There she encounters the attractive, carefree cad Eddie. To him, Portia is at once child and woman, and he fears her gushing love. To her, Eddie is the only reaason to be alive. But when Eddie follows Portia to a sea-side resort, the flash of a cigarette lighter in a darkened cinema illuminates a stunning romantic betrayal - and sets in motion one of the most moving and desperate flights of the heart in modern literature.

©1938 Elizabeth Bowen (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A witty, lucid, and beautiful psychological novel.... By far her best book." (The New Yorker)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (43 )
5 star
 (14)
4 star
 (14)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
3.5 (32 )
5 star
 (9)
4 star
 (6)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (2)
Story
3.9 (32 )
5 star
 (10)
4 star
 (12)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    John S. Seattle, WA United States 02-01-12
    John S. Seattle, WA United States 02-01-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    324
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    171
    137
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    22
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Narration makes the story here"

    I've given this audiobook high marks, when I have doubts I would've been able to get through the print version. At first, I wasn't sure about Kellgren's rather plummy accent, until I realized that she was capable of down-shifting to servants, etc. as necessary. As a matter of fact, the housekeeper Matchett was probably my favorite "voice" of all of them.
    As far as plot goes, although Thomas and Anna are her brother and sister-in-law it's hard not to think of them more as estranged father and (unwilling) stepmother as they're significantly older than Portia. The girl bonds immediately with Matchett, who tries to head off the impending trainwreck regarding Eddie-the-cad, but just doesn't have the authority that Anna might (had she chosen to do so). I must confess that by the end I was thinking "Get a shrink!" as a reaction to Portia's angst, then realizing she's only sixteen, and had never really fit in anywhere, even when her parents were alive.
    Recommended, though the story did seem bogged down on occasion.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betty 04-30-12
    Betty 04-30-12 Listener Since 2007

    Elderly (1932), retired university professor, degrees in engineering and economics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    150
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    840
    25
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    32
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "GROWING UP IS TOUGH--AT ANY AGE!"

    Growing up is tough! It is especially tough for, Portia, an unwanted, sixteen year old orphan growing up in England in the years between two world wars. After the death of her mother, who was not married to her father, she is shipped off to live with her half-brother, Thomas, the legitimate son of her father, and his reluctant wife, Anna and the most stable person in her life, Matchett, her dead mother’s governess and caregiver. Portia is painfully alone, personally impoverished, and socially innocent when a young man from her brother’s office comes for dinner. Eddie is 23, handsome, lazy, unambitious, in debit to his friends and family and utterly charming to a 16 year-old innocent.

    Portia is sent to a widowed aunt and her daughter, Daphne, who live in a sea coast town and lease rooms to summer tourists. Portia is scheduled to stay for two weeks while Tom and Anna vacation abroad. This is a repeating pattern in her life. She is not wanted.

    When Eddie comes to the seashore house to see Portia and gives her a little affection, she falls “gushingly” in love. Eddie backpedals fast and cruelly. Portia sees him holding hands with the older, more sophisticated Daphne and she is crushed.

    The emotions are written with sensitivity and empathy that is drawn from the author’s own experiences. Bowen was an award winning British novelist who roamed Europe and the world in the the mid-years of the 20th century. She engaged in a thirty year love affair with a Canadian diplomat while she and her lover were both married to other people. She lived an emotional life. It is a universal story told by an accomplished writer with years of experience. It is a good listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W.Denis Savannah, GA, United States 08-25-10
    W.Denis Savannah, GA, United States 08-25-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    617
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1361
    111
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    19
    0
    Overall
    "A truely great soap"

    Soaps are not supposed to be great writing, but this one written pre-TV is. It is very well read and one can almost see the cast.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P.J. LANSING, KS, United States 08-28-12
    P.J. LANSING, KS, United States 08-28-12 Member Since 2001

    katsuey

    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    73
    47
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow, Agonizing Death of the Heart"

    Once again I'm baffled at the high rating for this book. Yes, there is flowery, descriptive prose, written somewhat in the style of Jane Eyre but the prose is often far exalted and doesn't fit with what the character could possibly be capable of thinking. They want us to believe the protagonist is a 16 year old girl yet have her mind supposedly thinking like that of an aged philosopher. Two other main characters are supposedly without much thought of others yet have lofty philosophical thoughts?

    I would most liken this book to Virginia Wolf - if you like reading about dysfunction, and I mean real dysfunction, without any expectation of it turning into a happy or perhaps even just a satisfactory outcome, this would be a book for you. It goes no where and ends no where and no one is the better off for it.

    However, if you want to feel that your time has been well spent and you learned something - turn away. I forced myself through the drivel as I anticipated the story would go somewhere. The characters would learn, grow and move forward, perhaps for the better. Not with this book. It's a very slow, agonizing death of the heart with absolutely NO ENDING.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Wilson NJ, USA 09-15-12
    L. Wilson NJ, USA 09-15-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Perfect sentences, perfectly narrated"

    I had this book on my TBR shelf for nearly 2 years. I couldn't part with it without reading it, but I never claimed it for a weekend jaunt. Instead, I decided to listen to it on audio. It was amazing!!!! The writing is fantastically detailed and the narrator brought the characters to life. I appreciated each perfect sentence uttered iin a British accent.

    My heart broke over and over for Portia. Such a "sweet kid" as she was affectionately and derisively known by others. She was doing her best to make her way in an unfamiliar world, hoping for a semblance of a family. Instead, she too soon learns the reality of the falesness of adults and the limits of love.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Spokane, WA, United States 05-13-12
    Daniel Spokane, WA, United States 05-13-12

    Avid Listener

    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Masterfully developed characters"

    A guileless teenage girl with an unorthodox upbringing became a ward of her aloof half brother and his supercilious wife of the London elite where her authentic observation and affection clashes against the counterfeit façade of the high society. Slow moving and uneventful plot, with masterfully developed yet conflicted characters, culminated to an intriguing climax and ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Mount Pleasant, SC, USA 02-26-13
    William Mount Pleasant, SC, USA 02-26-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding Performance of a Good Book"

    This book was beautifully written, and Bowen did a wonderful job of showing what life was like in pre-war England, at least of the upper classes. The dialog is excellent and the characters are wonderfully developed. The problem I had with the book was the story, which was very underwhelming. The drama was so....non-dramatic that I kept telling myself that there has to be more to come.

    The performance by Kellgren is outstanding, with wonderful characters and very well read. While I wouldn't read this book again, I would definitely read more by Kellgren.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.