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Sons and Lovers | [D.H. Lawrence]

Sons and Lovers

Sons and Lovers was the first of Lawrence's major works, and is still considered to be one of his best. The 1913 novel, partly autobiographical and set in the coalmining village of Bestwood, is notable for being the first English novel to be genuinely working-class in origin and focus.
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Publisher's Summary

Sons and Lovers was the first of Lawrence's major works, and is still considered to be one of his best. The 1913 novel was partly autobiographical and was set in the coalmining village of Bestwood. The parents of the central character, Paul, are Mr. and Mrs. Morel who are a vigorous and heavy-drinking miner and a well-educated, pretty intellectual respectively. We learn of Paul's successful brother and sister, William and Annie, but are soon drawn into Paul's world.

Still in his teens, Paul works in a factory producing surgical appliances but becomes sick and spends his time with Miriam Leivers whom he falls in love with. Their love is made difficult by Miriam's intense and religious nature and the fondness Paul's mother has for him that is protective to the point of dependence. As Paul reaches his early twenties he becomes passionate and makes love to Miriam but this ecstasy spells the end for their relationship.

The latter stages of the novel concern Paul's next passion - Mrs. Clara Dawes - and her vengeful husband. In the end, with Mrs. Morel's slow death, we find that the closest and most meaningful bond is held between mother and son. The novel is notable for being the first English novel to be genuinely working-class in origin and focus.

©1988 D.H. Lawrence; cover design ©2003 Brian J. Killavey

What the Critics Say

"[A] book of rare excellence." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

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3.5 (54 )
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3.0 (6 )
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  •  
    Jimcin Portsmouth, RI, USA 09-17-03
    Jimcin Portsmouth, RI, USA 09-17-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book and good reading"

    It always amazes me that people can have such incredibly diverse opinions of the same book. You'd think good was good and bad was bad but... a guess a lot is in the eye ( or ear in this case ) of the beholder. Anyway, I totally agree with the last reviewer ("I believe the narrator's style and pacing works well") - the narrator was very laid back, but that's exactly what was needed. Overdramatizing would have ruined it. This is a reading not an overdone performance and, as such, it is done very well.

    34 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan L. Rubendall Rockford, IL USA 08-22-03
    Susan L. Rubendall Rockford, IL USA 08-22-03 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
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    "Buried in coal and relationships"

    Somehow, I did not read this book as a young person and was happy to find it available at audible.com. I believe the narrator's style and pacing works well to depict the slow pace of life and almost suffocating relationships in a small English coal town. It reminds me of the narration of War and Peace, 60 wonderful hours immersed in a different time and place.

    29 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Empowerment Middletown, RI, United States 06-16-08
    Empowerment Middletown, RI, United States 06-16-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Complex Tragedy"

    Sons and Lovers is not a "feel good" book. It is, in fact, a complex tragedy that lingers long after the listening experience is over. It is a powerful story with some amazing insights into the human condition. I was a bit put off by some of the reviews that praised the book but not the narrator. However, I listened to the sample and it sounded fine. I then got the book and thought the narration was quite good and appropriate for the novel.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roxanne Marrero, LA, USA 05-27-09
    Roxanne Marrero, LA, USA 05-27-09 Member Since 2003
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    "Great novel"

    Great development of characters in this novel. Author evokes the time and place very well. Narrator is very good.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William C. Reed Berkshires, MA 08-07-03
    William C. Reed Berkshires, MA 08-07-03 Member Since 2002

    Gilgamesh

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "Masterpiece spoiled by Narration"

    After waiting all these months with great excitement, I find this almost impossible to listen to, due to the disjointed and robotic narration. He sounds a lot like the computer generated voice on the NOAA weather radio. What a shame.

    13 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claudia Cragg 01-18-07 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The worst audiobook ever?"

    The reading of this wonderful masterpiece by this narrator is a complete abomination. It is appalling, not just for his interminable drone, but also for his constant, and unforgiveable, pronunciations. It is a miracle that he can be so off. If you are reading about D.H. Lawrence's beloved Derby, it MUST be pronounced Dar-by as the UK town is called, not the US way, Durr-by. That and his 'iraskible' for irascible, his appalling, appalling French, his murderous reading of the Derbyshire dialect. It is truly unforgiveable and at times complete nonsense. Maybe this narrator does not have a clue, he clearly doesn't. But what on earth are the producers thinking? Is this acceptable to them? Even closing your eyes and pretending you are reading the printed word will not help. I found myself shouting at the radio, driving along in the car, because the reading was so, so, so bad. I don't think in many years of listening to audio books I have come across one this bad. It should be withdrawn before any more damage is done. Sorry. But is it simply terrible.

    7 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James W. Black 03-06-06 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bad narration style"

    I found that the narrator's reading style detracted from my enjoyment of the story. The narrator e nun ci a ted each syllable to such an exaggerated extent that it spoiled the flow of the narrative.

    3 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave A. Simpson Odenville, AL United States 08-11-07
    Dave A. Simpson Odenville, AL United States 08-11-07 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Poor Reader"

    Don't botther with this version. The reader has all the emotional sensibility of someone reading the phone book

    3 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Wilmette, IL, USA 05-02-07
    Deborah Wilmette, IL, USA 05-02-07
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    "Avoid this Rendition of Sons and Lovers"

    Mr. Killavey sounds as if he once had elocution lessons to suppress his New York borough accent. They didn't succeed.The novel cries out for a trained British actor familiar with British dialects and French pronunciation.This narrator lacks the competence to convey the novel with any grace, style, or authenticity. Beware that Jimcin label.

    3 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Graham, NC, USA 08-08-03
    Melissa Graham, NC, USA 08-08-03 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "NEVER buy anything read by Jim Killavev"

    PLEASE heed these reviews - I've never yet read this book and I can't listen to this guy any more - I struggled through the 26+ hours of "Our Mutual Friend" only because I worked out a scheme to close my eyes and pretend I was reading the printed word, and because it quickly became clear that that novel was one of the great masterworks of English literature. 25" was all I could devote to this one & I'm actually going to write to Audible to complain directly. This reader is a menace.

    3 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Gail
    Tarporley, CHS, United Kingdom
    3/6/06
    Overall
    "Wonderful story, spoilt by narration"

    The choice of narrator has ruined this version for me. It's not that he's an American; he has completely mishandled the Nottingham accent and dialect. The dialogue is so stilted and mispronounced that it distracts and is almost incomprehensible. I'm very disappointed that this is the only full-length version available and would strongly recommend that you compare Robert Powell's masterful interpretation - sadly much abridged - with this voice that sounds like it belongs to a close relative of Prof. Steven Hawkings.

    The story itself is wonderful - the relationships are so closely observed and described. Lawrence writes beautifully about pain and euphoria. I read this at school years ago; it made a huge impression on me then. Coming back to it I find new descriptions, episodes to marvel at. This novel speaks to me. Sad that I find myself reacting so strongly to the narration.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
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