A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Narrated by: Colin Farrell
Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
4 out of 5 stars (649 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Golden Globe winning actor and Dublin native Colin Farrell revisits his home country with a moving, authentic performance of one of Irish icon James Joyce’s masterworks, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

The quintessential coming-of-age story follows Stephen Dedalus as he matures in an era marked by budding Irish nationalism and intensely conservative Catholicism. From infancy to adulthood, Stephen struggles to find his place, flitting between periods of guilt-ridden fanatical religious obsession and hedonistic exploration. But even as he is pulled in every direction by family, flesh, faith, and nation, Stephen longs for something seemingly forbidden–the life of an artist.

Joyce’s first work to experiment with stream of consciousness style—a technique that he and his contemporaries developed—A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man evokes both the pains and complexities of growing up and the furious optimism that accompanies youth. Pulling from events from his own past, Joyce weaves a semi-autobiographical recount of life in nineteenth century Ireland, crafting a narrative that is at once tender and sharply satirical. When combined with Farrell’s gentle brogue, Joyce’s tale soars, as much a portrait of the artist as it is a portrait of Ireland itself. 

Public Domain (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

Go Behind the Scenes with Colin Farrell

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"In Farrell's reading...the great set pieces of the book—the violently argumentative Christmas dinner scene, the harrowing sermon on hell…are delivered with admirable coolness and restraint."

The New York Times Book Review
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Our favorite moments from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Athy tells Stephen a riddle
A Dedalus Christmas dinner debate
A poet? He’s only a rhymester!
Stephen reflects on the Virgin Mary

  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Only God could do that
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Athy tells Stephen a riddle
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • A Dedalus Christmas dinner debate
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • A poet? He’s only a rhymester!
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Stephen reflects on the Virgin Mary

About the Performer

Born and raised in Castleknock, Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, actor Colin Farrell began his schooling at the Gaiety School of Acting—but before he even completed his studies, he’d already landed starring roles in the miniseries Falling for a Dancer and the beloved BBC drama Ballykissangel. In 1999, Farrell made his film debut, in Tim Roth’s The War Zone. Shortly thereafter, his career took off, boasting early credits on films including Tigerland, Phone Booth, Minority Report, Daredevil, and Alexander. But it was his 2008 performance as troubled hitman Ray in Martin McDonough’s black comedy In Bruges that first brought him award season acclaim including a Golden Globe for Best Actor. After that incredible success, Farrell went on to star in Seven Psychopaths, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Saving Mr. Banks, Total Recall, Fright Night, Horrible Bosses, and The Lobster—the latter of which earned him nominations for Best Actor at the 2017 Golden Globes, 2015 British Independent Film Awards, and the 2015 European Film Awards. He currently lives in Los Angeles where he continues to hone his craft.

About the Author

One of the most inventive, influential, and important authors of the 20th Century, James Joyce left an indelible mark on literary tradition with a staggering canon of novels, short stories, and poems that span genres and decades. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland as the eldest of ten children in an impoverished and unstable household, Joyce spent his childhood engulfed in the works of Dante, Aristotle, and Aquinas. By 22, he had published his first short story and was working diligently on producing longer works while toiling part-time as an English teacher to support his family. His first book, a collection of short stories entitled Dubliners, was published in 1914 followed shortly thereafter by the semi-autobiographical A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. But it was his 1922 landmark novel Ulysses, a feat of modernist literature, that earned Joyce tremendous fame. A highly experimental, deftly structured novel ripe with humor and rich characterization, the novel is one of the most hotly discussed literary works in the world. By his death in 1941, Joyce had already long cemented himself as what he is recognized as today—a legendary author whose mastery of language is matched only by his earnest portrayal of humanity.

What members say

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Bitterly disappointed

I'm a huge fan of Joyce and when I saw this version by Colin Farrell I thought "well done Audible for matching this great book with an Irish reader". Unfortunately it didn't turn out as well as it should have. The reading was very one dimensional and with very little attention given to characterization. For example, Stephens father, who is a larger than life bombastic Cork man was portrayed as a very flat man with a Dublin accent. Time after time the text was misinterpreted giving the impression that the reader didn't understand what he was reading.
I can't help thinking that if Joyce was around today then this version wounldn't meet with his approval.

96 people found this helpful

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very well performed

This story was very well performed in wonderful Irish accents, and captured the mood and emotions of the characters. A young man struggles with his faith and purpose in life, struggling with sin, and yet speaking with his friends in philosophical and thought-provoking conversations.

5 people found this helpful

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Thank Goodness for Mr Farrell

I honestly can't say that I enjoyed this book, I found it very drawn out and monotonous to say the least.
I'm sure that James Joyce was a brilliant writer, and if anything his attention to detail is astonishing!
But this particular book was just not for me, I listened to the end more out of respect and with a small flicker of hope that maybe, just maybe it will end better than it began, but alas it did not.....the only thing or I should I say the only one that kept me listening was Colin....Well done Mr Farrell, well done in deed, maybe try something a little lighter next time though, maybe something along the lines of Joy Ellis or Patricia Gibney?

52 people found this helpful

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Finally

Colin Farrell is the perfect reader for this book. Much easier to follow the weavings of the story with his voice guiding the way.

22 people found this helpful

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Loved it.

The native accent made this performance especially enjoyable. Chapter 3 made me laugh out loud. This audiobook makes Joyce more accessible...at least for me.

14 people found this helpful

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A superb listen

Colin Farrell is excellent. Daedalus jumps alive in Farrell's rendition of the Joyce classic. I couldn't press pause.

24 people found this helpful

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The performance let me experience more

An incredible book that touched me closely, but I am amazed at how good the performance was. Truly raised it to a new level!

8 people found this helpful

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Colin Farrell is perfect for this.

pleasant and clever and well narrated. another precocious brooding youth story, Irish style. highly recommended

11 people found this helpful

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Tough Read but I enjoyed this very much

It takes awhile to get used to Joyce's particular style, but the reading by Colin Farrell was exceptional and I very much enjoyed the book.

10 people found this helpful

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Amazing performance

One of my favorite performances in an audiobook! The story can be dense at times, but Colin Farrell absolutely brought it to life. This is an excellent way to enjoy a classic.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Hannah
  • 03-11-19

tantalising, tickling all of the senses

I really enjoyed this audio. An articulated dance with words so poetic and profound. I did think that the description of hell and damnation a bit full on, left echoes in my mind for a few days. Beautiful tone from Colin. With charm and clarity He really added to the stories capability to provoke and activate the awakened imagination, visualising nicely the presentation of this clever journey. Story Tellers at there best. thank you. x

2 people found this helpful

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  • Linde Schaafsma
  • 03-09-19

Beautifully narrated

I have read the book before and loved it then. The narration adds an extra layer to it, especially as it is done by an Irishman. The female voices did make me chuckle.

2 people found this helpful

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  • ROSS JENKIN
  • 09-12-19

A Masterpiece

Collin Farrell's performance was peerless, the story, the feeling and context of the times, and Stephen's searching was brought to life in a realistic and unpretentious manner.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stephen reid
  • 07-21-19

Stunning performance by Farrell.

This a very challenging book but Farrell's performance brings it to life. The obvious struggle with his religion is the driver of all that he is . Ireland only onto recently has broken the suffocating shackles of the church ch ...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Declan Hannaway
  • 03-04-20

Struggled through it.

I never got into this audiobook at all. The story was boring from the start and it didn't get any better as it progressed.

The positive was that Colin Farrell was great at narrating this audiobook and his voice is very easy to listen to.

Perhaps the story was wasted on me, but it just wasn't my type of audiobook.

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  • MR
  • 02-11-20

Perfect performance by Colin Farrell

I have several versions of Portrait of the Artist and they are all very good but I found this one by Colin Farrell the best.

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  • John Tracey
  • 07-21-19

If Only Colin Farrell had time to narrate Ulysses

A great book, fascinating following a young boy through his early education and reaching adolescence and making his own choices and decisions. The early part of the book reads as a child wrote it and becomes more eloquent as he ages and goes through change.
Colin Farrell is a natural narrator of Joyce's works and hopefully some day he has time to take on the bigger ones, very clear spoken, soothing and harsh when needs be but always at the perfect speed

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  • dr shaun p griffin
  • 07-04-19

Lovely

Beautiful. It comes together at the end to create a true enchantment of the heart. I've never been so moved by anyone's writing. And the performance by Farrell was brilliant.

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  • Annie
  • 02-23-19

Read When You Want To, Not When You’re Told To!

I read this for a course & that is not always the best way to read a book. I only continued, because I had to do so. I think I will enjoy it more when & if I revisit it. I do, however, think that this is only a portrait of a single young man, as opposed to young men!

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  • John
  • 11-04-19

Narrator Colin Farrell inappropriate choice

Farrell is a very successful film actor. But his particular Dublin accent is inappropriate to convey the atmosphere and accents of Stephen Dedalus and his Cork born father. The Dedalus family were an middle/upper class Irish family and would have spoken without a pronounced Dublin accent. Stephen’s father came from Cork and would have retained traces of his Cork accent. Also, Jesuits were particularly clear in their diction (they are trained to give clearly delivered sermons )and at ease with Latin. Farrell’s delivery is plain and lacks variety. There are a few unusual pronunciations.,Farrell’s stellar film career unfortunately is not a preparation for this reading challenge. I gave up after persisting for three chapters.,