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Editorial Reviews

Henry James’ literary classic, The American, is an absurdly funny, darkly tragic, and melodramatic tale concerning the follies of romance and unrequited love.

A businessman, Christopher Newman, traveling through Europe falls in love with a captivating woman, Claire de Cintre. Her aristocratic family, firmly entrenched in Parisian society and all that goes with it, are dead-set against the courtship of this "commercial" American.

With a voice seemingly piped in from the walnut-finished oak of a vintage radio, narrator Jim Killavey transports the listener to a time long ago, where the traditions were different, but the desires and frustrations of the human heart remained the same.

Publisher's Summary

During a trip to Europe, Christopher Newman, a wealthy American businessman, asks the charming Claire de Cintre to be his wife. To his dismay, he receives an icy reception from the heads of her family, who find Newman to be a vulgar example of the American privileged class. Brilliantly combining elements of comedy, tragedy, romance and melodrama, this tale of thwarted desire vividly contrasts nineteenth-century American and European manners.
© and (P) Jimcin Recordings

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Susan C.
  • Madison, WI United States
  • 03-20-04

The American

It took a little while to get used to the reader's style, but once I did I found he carried very well both James's prose and the intense suspense he creates.

33 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Reader ? Robot ?

The story is good enough to keep me interested but the reader has no concept of putting himself into the story and expressing the emotion behind the words. Every word is clearly enunciated and carefully spaced so that one has the impression of being read to by an automaton.

12 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Werner
  • Brooklyn, NY, USA
  • 06-14-05

Great book, poor reader

My great pleasure in listening to this title could have been even greater if the reader had known how to pronounce French words.

6 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The voice matters

I really wanted to hear this book but the narrator's voice was dead and distracting. I guess I'll have to pick the actual book up at the Library.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kenny
  • Odessa, TX, USA
  • 12-02-07

Good book / poor narrator

Please consider before buying: The narrator reads in nearly a monotone and sounds like he has no idea how to do expression at all. There are certainly no accents or different voices for the different characters. He has a slight Boston accent and pronounces the word "picture" incorrectly. Since pictures are mentioned frequently, this becomes very irritating. I considered abandoning the book because of the boring narration. Very poor quality - very disappointing!

4 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • bkor
  • Highland Park, NJ USA
  • 03-19-07

get a new reader

This recording is less professional than other recorded books I've listened to. The reader has a pronounced east coast accent, and has no knowledge of French pronunciation - a problem when the book takes place in Paris, and there are French words scattered throughout the text. Having "toilettes" pronounced "toilets" would have Henry James rolling in his grave.

3 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mary
  • Macungie, PA, USA
  • 03-29-05

Good book very poorly read

This is a nice enough novel, but the narration was droning, boring and heavily overcome with a bostonian accent. It ruined the audio version.

3 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • GS
  • 10-24-07


I wish I had read the reviews before I purchased this title. I find it droning and boring to listen to. The reader spoils the story. And one would think he had never heard of some of the commonly used French words. This is my first Henry James novel and not a stimulating introduction.

2 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Welsh Mafia
  • 09-13-08


This tome from The Master comes about three years before Washington Square, The Portrait of a Lady and The Bostonians. It?s part of this great canon, but not the best ? an essential for those who?s interests lead them to Edith Wharton and E.M. Forster, but ? it has to be said ? hard work for a reduced return.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful