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Editorial Reviews

Oscar Wilde’s classic endures with its gems of astute observation and cynical wit. The eerie story follows a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty in the form of a supernatural portrait. Life's mysterious paradoxes are laced throughout Lord Henry's brilliant aphorisms. Gray is urged by Henry to "love the wonderful life that is in you." The novel's qualities are mired in decadence, "art for art's sake," the new hedonism of the Victorian-era upper class, and societal moral corruption. Simon Prebble perfectly achieves Lord Henry's "low, languid voice" and sparkling conversation, while avidly expressing the other characters' more torrid emotions. Prebble brings the fable's gothic horror to life, but the more youthful characters lack believable intonation.

Publisher's Summary

Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, the dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged---petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral---while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying and enchanting readers for more than 100 years. Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not simply a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde's fin-de-siècle world and a manifesto of the creed "Art for Art's Sake."The ever-quotable Wilde, who once delighted London with his scintillating plays, scandalized readers with this, his only novel. Upon publication, Dorian was condemned as dangerous, poisonous, stupid, vulgar, and immoral, and Wilde as a "driveling pedant." The novel, in fact, was used against Wilde at his much-publicized trials for "gross indecency," which led to his imprisonment and exile on the European continent. Even so, The Picture of Dorian Gray firmly established Wilde as one of the great voices of the Aesthetic movement and endures as a classic that is as timeless as its hero.
Public Domain (P)2008 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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Story

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  • Performance
  • Story

Could have been

This could have been a good story. The writer went on and on about stuff that wasn't applicable to the story. The narrator could have helped if he had differentiated more between the voices of the three main characters and the narrator more.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Micki
  • Brooklyn , NY, USA
  • 07-17-09

Brilliant book with Superb Narration

No need to extoll the brilliance of this novel. Simon Prebble's narration however is top-notch.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Simple Enjoyable Sci-Fi...

In this novel, you can expect enough science fiction to make it interesting to sci-fi buffs, yet it is not the hyper sci-fi we find in current novels. There is no diving into the 'Why' something super natural has happened, it just did. In modern texts, I would consider some sort of explanation a must in a good sci-fi story, but considering that this text is 100 years old, I seemed to not mind that absence. It really is about the human heart's struggle to deal with one's immorality without going mad. The narrator performed well with a pleasing accent and I could listen comfortably at 2X speed. I would spend a credit on this one. For my favorite read on Audible, check out Ken Grimwood's 'Replay'. Hope this helps someone. Later.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Bugra
  • Rochester, New york, United States
  • 09-24-13

PERFECT STORY PERFECT PERFORMANCE MUST LISTEN

Simon Prebble's narration is perfect. He gave life to all the characters in a way that you actually feel you are in the room with Dorian Gray. Started and could not let down and finished in a couple of days. i reccomend the book to anyone who likes to listen to a great story and have an amazing narration experience.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Monica
  • Stillwater, MN
  • 10-08-12

Loved it

What made the experience of listening to The Picture of Dorian Gray the most enjoyable?

This was a really great audio book. i would recommened it to everyone.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Basil Hallward

Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

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

no

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Mesmerizing

Wonderful narration of a witty classic. It was like watching a train wreck, you can't stop listening.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Dual Natured, Dramatic, and Devastatingly Wicked

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have recommended, and will keep recommending, this book/ audio book to anyone and everyone. Lord Henry shows both the impractical and the practical side of a wicked philosophy, while Basil shows the craving for simple, naive, or innocent personalities among those of us who have come into the knowledge of sin and yet resist temptation. Dorian Gray, and the changes he faced throughout this novel, represent the transition from innocence to adulthood and how simple mistakes change us forever. In this hauntingly beautiful novel, Oscar Wilde depicts both this philosophy, and his wit without overpowering the underlying moral takeaway in what has to be one of the greatest novels of all time.

I would not recommend this for Militant (i.e. unwilling to learn) Christians, Atheists, or other firm believers in something absolute. This is a novel for those willing to learn, for in learning, you are re-instituting your very belief system.

8 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Pompous and boring

What disappointed you about The Picture of Dorian Gray?

It's a story that could have been told in about 30 minutes. But there is 7 and a half extra hours of describing the type of thread warn on the cuff of the sort of jacket on top of a certain shirt on a top the chest of a man standing a room decorated with a type of.... and so on and so on. Then it goes on with two men obsessed with another man. One who views himself as intellectually superior and another who views himself as morally superior. Everyone in the story is self-absorbed.

Would you ever listen to anything by Oscar Wilde again?

No

Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

James Vane, I guess. He's the only one who for a moment seemed to care about anything but himself.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It was well written and well read.

Any additional comments?

I was excited to read this book. I was planning to read it a few months before it was time and it was a huge let down.I thought it would be a lot more like the movie, The Man From Earth, with a little extra vanity.

9 of 16 people found this review helpful

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I finally have read this classic...

I think I was assigned this book in school, and it's one of the few that I didn't ever finish.
Now that I've listened, I know why.
The story of "the Portrait of Dorian Gray" is often cited and a basic part of Anglo American culture.
But the actual fact of this book is tedious and preachy.
Apart from lots of Oscar Wilde Bon mots, which you've heard and may not know the source of, there is just an awful lot of implied action without any description, and lecture, lecture, lecture.
I bought this on sale, and I'm glad it's over.

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Great novel, decent narration

This Oscar Wilde classic is a must read, the narration is adequate. This audio served its purpose, but no more.