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Publisher's Summary

Dorian Gray, a handsome and narcissistic young man, lives thoughtlessly for his own pleasure - an attitude encouraged by the company he keeps. One day, after having his portrait painted, Dorian makes a frivolous Faustian wish: that he should always remain as young and beautiful as he is in that painting, while the portrait grows old in his stead.

The wish comes true, and Dorian soon finds that none of his wicked actions have visible consequences. Realizing that he will appear fresh and unspoiled no matter what kind of life he lives, Dorian becomes increasingly corrupt, unchecked by public opinion. Only the portrait grows degenerate and ugly, a powerful symbol of Dorian's internal ruin.

Wilde's dreamlike exploration of life without limits scandalized its late-Victorian audience and has haunted readers' imaginations for more than a hundred years.

(P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

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great performance boring story

I thought that the the performance was wonderful but the story was rather boring and not that well written and that it focused on the wrong aspects

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A Classic

I decided to challenge Mark Twain and his observation that “a classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read”, by reading Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Grey. Although it is a dark and challenging story, it paints a wonderful picture itself; of English society in the late nineteenth century. Wilde certainly has a way with words, especially those depicted in conversations between Dorian and those with whom he converses. It is these conversations that kept me engaged more than the mystery of the painting. I always have wanted to read this book, and now that I have, I’m happy I did.

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Loved it!

The story was enchanting; it was a delight from beginning to end and the narrator was absolutely splendid.

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loved it, kept me in trestles throughout

several chapters were a little redundant (I'm looking at you chapter 11). other than that, loved the story, was consistently funny, and some of the twists suprised me despite knowing the basic storyline.

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Brilliant on all levels

As always Simon Vance was incredible.

This is a powerful story. So well written. Interesting philosophies. The preface in itself was fascinating.

If I could give this more stars I would.

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Fantastic narration

The narration, the tone, rate and manner of speech perfectly fit the characters. It really brings them alive. The female voices can be a bit silly, but there are only very occasional female speaking characters.

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Must Read!

The story played out beautifully! My mind was blown once I reached the ending... It most definitely left me completely satisfied. PS: The man narrating was exquisite.

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Excellent writing, great finale

I never read the book or saw the movie, but when i read about it i thought it was going to be a book full of sins and depravation, i was not seeking that, but i was surprised that it didn't go into details of what Dorian Gray did to become so evil. That is the only part that i didn't love, maybe it could explain how he gets to be so bad.

On the other part the hedonist and cynical point of view given through Lord Henry is excellent, i think that is what made this book so important and influential.

I loved the ending.

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  • Barry
  • Petaluma, CA, United States
  • 09-26-14

The magic word is 'influence'

There is a passage early on where Lord Henry Wotton, the Mephistopheles character in this little morality play, offers a definition of the word 'influence' that encapsulates the central issue of the book. The word 'influence' is repeated often enough in this short book that I think Wilde must have intended that significance. It's something I overlooked the first time I read this book 40 years ago. I must have overlooked a lot because the book has improved a great deal in that time. It helps to have more context about Wilde and his times. And it helps too to know how much the extravagant descriptive passages owe to Wilde's French inspiration, À Rebours, a book sadly not available on audio.

Watching Dorian deteriorate under the influence of Lord Henry, while the positive friend, Basil Hallward, refuses to influence him at all, it strikes me that Wilde is making a rather strong case for morality in contradiction to the usual libertine motives ascribed to him. One thing that I think is often overlooked about Dorian is that he is described by Basil at the beginning as having some kind of special unique personality. Who he would have become if left uninfluenced is one of the mysteries that makes the story poignant.

One wishes Wilde had explored that possibility. One wishes that Dorian, as he ages, would become a person with a more defined persona. But he remains a rather unformed cipher right up to the end. That is yet another mystery Wilde left unexplored. What was it about Dorian that kept him from becoming "the hero of his own life" as Dickens phrased it?

Still, the questions Wilde chose to explore have managed to produce one of the iconic books of the Victorian Age. One might ask what it was about the puritanical moralistic Victorians that has left us with such a collection of horrific Gothic legacy: Dorian Gray, Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, etc.

The painting itself plays such a small part in the book, one is tempted to wonder if the title is actually referring to the painting or not. I am inclined to believe the title really refers to the book itself (i.e., a narrative picture rather than a visual one).

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  • Joseph
  • Ewing, NJ, United States
  • 10-30-12

Got my littleSister to enjoy discussing literature

My little sister who never got into reading actively started a discussion about this book when she was reading it in school, for which I'm grateful. An interesting novella, especially when paired with The Curious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As both struggle with the inner vs the outer person. Though very different takes on it.

Dorian Grey is a young beautiful man who poses for a painting. When it is finished he wishes that the he will always stay that beautiful and that the painting would take all the marks of his living. This comes to pass, but the consequences spiral out of control. The painting becomes a reflection of Dorian's very soul baring the stains of his sins.

I can't say anymore without giving things away, so listen to it.

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  • hfffoman
  • 04-24-15

A contrary view

Would you try another book written by Oscar Wilde or narrated by Simon Vance?

Simon Vance, yes. Oscar Wilde no.

Would you ever listen to anything by Oscar Wilde again?

No

Any additional comments?

Oscar Wilde's writing is renowned for its intelligence and wit. I found it so irritating I couldn't read beyond a couple of chapters.

The first problem for me was the pompous chatter of pompous people who have never done a day of work. For some reason, it is wonderful to read Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and many others writing about people who fall in the same category, but Oscar Wilde's characters were, for me, dull and annoying.

An even bigger problem is the famous Oscar Wilde wit. Every few lines we meet a comment which at first glance sounds pithy, witty and wise. After a while I found that most of them were not clever and wise but over-clever, contrived and pretentious

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • CGrant1978
  • 08-16-10

Not bad version

although a few of the characters aren't brought to life in a truely believable way this is a fairly good recording of Oscar Wilde's great novel. The narration is well paced and the story comes across well.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs
  • 11-18-15

classic narrative.

a truly brilliant piece of narrative and good for us to hear it in its true form. however it is difficult to settle in to as the way it was written and therefore preformed is the 1800s

0 of 2 people found this review helpful