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Publisher's Summary

This classic Henry James morality tale involves a triangle of friends and lovers doomed by overreaching desire and treachery.

In early 20th-century London, Kate Croy is secretly engaged to Merton Denscher, a journalist possessing all the qualities of an ideal husband except money. By chance, Kate befriends American heiress Milly Theale, whom she learns is suffering from a mysterious fatal illness. Kate, who truly cares for Milly, devises a scheme to maximize their combined assets: she encourages Merton to take an interest in Milly, to seduce her, and finally, to marry her. By lending her lover to brighten Milly's few remaining days, Kate intends to make him a rich widower whom she herself can marry. But such well-laid plans are not enough for the subtlety of the heart.

(P)1998 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"James did nothing like an Englishman - or an American. He was a great fact in himself, a new world, a terra incognita that he would devote all his days to mapping for the rest of us....James was the master of the novel in English in a way that no one had ever been before; or has ever been since." (Gore Vidal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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  • Performance
  • Story

Wings!

Henry James is the man. This masterpiece can be read and listened to again and again -- it is never the same -- it changes and grows as we do. Great to have a new recording. What a shame that more of James books are not available on Audible.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Good book - challenging read/listen

The Wings of the Dove is a brilliant book, not just an alltime classic, but i think its' ideas were far ahead of its' time.
I should say - it is a challenging read and listen - Henry James' writing fashion and condensed syntax is complex and requires patience, but i think it's worth the effort.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • Minneapolis, Mongolia
  • 10-06-08

Great all-around

This is the book that got me interested in Henry James. This is not my favorite of his works, but it is wonderful nonetheless. James does romance with depth, humor, intelligence, and a sense of what is true. The narration is very well done; voices are distinct but not caricature. The audio is of good quality as well. If you like James, I would also suggest Edith Warton's works.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • EVERETT
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 12-19-08

Late Henry James - a challenge to read/hear

Wings of the Dove is a very good story, and I very much liked the way the different lines of plot were woven together. However, the story is long, and with all due respect to this highly revered writer, I felt that the writing rambled a bit. Nadia May is one of my all-time favorite narrators. For this novel, though, she was mildly disappointing. Not all the voices of the characters were distinct. Two of the principal characters are American, while most of the rest are British. Ms May was not able to read the American dialogue consistently with a recognizable American accent.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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A little hard to follow but worth reading

A few times i had to go back a clarify what had happened bc things would get a bit dense at times, but worth a read. Great performance!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kerryn
  • Hampton, Australia
  • 09-21-13

Couldn't keep me awake.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I really wanted to like this book, but I kept falling asleep whilst listening to it and when I played it back it was as if I had never even heard it before. I found it all so forgettable. I am not sure if it was the performance or the story, I suspect it was a little of both. A bit disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 05-25-17

Did not overcome datedness

I generally like Henry James, and the underlying story in this novel is compelling, but the settings and characters have not seemed to age very well. Some novels of English class, money, and manners manage to overcome the time and social differences with a modern reader, but, for me, this novel did not. I did not like any of the character, and did not really care about their motivations.

At points the writing is outstanding, and the story is fine, but I found the vast amount of details boring.

The narration was low energy which was likely intentional, but certainly did not make the listen more compelling to me.

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Making Henry James' late novel bearable

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The writing style of this later novel makes it hard to discern the plot, which is actually quite interesting. No help for it but to wade though the sea of words to discover the worth of the novel as a whole. The narrator of the Audible version I listened to made it easier to get through. She did a wonderful job.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I disliked every character in this novel - no exceptions. My least favorite was Martin - for putting up with manipulation from all sides and not standing up for himself until it was too late.

Which scene was your favorite?

None in particular, but the lack of actual communication during every conversation described in the novel is astounding. It's almost like a Greek play where your fate is not only inescapable, but you actively contribute to it with your every word and action, whether you are aware of it or not.

Do you think The Wings of the Dove needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No - in this case, 'enough unsaid.'

Any additional comments?

Listened to this book for a book group. We'll find a lot to talk about - but it sure is a slog of a read/listen.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Katelyn
  • el mirage, AZ, USA
  • 05-16-09

Don't bother

Yet another example of a book that is so bad it deserves zero stars. It's story is meant to be depressing but the characters are so dull and unrealistic that it is impossible to feel for them. Don't waste your credit on this one, you'll only regret it as I did.

2 of 13 people found this review helpful

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