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Publisher's Summary

Impoverished young aristocrat Eugene de Rastignac is determined to climb the social ladder and impress himself on Parisian high society. While staying at the Maison Vauquer, a boarding house in Paris's rue Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve, he encounters Jean-Joachim Goriot, a retired vermicelli maker who has spent his entire fortune supporting his two daughters. The boarders strike up a friendship and Goriot learns of Rastignac's feelings for his daughter Delphine. He begins to see Rastignac as the ideal son-in-law, and the perfect substitute for Delphine's domineering husband. But Rastignac has other opportunities too, as the notorious criminal Vautrin, "The Death Dodger", offers to murder the brother of a wealthy woman, giving the ambitious young lawyer a clear path to her fortune. Profound and realistic, Father Goriot is a startling glimpse into the vanity and selfishness of 19th-century Paris. It is considered one of the finest works of Balzac's La Comedie Humaine. 

Public Domain (P)2018 Naxos Audiobooks

What listeners say about Father Goriot

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Astounding performance

Bill's performance renders the work so accessible and touching. The book can have rather longer commentaries esp at the beginning, but story also amazing as it gathers pace

1 person found this helpful

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lots to think about

I listened to this book as it is mentioned by Thomas Piketty in his book 'capital in the 21 century.' He may take much data from it I mostly read this as an ethical story. This is not a subtle story but it is a dark counterpart for war and peace and even a foreboding for Proust' recherche.

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My first Balzac

Wonderful and old fashion. But such joy! I will read more. The reader was excellent and if you spend any time with it you will be well rewarded!

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  • Dublin listener
  • 01-04-20

Incredible narration of an excellent book

Brilliantly written and scathing account of 19th century Parisian aristocratic life. The narration in particular was excellent, different characters are given different voices so that it is always possible to identify who is speaking. This was my first time encountering Balzac and I will definitely read more

3 people found this helpful

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  • Cliff Moyce
  • 04-04-21

A grim tale of failing bourgeoisie

If your new year resolutions included thinking more kindly of the French, the bourgeoisie or daughters in general, then this might not be the book for you.
Balzac is to Austen as The Mighty Boosh is to My Family. Ie a very (very) much grittier version of the same genre. The only reason I scored it 3 stars rather then 4 is because you end up not caring about the fate of any of the characters (or at least I didn’t). It got to the point where I started looking forward to it all being over, so depressing were the self-serving attitudes and behaviours on display (apart from the selfless Goriot who is exploited to a heart-breaking degree). But real life isn’t like that, and life stories move at their own pace. Balzac excels at real life, with all its unfairness and loose ends.
Just like with Austen, we are reminded constantly of how much everyone is worth (“only a thousand Francs a year”). But unlike Austen - and more like Dickens (think Little Dorrit) - everyone’s worth seems to be tending to zero at a rapid rate. These declines generate the most reprehensible of behaviours, including towards own families.
Balzac’s novels move at a gallop. He was a superb storyteller, and does almost all of it through dialogue. Quite a feat.