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Publisher's Summary

This is the first collection of six individual portraits from the master of the monologue.

Performed by the author and five of Britain's leading actresses, Alan Bennett's tales are full of quirky, insightful detail that bring the characters vividly to life.

From Julie Walters' portrayal of an actress seeking fame to Anna Massey's alcoholic vicar's wife, these individuals are linked by their self-delusion, desperation, and vulnerability.

In these compelling pieces, Bennett displays the wry observation, knowing irony, and tender understatement that have ensured his rightful place at the forefront of contemporary writing.

This collection includes A Chip in the Sugar with Alan Bennett; A Lady of Letters with Patricia Routledge; Bed Among the Lentils with Anna Massey; Soldiering On with Stephanie Cole; Her Big Chance with Julie Walters; and A Cream Cracker Under the Settee with Thora Hird.

©2001 and (P)1998, 2001 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nancy J
  • Tornado Alley OK
  • 06-16-14

Quirky, funny and brilliant

Alan Bennett is my all-time favorite writer of dialogue and monologue. He is a master at showing a character's inner feelings without the character's actually knowing he or she is revealing much of anything. And he has an uncanny knack for creating the talk of women: every line, even when pretty far out, sounds absolutely true to the character.

These talents make the "Talking Heads" monologues memorable, ironic and funny at the same time that they are moving and powerful. In particular, "A Lady of Letters," with Patricia Routledge, and "Bed Among the Lentils," with Anna Massey demonstrate the quiet lives of desperation lived by many women.

This is material guaranteed to make you laugh or chuckle and yet be moved by the speakers. Highly recommended!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Impeccable, terrific, and moving

These are some of the most exquisite pieces of acting I've ever heard. Each seemingly mundane character harbors, then reveals some unimaginable secret that bubbles up from the undercurrent of a seemingly normal life.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • hh
  • pdx United States
  • 08-25-07

classic

This classic is now available on Audible and thank goodness for it. Despite some repetition across the monologues, one still must go a long way to find writing this painfully insightful, witty, erudite and heartfelt. Because Alan is now something of a household name, we get the added treat of hearing top-notch actors perform the roles. One caution: due to the wide range of dynamics on this recording, this is not a good commuter listen. Save it for a quiet evening at home.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great audio experience

Morrissey turned me on to this author and what a find. This 'talking heads' series is brilliant and very well suited to the audio experience. Another reason to congratulate Audible on their link-up with the BBC.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Essential

This is the second time I've bought an audio version of the Talking Heads series. I had them on audio cassette from way back, and have now treated myself with a digital copy. I have listened to these stories over and over again. Excellent performances, riveting writing. I can't say enough good things about Talking Heads.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • John S.
  • Seattle, WA United States
  • 05-24-11

Yeah ... it's brilliant

There's a general consensus that the Brits are the masters of irony as an art form. These stories are proof.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mam
  • VONORE, TN, United States
  • 02-03-11

Good listening.

Wonderful listening to Alan and company as they traipse along with their tales short and sometimes bitter sweet of an age now past, but a reminder of what was.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    out of 5 stars
  • Wendy
  • COFFS HARBOURAustralia
  • 12-21-08

wendygai

Excellent!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Peek into suprisingly different lives!

Loved the rich tapestry revealed by each sentance of these monolouges. Tiny sparks of recognition noticed in Mr. Bennett's characters, even if by comparison his characters are found more on the extreme side of the personality spectrum to those people we recognize from our lives. Although this distinction may only exist because we aren't privy to the depths of the personalities of those we meet day to day in church or the office or even nextdoor.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alistair
  • 05-22-08

Outstanding monologues

This was my first introduction to Alan Bennett and now I can't believe I didn?t listen to his stuff sooner.

He has an incredible way of story telling that's both familiar and easily accessible, not normally something I would say about long monologues.

The narrators really are top notch, Julie Walters is superb.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • 09-08-09

Brilliant Bennett

A joy to read, a joy to listen too and joy to be part of. Alan Bennett will have you amazed that he has been able to put so many of the obivous everyday obersvations we have all made into this little gems. If this is your first taste of Bennett you will find yourself only wanting more. For those of us who have savoured his work for years it is more to enjoy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabeth
  • 11-29-10

as you would expect

I watched some of these monologues years ago on TV and am pleased to say they work just as brilliantly on audio. Alan Bennett is the Master.
The attention to detail in the dialogue, and the brilliant performances of the actors make you listen and feel like you have met or seen these people at least once in your life. He creates characters straight from everyday life, that are beautifully and truthfully observed. I defy you not to feel anything for each of them as you listen. Fabulous

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ruth
  • 06-13-12

Lovely mr Bennett

Just fabulous. A required audio book staple which should be in everyone's collection. Mr Bennett brings people into my sitting room.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • eddy
  • 08-28-17

strange choice

well this was a strange choice for a change and I'm glad I made it

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lena
  • 01-23-17

Brilliant

Absolutely loved this group of stories. Alan Bennett captures everyday life and makes it thought provoking and very amusing at the same time. The narrators are perfect!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brenda ishani
  • 04-10-16

Thoroughly enjoyable

Alan Bennett at his best. A great storyteller and amazing observer of life with all its foibles.

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  • Mrs M Thoburn
  • 12-19-15

Bennett : the master of monologue

Having heard this years ago I was again transfixed by the language and the wonderful pictures he is able to paint with words.
Five stars all round from me.

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  • Catherine
  • 04-27-15

Utter Genius

If you could sum up Talking Heads in three words, what would they be?

Funny, Different, Unique!!

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

You could listen to this in one sitting as it is only 3 hours. I downloaded this for my father to listen to as he is blind. He thoroughly enjoyed it and wants to listen to more, it was a tonic for him. Alan Bennett is such a talented author, funny, interesting and very unique. The characters he creates are wonderful,

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  • Mrs Walker
  • 03-11-15

A real treat

Excellent on all fronts: brilliant writing with a series of first class readings by well-known stars. A real treat.