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The Death of the Heart  By  cover art

The Death of the Heart

By: Elizabeth Bowen
Narrated by: Pearl Hewitt
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Publisher's Summary

The Death of the Heart is perhaps Elizabeth Bowen's best-known book. As she deftly and delicately exposes the cruelty that lurks behind the polished surfaces of conventional society, Bowen reveals herself as a masterful novelist who combines a sense of humor with a devastating gift for divining human motivations.

In this piercing story of innocence betrayed set in the 30s, the orphaned Portia is stranded in the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of her wealthy half-brother's home in London. There she encounters the attractive, carefree cad Eddie. To him, Portia is at once child and woman, and her fears her gushing love. To her, Eddie is the only reason to be alive. But when Eddie follows Portia to a sea-side resort, the flash of a cigarette lighter in a darkened cinema illuminates a stunning romantic betrayal - and sets in motion one of the most moving and desperate flights of the heart in modern literature.

©1938, 1966 Elizabeth Bowen (P)2021 Tantor

What listeners say about The Death of the Heart

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Superbly listenable classic

In the first few seconds I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy the narrator’s performance, but quickly this turned out to be the most listenable, for long stretches, book I’ve purchased so far on Audible.

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Terrible narration

Every syllable is crisply and clearly articulated, but it's almost impossible to tell if a character is speaking or if it's meant to be text. The reader also provides almost no variation between characters, and that variation fades by the 5th word, making it very difficult to follow who is saying what to whom. The reader's delivery is done via metronome, with almost no variation in the pace. Together, these attributes make the reading very flat. The narration is also perverse. If the book directs that a character speaks with surprise or makes an exclamation, the narrator breaks in to a sort of whisper. When a character is described as speaking defensively, the narrator goes deadpan. Whatever the writer's direction, the reader does something quite in the opposite direction. Because the reading is so monotone, yes crisp and clear, but with so little variation, it is almost impossible to follow what the writer was trying to convey. I gave up after 3 hours.

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Where's the plot?

I kept waiting for this story to go somewhere. Did not make it through.
There seemed to be no plot.

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  • F. Wynn
  • 04-22-21

The Pains of Growing Up.

This was a beautifully written story. The narration was excellent. It was a pleasure to listen to.