Summary

Balzac’s universally loved novel explores the great theme of money and its effect on the human character. Old Goriot is a lodger at Madame Vauquer’s Parisian boarding house. At first, his wealth inspires respect, but as his circumstances are reduced, he is gradually shunned. He moves into smaller and less desirable rooms in the house, and soon his only remaining visitors are two beautiful young women. The mystery as to who they are and what is happening to Goriot’s fortune involves several other boarders, including Rastignac, an ambitious youth who hopes to rise in society.
With its complicities and alliances, mysteries and betrayals, passions and ambitions, the house becomes a microcosm of the grasping Parisian society of the 1820s - a perfect setting for Balzac’s masterful portrayal of La Comédie humaine, the whole comedic parade of human life.
HONORÉ DE BALZAC (1799–1850), was born in Tours, France, educated at the Collège de Vendôme, and studied law at the Sorbonne. His father wished him to become a lawyer, but he left Tours in 1819 to seek his fortune as an author in Paris. He wrote eighty-five novels in twenty years, but his life was one of frequent privation. In 1850, he married Madame Hanska, a rich Polish lady with whom he had corresponded for more than fifteen years but had only just met in person. Five months later, Balzac died in Paris.
Public Domain (P)1999 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic reviews

“[A] meticulously observed story of love and greed…Reminiscent of King Lear, it also resonates today with the clarity of the poet’s barbed pen…Frederick Davidson is brilliant, deadening his voice for the dreadful daughters and their ghastly husbands, as well as portraying each ridiculous tenant in the boardinghouse…But it is Goriot’s deathbed scene that causes the hairs to rise on the backs of listeners’ neck. Listeners…cannot remain unmoved.” ( AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Peter on 29-01-15

Terrible

Would you try another book written by Honoré de Balzac or narrated by Frederick Davidson?

I believe that Fred Davidson is dead - which comes as something of a relief to know that he will not be murdering any more good literature by his appalling style of narration

What could Honoré de Balzac have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Another narrator - possibly somebody who understands French - would be a god start!

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I found it quite impossible to listen to this book!

Any additional comments?

I require a refund, please!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Mrs D. on 28-04-14

Gave up listening.

What didn’t you like about Frederick Davidson’s performance?

I wish I had read the review regarding the irritating French pronunciation before I wasted a credit on it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Eileen on 13-06-12

Classic novel, classically done

Where does Old Goriot rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of top classics

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Plot predictable but nuanced philosophical conclusions implied

Which character – as performed by Frederick Davidson – was your favorite?

Goriot of course

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

no, too dense for that

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By John on 23-05-16

Recording seems to skip

Great story and the narrator performed well, but the recording itself skipped very often even though the progress bar and timer didn't show any abnormalities

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