• by Virginia Woolf
  • Narrated by Clare Higgins
  • 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible
Fantasy, love and an exuberant celebration of English life and literature, Orlando is a uniquely entertaining story. Originally conceived by Virginia Woolf as a playful tribute to the family of her friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West, Orlando's central character, a fictional embodiment of Sackville-West, changes sex from a man to a woman and lives throughout the centuries, whilst meeting historical figures of English literature.
The book opens with Orlando as a young nobleman in Elizabethan England who finds love with a Russian princess. During Charles II's reign, he is an ambassador to Constantinople and becomes a Duke. Orlando then goes on to wake as a beautiful woman, exploring the roles of women in the 18th and 19th centuries. Eventually becoming a wife and mother the tale ends in the year 1928, a year consonant with full suffrage for women. Upon plans to publish her 1588 poem 'The Oak Tree', written in the opening of the book, she reflects on her centuries of adventure.
An exploration of androgyny and the creative life of a woman, it is considered a feminist work. Arguably one of Woolf's most popular stories, it marked a turning point in her career, departing from her more introspective works. Receiving both critical and financial success, it guaranteed Woolf's financial stability.
There have been many adaptations made, including a 1992 film starring Tilda Swinton and an opera by composer Peter Aderhold which premiered at the Braunschweig State Theatre in in 2016.
Narrator Biography
Clare Higgins is an accomplished actress of screen and stage, winning three Olivier Awards for Best Actress for her roles in Sweet Bird of Youth (1995), Vincent in Brixton (2003) and Hecuba (2005). With a long and successful career in British and American theatre, she has also been a regular feature on our television screens. Her recent roles have included Miss Cackle in The Worst Witch (2017), Ohila in Doctor Who (2013 and 2015), Hazel Warren in EastEnders (2015) and Vivian in Rogue (2014).
Claire Higgins is probably best known for her memorable and sinister performance as Julia in the horror films Hellraiser (1987) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), with other film appearances including The Golden Compass (2007) and Small Faces (2006). With a voice and timing perfect for audio she has narrated many audiobooks, including Nick Hornby's How to Be Good and Joanna Trollope's The Best of Friends, and in 2009 portrayed Margaret Thatcher in the BBC Radio 4 drama A Family Affair.


What the Critics Say

"Clare Higgins's supple, silky voice does justice to Woolf's literary landmark. The language of Orlando, peppered with alliterative phrases, flows effortlessly with perfect pacing by Higgins, and Woolf's dry wit shines through her performance." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An imaginative classic...

This is an outstanding pieces of literature. I came to this title by accident following a audible recommendation link from a previous title, The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffeneggar.
This voyage through life and time is superb. Humorous, intense and subtle. He, then she, Orlando, touches, brushes and grasps each era from the 16th to the 20th century. An imaginative classic, this work is accessible and highly recommended!
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- Nicholas


They stream of consciousness style and dry wit is suited perfectly to an audiobook. Also, Clare Higgin's voice is perfectly suited to the work, and I want her to record all of Virginia Woolf's work.

It is magical, perfectly produced and the only disappointment is that 8 hours and 43 mins is over much, much too quickly. It is one of the few audiobooks that I will listen to again.

Wonderful, magical, surprising, original, beautiful, bold and full of love.

Listen to the sample . . . and then you will find that you must get this audiobook.
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- Phillip

Book Details

  • Release Date: 14-01-2005
  • Publisher: Audible Studios