Tess of the d'Urbervilles

  • by Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 14 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Young Tess Durbeyfield attempts to restore her family's fortunes by claiming their connection with the aristocratic d'Urbervilles. But Alec d'Urberville is a rich wastrel who seduces her and makes her life miserable. When Tess meets Angel Clare, she is offered true love and happiness, but her past catches up with her, and she faces an agonizing moral choice.
Thomas Hardy's indictment of society's double standards, and his depiction of Tess as "a pure woman", caused controversy in his day and has held the imagination of readers ever since. Hardy thought it his finest novel and Tess the most deeply felt character he ever created.


Audible Editor Reviews

In this classic novel of a peasant girl meeting the aristocracy, and then dealing with the consequences, Thomas Hardy examines the mores and contradictions of late-nineteenth-century England. Tess is the ultimate tragic heroine, and her plight - especially the questions of sexuality it raises - resonates even today. Simon Vance narrates this timeless story as a one-man band of Englishness. From his impeccable rhythm to the wonderful variety of accents he employs throughout the novel, his narration is outstanding. One might think the work is being delivered by a full cast. In bringing the audio to life, especially through the accents he uses for the country folk, Vance reminds us why Hardy's great work remains a classic of English literature.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

not Hardy at his best - woeful narration

I love Thomas Hrady, but had never read this book, though I knew the story. I found it lacked the lyricism of his other works, and the characters were not as well-formed - aside from Tess and Angel, the characters are almost caricatures of West Country bumpkins, though that may have been down to the narrator. I didn't feel Tess was as fully-formed a character as some of Hardy's other heroines, and Angel is not sympathetic at all, so hard to feel Tess's love for him. I struggled at times to stay interested, and found myself listening just to try to get it over and done with.

Ultimately, though, it was the narration that spoiled this. Simon Vance puts on such terrible women's voices it is farcical, so it's hard to take Tess seriously. His portrayal of the country folk is too far-fetched and comical. Hardy writes tragic, moving novels, not bawdy comedies. And most unforgivable of all - he cannot do a West Country accent, and his attempt drifts further and further west throughout the book, so Tess in turn becomes Welsh and eventually Irish by the end of the book. Appalling.
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- Helen

Another wonder of a book!

loved it! Thomas hardy as always - wonderful. never wanted it to end, next book please!
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- miss m bowen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 28-07-2008
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio