Old Goriot

  • by Honoré de Balzac
  • Narrated by Frederick Davidson
  • 10 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's 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.


What the Critics Say

“[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)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Horrible narrator

I can't tell you anything about this story, because about five minutes in, I refused to listen any further. This narrator sounds like the biggest pr-ck in the world: super smarmy, full of himself, with an irritating inflection pattern. I didn't want my introduction to Balzac to be colored by so terrible a narrator. If I could return this, I would since I know with certainty that I won't be listening to it any more than the very little I have already. Don't waste your money.
Read full review

- Diana

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

Read full review

- Eileen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-23-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.