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Editorial Reviews

Oscar Wilde’s classic endures with its gems of astute observation and cynical wit. The eerie story follows a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty in the form of a supernatural portrait. Life's mysterious paradoxes are laced throughout Lord Henry's brilliant aphorisms. Gray is urged by Henry to "love the wonderful life that is in you." The novel's qualities are mired in decadence, "art for art's sake," the new hedonism of the Victorian-era upper class, and societal moral corruption. Simon Prebble perfectly achieves Lord Henry's "low, languid voice" and sparkling conversation, while avidly expressing the other characters' more torrid emotions. Prebble brings the fable's gothic horror to life, but the more youthful characters lack believable intonation.
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Publisher's Summary

Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, the dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged---petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral---while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying and enchanting readers for more than 100 years. Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not simply a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde's fin-de-siècle world and a manifesto of the creed "Art for Art's Sake."The ever-quotable Wilde, who once delighted London with his scintillating plays, scandalized readers with this, his only novel. Upon publication, Dorian was condemned as dangerous, poisonous, stupid, vulgar, and immoral, and Wilde as a "driveling pedant." The novel, in fact, was used against Wilde at his much-publicized trials for "gross indecency," which led to his imprisonment and exile on the European continent. Even so, The Picture of Dorian Gray firmly established Wilde as one of the great voices of the Aesthetic movement and endures as a classic that is as timeless as its hero.
Public Domain (P)2008 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Paul on 11-12-13

This Should be Next In Your Library, Period

What made the experience of listening to The Picture of Dorian Gray the most enjoyable?

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a stunningly beautiful book, among my very favourites. I had not read it for many years when I stumbled upon this performance of it, and it has instantly rocketed to the top of the "Top 10" list in my Audible library.

This cautionary, "be careful what you wish for" tale contains many of Oscar Wilde's most celebrated lines, including my personal favourite, "There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." Beautiful-but-outrageous dialogue like this brings a lightness and some comedy to this otherwise sad story.

I'm not sure if I've ever given 5 stars across the board before, but this performance of this wonderful book is surely deserving of it. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

Prebble gives a near-perfect performance. Each character has a distinctive voice, but the distinctions are subtle and totally believable, unlike some narrators who I think go overboard. His "Basil Hallwood" in particular is beautifully human; every ounce of the characters kindness, and his love for Dorian, comes shining through.

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25 of 25 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By TyrannosaurusRix on 06-10-17

Well, now I'm so veddy depressed.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Certainly. It's one of those must-read books that I never read before.

What did you like best about this story?

The writing is exceedingly witty but depressingly cynical. What I liked LEAST about the story is that Lord Henry, having amused himself setting up and observing his little social experiment for 18 years, suffers no pangs or punishment. But then, I suppose this is a lot like real life...

Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Prebble never disappoints.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The leisure class - gack! There are enough literary portrayals of this class and time that at least some of it must be true. Lives boasting no notable accomplishment other than having picked the right ancestors from whom to inherit. Lives lived with no occupation but dining out, attending theater, and "calling on" one another. The class, gender and race prejudice is astounding. Did no one miss the sense of having done something useful?

Any additional comments?

A language of drama and absolutes. You would fit right in if you could learn to say: "I can't BEAR it!" "You must/must not," "I will not allow it." "Oh, DO (insert any verb here - stay, go, sit.)" "My DEAR (insert any name here.)" Frankly, having any conversation with these people would have worn me out. (Sorry. Would have QUITE have worn me out.)

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Andrea on 03-21-09

Inimitable Lord Henry

No one but Prebble could interpret so well the languid tones and phlegm of Lord Henry. In the narrator's voice I could visualise the character's affected smile and slow gestures. Dorian also, from a youthful voice at first, becomes more detached, sophisticated, and Lord Henry-like in tones as the book develops. I cannot think of a more appropriate narrator. This is a priceless interpretation of the The Picture of Dorian Gray.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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