Word Child

  • by Iris Murdoch
  • Narrated by Simon Prebble
  • 15 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A brilliant but deeply flawed man struggles to earn absolution
Hilary Burde was a rising star in academia until a tragic accident plunged him and his mentor and rival, Gunnar Jopling, into two decades of depression and guilt. Hilary, unable to overcome his pain, abandoned his promising career for an unfulfilling job as a civil servant. But at age 41, Hilary crosses paths again with Gunnar - initiating a series of events that will change their lives forever.
Set against a richly drawn backdrop of post-war London, A Word Child is a gripping story of passion and the redemptive power of love.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Ugh!!!

Unpleasant story about mostly unpleasant people; wasted 15 hours of my time. Beautiful prose; minimal substance!
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- WANDA

Gifted writing about an unredeemable soul

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I listened to all 14 hrs. of this audio book because of its glittering prose and insight into the complexities of humanhood, but mostly I hoped that something redeemable might surface in the central character. But alas, there was something so inherently "off" in Hilary Burde's very being that neither deprived childhood nor tragic accident could excuse the lens of cruel distain through which his relationships with others are filtered. His unbridled narcissism is that of the sociopath. He reels through his life in a toxic cloud of self-pity, poised to smash and destroy with clenched fists or poison tongue. This unattractive protagonist left me with a bad taste in my mouth at the first line but Murdoch is such an intuitive and gifted writer that I persevered in the withering hope of some sort of epiphany rising like a Phoenix in the final pages. Indeed there was a small glimmer of such but it was too little, too late. I no longer cared. Having spent 14 hours with a bully I was just glad it was over.


What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

I listen to a lot of audiobooks and Simon Prebble is one of the most gifted readers I have encountered. His performance kept me engaged long after I lost interest in the central character.


Could you see Word Child being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?


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- Barbara Bergmann

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-08-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios