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Download All Passion Spent Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample All Passion Spent (Unabridged), by Vita Sackville-West
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (616 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Vita Sackville-West Narrator: Dame Wendy Hiller Publisher: AudioGO Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2010 ISBN:
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In 1860, as an unmarried girl of 17, Lady Slane nurtures a secret, burning ambition - to become an artist. She becomes, instead, the wife of a great statesman, Henry, the first Earl of Slane, and the mother of six children.

Seventy years later, released by widowhood, she abandons the family home in Elm Park Gardens - much to the dismay of her pompous sons and daughters - for a tiny house in Hampstead. Here she recollects the dreams of youth, and revels in her newfound freedom with her odd assortment of companions

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob | 2/18/2014

    " I read this over the summer and in glancing back to try to recall why I liked it so much, I find myself rereading the whole thing. Vita Sackville-West's writing is elegant and effortless and this is apparently regarded as her best book. The story, that of an 88-year old woman widowed and delightedly doing things exactly the way she wants to for the first time in her life despite the incessant meddling of her six children (now in their 60s), is inspiring and elegaic. Of course the author's aristocratic worldview makes it hard for her to comprehend someone not having enough money to live simply and comfortably with no financial anxiety, but relieved of those pedestrian cares, Sackville-West, by way of her protagonist, writes cogently on the contradictions of an artistic calling of any sort versus a conventionally unexamined life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richelle | 2/14/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. To me, it was about the importance of being true to our goals and passions, even if we must wait a lifetime in order to accomplish our dreams. Lady Slane was not able to be true to her vocation, letting her husband and children fill the void. Though she felt as if she had a happy life, she was unable to fulfill her passion for art. "Nothing matters to an artist except the fulfillment of his gift," Mr. FitzGeorge said to her. And how correct he was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 1/23/2014

    " Really good story about a grandmother planning her future after death of her husband against the wishes of most of her (money grabbing) children. I did find my french a bit lacking when translating the servant's speech! Loved the waspish humour within an essentially sad story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Blyth | 1/18/2014

    " Oh boy, this fine little book riled me up good with questions aplenty to fuel a lifetime of inquiry, or at least a dissertation, all under the gentle cloak of a story about how an elderly widow chooses to ride out the last years of her life. Sackville-West cleverly submerges monumental issues of vocation, marriage, and womanhood under a placid surface of British gentility, the themes eating their way into the reader's psyche that much more effectively for their subtle presentation. They tap you on the shoulder to bid that you might consider the fact that all of society is constructed on a platform of greed and blind ambition. Good fella, mightn't you have a look around you to notice the elbow-cocked jostling about among the world's grotesquerie of inhabitants, in the name of civilization. Her binary characters are constructed irksomely free of nuance. Perhaps due to her own stew of resentments over her marital and societal obligations, the burning questions get laid out in flat, blatant shapes to make her point clear: masculine competition = bad, feminine contemplation = good. At the risk of sounding ungrateful to my female forebears, Sackville-West's protagonist, Lady Slane, comes across at times like a spoiled brat who has no idea what real suffering even smells like (not meaning to imply that I have ever gotten so much as a whiff, either). She has the grace to spend nearly three pages giving a perfunctory nod to the her French servant's subsumed life before deciding not to "blame herself overmuch for the last indulgence of her melancholy." It took some effort to figure out what FitzGeorge and her other admirers saw in Lady Slane, though it's possible I'm underestimating the rarity of a gentle soul in the viceregal crowd. She wraps things up with a sanguine passing of the baton to her great-granddaughter who has the chance to do things differently, to act with defiance against society's expectations of her. Following the success of this book, Sackville-West apparently fell into what the author of the book's introduction terms an "irrational depression" - the best sort for a privileged smartypants like herself. Is a life of artistic contemplation justifiable and true or is there no obligation to society to be of more practical use, especially considering the resources at one's disposal? Does the answer depend on the presence of artistic talent? I don't know. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 12/26/2013

    " I really loved this book. It is part of my Literature Group list for this coming term and, as I am well behind on my reading, I am glad that it was so easy to read. The writing is beautiful and I do like the idea of the old lady getting her own back on her bossy family. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 12/22/2013

    " Where do I start? I loved this book. I love the eccentric characters and the way in which Sackville-West uses only a few words to elicit clear, three-dimensional pictures of them. I am sure many people who enjoy this book like it because of its critique of the woman's lot in life (i.e., men get to work, travel, and have all the fun, while women are stuck being wives and mothers) but I think this book has so much more to offer. It's unexpectedly funny, thought provoking, and sweet. If only both Merchant and Ivory were still alive to crank out one more of those period pieces.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 11/29/2013

    " This tiny book may be a dream, or at least it feels like being inside someone's dream. It is bittersweet and touching. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anastasia | 11/15/2013

    " A great concept but the writing is way too old-fashioned for me to enjoy. I slogggggged slowly through this short little book. I wish I could have enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Featherbooks | 8/25/2013

    " Irresistible, defines a "good read" in the language, the characters and the triumph of one woman of a certain age over those who have her "best interest in mind." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth L. | 8/17/2013

    " Can't remember who assigned this in college, but it's good- an interesting precursor to Old Filth, etc. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 5/25/2013

    " It's a deceptively simple, elegaic tale about an elderly widow who has enjoyed everything the world values but at the expense of what she herself most values. A lovely book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gabrielle | 5/19/2013

    " A wonderful look at a time and place, a family, and aging. Beautifully constructed. Very strong recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara Carlson | 3/22/2013

    " One of my favorite books of all time! I think this is the third time I have read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meredith O'neill | 12/1/2012

    " Sweet story of latter years. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leonie | 9/17/2012

    " Loved it. Exquisite, vivid, poignant yet impish. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denise | 3/11/2012

    " Loved it. And I give it 5 stars too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia | 6/11/2011

    " Brilliant. It's very evocative of the time and a really lovely read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eee | 6/3/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. It has clever writing, and it made me pause and consider how my relatives view me. It made being elderly sound appealing and reminded me to appreciate the seemingly eccentric people in my life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna | 4/25/2011

    " Originally published in 1931, this author's story,just like her life, conveys a message and addresses issues that still concern women today. A timeless classic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 3/4/2011

    " Can't remember who assigned this in college, but it's good- an interesting precursor to Old Filth, etc. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia | 1/9/2011

    " At her husband's death, Lady Jane decides to change her life. She is 88 years old.
    In her new house, she feels free to remember and dream. The best book by Vita Sackville-West.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 10/5/2010

    " A rich, deep meditation about life,aging, and knowing what is really important in your own life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 4/5/2010

    " Another take on a room of her own. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie | 6/9/2009

    " The story of an elderly woman,Lady Slane, looking back over her life. Reflective and melancholy, but funny and touching too, a understated and contemplative read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 5/13/2009

    " This tiny book may be a dream, or at least it feels like being inside someone's dream. It is bittersweet and touching. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jude | 10/10/2008

    " Every version of this: the book, the tv dramatization with Wendy Hiller, and her recording of the unabridged text, is wonderful, tho i lean toward Hiller's reading. This is a triumph of love and perspective, the wisdom, grace and humor of the author wafts up from every scene and observation.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 9/12/2008

    " It's a deceptively simple, elegaic tale about an elderly widow who has enjoyed everything the world values but at the expense of what she herself most values. A lovely book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marybel | 9/2/2008

    " A wonderful read and one to tell us all it is never too late to change. "

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