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Download Old Goriot Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Old Goriot Audiobook, by Honoré de Balzac Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (13,795 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Honoré de Balzac Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9781455177158
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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 Vanquer’s Parisian boardinghouse. At first, his wealth inspires respect, but as his circumstances are reduced, he is gradually shunned by the others. 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 Eugene 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The greatest novelist who ever lived.”

    W. Somerset Maugham, on Honoré de Balzac

  • “A man of genius.”

    Victor Hugo, on Honoré de Balzac

  • “[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

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 2/18/2014

    " Admit I read this as part of a class assignment, but really, truly liked it! I like putting myself into the corrupt life of Paris in the early 1800s, I guess. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeff | 2/12/2014

    " Perhaps I'm cynical, but stories about the evils of sacrificing one's morals for status and wealth strike me as outmoded. Of course it's a good message, but the daily newspaper is full of much worse than anything in Pere Goriot. For this reason, it falls a little flat. However, I was impressed by the narrative flow. It's a tight, quick read - something I wasn't expecting from a 19th century French novel. Maybe that's just how Balzac rolls. This was the first thing I've read by him, but it may be awhile before I try anything else. A decent story, strong characters, and a more than solid execution...but I still felt like something was missing. What am I not getting? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 2/8/2014

    " Read in French for exams and was heavy going but once my French was better I read this through in a couple if days. The twists and turns in the plot show that little changes in two hundred years especially with the way students behave. Have not read this translation but the penguin classics version is as good as you can get if you don't go for the French edition "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gena Lott | 1/24/2014

    " Not the easiest book I've ever read, but worth the plod. Many truthful tidbits. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jmassa | 1/20/2014

    " Exquisitely written, beautifully read. Cynical, tragic, ironic, depressing. "

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

    " I "read" this as an audiobook and I'm glad I did because I may have quit otherwise. But I am glad I read it. The book is set in Paris of about 1820 and concerns mostly the residents of a lower middle-class boarding house. In particular it concerns Eugene, an impoverished aristocrat from Provence in Paris to study law to and make a name for himself. and Goriot, a retired vermicelli merchant, who impoverishes himself so that his daughter can rise in society. It presents a cynical view of the moral, social, and emotional attitudes of Paris at the time and it ends sadly. I certainly came away from the story understanding why Paris had its reputation for luxurious and"immoral" living. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valerie Van Haltern | 1/15/2014

    " I have a collection of Balzac and read various stories -- all are great w/great lessons - as is lessons from his own life and experiences. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deborah | 12/18/2013

    " A favorite of mine. A look into the lives of the poor French people after the French Revolution! A sad commentary of where they ended up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William S. | 12/5/2013

    " Wonderful book, extremely depressing. If you are looking for a book to show you devotion and its opposite emotions, choose this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meredith | 12/4/2013

    " I read this in french! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carey B. | 11/20/2013

    " i'm still trying to figure out why. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Afat Ismayilova | 10/9/2013

    " digusted from the french lifestyle and cheap love between couples "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Bodley | 10/2/2013

    " Excellent story of a troubled life. A nice look at French culture. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nafkote | 6/20/2013

    " So far...a really bleak view of Paris and Parisian society, circa 1819. I'm a little disgusted with my own ambition and the burning desire I had to go to as many museums/movies/plays as possible while I was in Paris...which is not to say that I'm not wholly enjoying the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chad | 5/12/2013

    " I liked it a lot "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 brian tanabe | 11/13/2012

    " I had a difficult time at first cracking this little french book, but it finished quite strongly and nicely. Well done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 8/28/2012

    " A slow start, but eventually this book is an intriguing look at money and class in 19th century Paris and ultimately a father's obsessive and misguided devotion to his daughters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonathan-lauren Mcdavid | 8/28/2012

    " This book is AMAZING. Balzac was a genius. This is a must read- but you must read it in French. Translations don't do any novel justice. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Daniel | 4/8/2012

    " Did nothing for me. I didn't see the point, or even catch the themes; or maybe I did and was just dissapointed that they were thin and uninteresting. "

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About the Author

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 Countess Hanska, a rich Polish lady with whom he had corresponded for more than fifteen years. Five months later, Balzac died in Paris.

About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.