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Extended Audio Sample Poison Audiobook, by Kathryn Harrison Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (459 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kathryn Harrison Narrator: Barbara Caruso Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 1995 ISBN: 9781456124526
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In this richly textured historical novel, bestselling author Kathryn Harrison spins a mesmerizing tale of forbidden passion and terrifying superstition in seventeenth-century Spain. As the Spanish Inquisition conducts its ruthless reign of terror, the lives of two women—one, the free spirited daughter of a poor silk farmer; the other, the French princess doomed to marry the deformed King of Spain—unravel like the cocoons of silkworms. A nationally-acclaimed writer of exquisite talents, Kathryn Harrison will leave you breathless.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Blinding and superbly written lust…a hothouse of a novel…heavily scented, serious and thoughtful.”  New York Times Book Review
  • “An illuminating portrait of a woman’s lot in an age poisoned by superstition and the church’s tyranny.”  

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A darkly lyrical and deeply disturbing tour de force.” 

    Booklist

  • “The evocative historical setting is a departure for Harrison…However, her brilliant descriptions and compelling examination of the minds and motivations of her two heroines, each condemned by society for wanting happiness, will maintain the author’s reputation as a writer of power and rare sensibility.” 

    Library Journal

  • “Deft, archly mesmerizing phrase-making…A minutely detailed novel that captures the depravity as well as the beauty of a frightening era.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Diana | 2/14/2014

    " A bit of a let-down, considering how much I loved The Binding Chair "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 2/14/2014

    " The time of the inquisition seems to be one of history's most complicated; the history of Spain for about 300 years at the same general time is extremely complicated. While much of this book was very enjoyable, other sections were unnecessarily complicated. Intellectually I understand why she named the book Poison -- the silk work angle was mildly interesting but it seemed to add extra unnecessary length and detail to an already long and detailed book. I was anxious to read this; enjoyed parts a lot, couldn't wait for it to be done. Not a favorite. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 P | 2/14/2014

    " Book Club memories! Racy--loved it, loved it, loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Tuplin | 2/8/2014

    " Beautifully written, about love during the time of the Spanish Inquisiton, and the danger in being a woman during a time when women and love were suspect. Two parallel lives, one a commoner in love with a priest, the other a French princess married to the mad King Carlos II of Spain, one destroyed because of love, the other destroyed for lack of it. The two main characters are so well developed you really feel you are conversing with them as they reminise about their lives as they near its end. Beautiful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan Altick | 2/7/2014

    " A little too fantastical to give it the highest rating, but very, very good nonetheless! Good enough for me to go looking for another book by the same author in the library. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anna George | 1/25/2014

    " Oh, let's be honest--I'm never going to finish this. Her writing is far too graphic and I just can't stand it. Too many good books to read to keep this on my list... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 1/22/2014

    " Fantastic and sexy! A great great great read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Olivestarr | 1/20/2014

    " A beautiful read. This book is a silky treasure. Kathryn Harrison writes you into the story. I've read this book 6 times and will more than likely read 6 more times! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tamara | 12/30/2013

    " 50 pages in and I'm still sort of bored and drowning in information on silk making vs. feeling empathetic to characters. Will I give it another 50 pages? I'd rather go get a Stephanie Meyer book... We'll see. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Sammis | 12/12/2013

    " I have to agree with with those who found Francisca's story distracting. Her narration seems to offer nothing more than padding. The book would have been a much tighter and compelling tragedy if it only followed the Queen's hardships. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennywren1965 | 11/12/2013

    " First half was engaging, but the inquisition is disturbing, dark and menacing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 10/23/2013

    " The stories of two women during the Spanish Inquisition, one the queen, the other a common sil grower having an affair with a priest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Daina Rowell | 9/18/2013

    " I loved the way the author captured the characters every nuance of feeling but the subject matter was a bit dull for me. I already knew how it ended and the journey to get there seemed long, tedious, and convoluted. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 ruzmarì | 6/19/2013

    " A departure for Harrison, and better than the memoirs in so many ways. I forgot I'd read it. It also appeared as Poison. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 1/8/2013

    " This book had some twists and turns. I liked it, but was slow starting with all the info about the silk worms. Then the contrasting/comparing between the main character Francisca and the queen of Spain (Marie from France) got a little weird. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy | 8/25/2012

    " Harrison's writing is masterful, Caruso's narration is spot on and the subject, the time of Spain's Inquisition, is fascinating (but not really for the faint of heart ) I couldn't stop listening "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kathleen | 12/13/2011

    " Very disjointed writing style which is why it gets I star. Did make me do research into Queen Maria Louisa and Carlos II. Disturbing period of history "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hannah | 10/24/2011

    " It's fairly well written but the characters are kind of flat for me. The story itself was interesting and engrossing but I don't remember any of the character's names as soon as the novel was finished. The book is worth reading but not purchasing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 lisa_emily | 7/15/2011

    " I know I've enjoyed Harrison's writing before, but honestly, I don't really remember this book after 9 years. I only know I've read it because I have it in my read log. Too bad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanne | 6/25/2011

    " very interesting story , somewhat historically accurate of spain during the spanish inquistion as told from the point of view of a peasant young girl and the queen of spain. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rae | 5/3/2011

    " Evocative and sensory writing about a French princess married off to an Italian king. I just didn't enjoy this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 amanda | 2/24/2011

    " I sure talked about this book a lot while I was reading it. Does that mean I liked it? I´m not really sure... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anna | 8/30/2010

    " Oh, let's be honest--I'm never going to finish this. Her writing is far too graphic and I just can't stand it. Too many good books to read to keep this on my list... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karla | 10/2/2009

    " Harrison is a gifted writer, but whole passages in this just blew me away. Awesome book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 P | 11/22/2008

    " Book Club memories! Racy--loved it, loved it, loved it! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 lisa_emily | 9/24/2008

    " I know I've enjoyed Harrison's writing before, but honestly, I don't really remember this book after 9 years. I only know I've read it because I have it in my read log. Too bad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tamara | 8/17/2008

    " 50 pages in and I'm still sort of bored and drowning in information on silk making vs. feeling empathetic to characters. Will I give it another 50 pages? I'd rather go get a Stephanie Meyer book... We'll see. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamara | 6/24/2008

    " At times, an extremely difficult book to read, but it was captivating to me... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 6/21/2008

    " Loved the history in this books - Spain, France, silk. An engrossing read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kathleen | 2/22/2008

    " Very disjointed writing style which is why it gets I star. Did make me do research into Queen Maria Louisa and Carlos II. Disturbing period of history "

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About the Author
Author Kathryn Harrison

Kathryn Harrison is the author of the novels EnvyThe Seal Wife, The Binding Chair, Poison, Exposure, and Thicker Than Water. She has also written memoirs, The Kiss and The Mother Knot, a travel memoir, The Road to Santiago, a biography, Saint Therese of Lisieux, and a collection of personal essays, Seeking Rapture. Ms. Harrison is a frequent reviewer for the New York Times Book Review; her essays, which have been included in many anthologies, have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’sVogue, Salon, and other publications. She lives in New York with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison, and their children.

About the Narrator

Barbara Caruso, winner of twenty-two Earphones Awards for narration, is an accomplished actress and critically acclaimed audiobook narrator. A graduate of London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she was a featured player in the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has played starring roles on Broadway and in theaters across the country. She won the Alexander Scourby Reader of the Year Award for her performances of young adult fiction and has more than one hundred audiobook narrations to her credit. She has won twenty-two AudioFile Earphones Awards.