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Extended Audio Sample The Ambassadors Audiobook, by Henry James Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,154 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Henry James Narrator: Stephen Hoye Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2010 ISBN: 9781452670225
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Lambert Strether, a mild, middle-aged American of no particular achievements, is dispatched to Paris from the manufacturing empire of Woollett, Massachusetts. The mission conferred on him by his august patron, Mrs. Newsome, is to discover what, or who, is keeping her son Chad in the notorious city of pleasure and to bring him home. But Strether finds Chad transformed by the influence of a remarkable woman. And as the Parisian spring advances, he himself succumbs to the allure of the “vast bright Babylon” and to the mysterious charm of Madame de Vionnet.

One of Henry James’ three late masterpieces, The Ambassadors is a bittersweet paean to the life not lived and one of the most achingly beautiful and moving novels ever written.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharon Wright | 2/12/2014

    " This is the third Henry James novel I have read, and while it is his favorite it is so far my least favorite. I felt like the book was promising something it didn't quite deliver. Having said that, it was still a good book, it just didn't live up to my past experiences with Henry James. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathan Dickstein | 2/8/2014

    " I need to go back to this someday. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sirad | 1/16/2014

    " couldn't finish...the story moved too slowly and described with too much detail. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 1/11/2014

    " I loved this one. I think if I were to go back to school, I'd do my dissertation on Henry James... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 T | 12/31/2013

    " Far, far too much punctuation, thus ruining this read. Twenty pages and it was tossed away. The ashes of Henry James are interned in Cambridge, just around the corner, so I'll stop by to ask him why he ruined a good story with poor storytelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vanessa | 12/17/2013

    " Despite the slow start and the fact that he uses an awful lot of words, I LOVED this book... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Genevieve | 12/11/2013

    " I learned how to grow old. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann Marie | 12/10/2013

    " Dense prose but interesting thoughts about Europe's effects on Americans, James' usual theme. Not easy, over-long in parts, but engrossing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joe | 12/5/2013

    " Great book, but wish I was studying the book from a literary stand point. As there is a bunch of material that I felt I missed or did not understand. Discussing the book with others would have made the reading much more interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frances De | 12/1/2013

    " hmmmmm........ it requires a good attention span...... had to start over, and i believe i may read it again, in order to really absorb the novel... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew Rostan | 11/2/2013

    " James's own favorite of his novels...a rich, realistic fantasy, a tale of transformation and how humans can simultaneously stay the same and change, written with some of James's richest yet still accessible prose. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathy Conley | 9/21/2013

    " I agree with F.R. Leavis. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gerard | 6/30/2013

    " What an elegant writer this guy is. This is my favorite among his books I've read so far. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hashi | 5/16/2013

    " For the first two-thirds of the book I rebelled against the lack of plot, against the elliptical, tangential references, against the way the flower opens like viscous molasses. But then I got into it, and enjoyed the subtlety, and the languid pace. Nothing happens in this book. But it's a trip. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christina | 3/29/2013

    " One of Henry James's finest novels. The characters are beautifully-conceived through witty prose and dialogue. The theme of living life in a way that's consistent with one's own morality rather than societal convention is advanced perfectly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul | 2/11/2013

    " I congratulate myself on finishing it. I've never been a HJ fan, so my opinions shouldn't count for much. Much of what James does is simply irritating to me. That said, I'm glad I made the effort. Now I know why so many other people love this book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michael Shilling | 9/11/2012

    " James is amazing in other works, but here he chokes on his desire to map out every possible qualification of a character's emotion. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marti | 9/8/2012

    " Some of the scenes of life in Paris were interesting but I did not really enjoy this book. It was interesting to see that book critics have been sharply divided on this book's merits. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Teresa | 3/3/2012

    " This book is in my top five list. The prose takes some getting used to; the sentences are long and vague but it can help to think of the style as putting the reader in the same position as the protagonist. I find it well worth the effort to read and think about scenes from the book a lot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret W | 11/3/2011

    " Another extraordinary James novel. Lambert Strether is one of the most moving characters in fiction. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 James | 7/27/2011

    " Didn't finish and couldn't follow it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robert | 7/27/2011

    " Towards the later part of James's career, he deliberately moved to an increasing convoluted prose style. He takes a moderately interesting study of characters, and, by slowing the story to a crawl, makes it nearly unreadable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leigh | 5/22/2011

    " I need to reread this when I'm more in my right mind. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Suzanne | 5/8/2011

    " It is almost worth reading this book just to read E.M. Forster's takedown of it in "Aspects of the Novel". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanna | 4/10/2011

    " Just about my favorite James. Definitely my pick from his late novels. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 James | 4/1/2011

    " Didn't finish and couldn't follow it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robert | 2/26/2011

    " Towards the later part of James's career, he deliberately moved to an increasing convoluted prose style. He takes a moderately interesting study of characters, and, by slowing the story to a crawl, makes it nearly unreadable. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kirsten | 2/25/2011

    " I'm only on p. 80 and have given up. The language is so self-consciously convoluted and... I think "precious" about sums it up. People think this @$$#^&* is better than Edith Wharton???? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 2/14/2011

    " The way James uses pronouns ought to be illegal. "

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About the Author
Author Henry James

Henry James (1843–1916), American novelist, short-story writer, and man of letters, was born in Washington Place, New York, to a family of distinguished philosophers and theologians. He attended schools in New York, Boston, and throughout Europe, where he later settled. A major figure in the history of the novel, he is celebrated as a master craftsman who brought his great art and impeccable technique to bear in the development of abiding moral themes.

About the Narrator

Stephen Hoye has worked as a professional actor in London and Los Angeles for more than thirty years. Trained at Boston University and the Guildhall in London, he has acted in television series and six feature films and has appeared in London’s West End.