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Extended Audio Sample The Man Who Loved Children Audiobook, by Christina Stead Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 5 3.50 (22 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Christina Stead Narrator: C. M. Hébert Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2015 ISBN: 9781504629416
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Sam and Henny Pollit have too many children, too little money, and too much loathing for one another. As Sam uses the children’s adoration to feed his own voracious ego, Henny watches in bleak despair, knowing the bitter reality that lies just below his mad visions. A chilling novel of the relations between parents and children, husbands and wives, The Man Who Loved Children is acknowledged as a contemporary classic.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This crazy, gorgeous family novel is one of the great literary achievements of the twentieth-century.”

    Jonathan Franzen

  • “Told in a gush of extravagant language such as is not heard in the age of television…[Hébert gives] every word its proper attention and [shows] great sensitivity to the emotional content (usually high) of every line of dialogue.”

    AudioFile

  • “Simply as a portrait of an extraordinary family, the book probably has no equal. And what a family!…Although the larger-than-life domestic scenes may not always be pleasant to read, they are nevertheless unforgettable. Listening to them might actually be better than reading them…with [audio], the splendid writing can be fully appreciated. C.M. Hébert reads the challenging text with skill and understanding.”

    Library Journal

  • One of Time Magazine's Best 100 English-Language Novels from 1923–2005

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christine | 2/4/2014

    " Hated this book. Couldn't finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 1/27/2014

    " For my money, this is one of the best Australian novels. It fuses psychological drama with a modernist preoccupation with language so to produce something beyond both realism and literary parlor games. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jo Marengere | 1/5/2014

    " I am loving this book. Finished it today and it was amazing. I am not sure that everyone would like it - it's different. I'm glad I read it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amber Kim | 1/3/2014

    " very truthful, very exhausting. took forever to finish because it takes a while to get into this world stead has created, complete with its own language. characterization is vividly done; the pollits are disgusting, thoroughly unlikable creatures that will not be forgotten easily, if ever. i loathed sam pollit so much that i was tempted to quit the book but the book has a way of sucking you in with descriptions of a childhood that is so unlike mine yet seems simultaneously very much like my own. nonetheless the writing needs some heavy editing. 3.5 stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adam | 12/26/2013

    " This is the best book I've read in years---it has a whole world in its 300 pages. A family living around Washington in the thirties---the father (Sam) is a sort of teacher who never stops teaching; the mother (Henny) is an angry poisonous woman who vacillates between ranting and completely pulling away from her family. Strangely enough Henny is the more likeable (even if she is something of a termagent)--Sam is just so clueless---he thinks he knows everything while really knowing nothing, about people that is. The daughter, Louie, is pure adolescence---crying one moment, raging another, batted around in the continual tennis match that her parents are having. I can't even begin to mention the other characters---Bonnie, the passel of kids, Henny's mother---but suffice it to say that these characters are (mostly) well rounded out. While reading this I felt like I was watching the most intimate side of family life. The last 30 pages of this book are among the most shocking and satisfying that I've ever read. Very pleased. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 12/5/2013

    " One of the most depressing dysfunctional family novels ever written, I think. Don't want to go on, can't stop. Both parents are nightmares. This was repeatedly assigned while I was in my writing program, and I never made it very far--listening to the audio, which is marginally easier. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 11/30/2013

    " Might have benefited from some more thorough editing, but an utterly charming book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sunny | 11/30/2013

    " brill book. felt like i was watching a film in my mind. u can almost smell that marlin oil near then. shocking ending. nice twist. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane Thomas | 10/1/2013

    " The man who loved children, hated his wife and sabotaged his children. If he had have stepped back that family may have thrived. Exhausting. Sad. Infuriating. Compelling and memorable reading. The startling honesty about family life must have caused a stir when first published in 1940. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha | 9/27/2013

    " Curious, wonderful book about a harried woman, her cruel, clueless husband and the children who suffer from the failings of both. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yupa | 9/25/2013

    " Analisi spietata ed eccellente di un ipocrita e normale sfacelo familiare. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Linda | 10/6/2012

    " When an author writes phonetically to get across the sound of a particular character's voice, I think they're not a good writer for not being able to express it legibly and allowing me to imagine it. It is incredibly difficult to read phonetically; I'm not 5. This book is a waste of time! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lesha | 7/3/2012

    " This book is such a chore to finish! I am still in love with it though. There's such a sad desperation in it with all the characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Claire C-g | 3/21/2012

    " On a scale from one to completely brutal, I am giving this book five stars. Oh my godddddd. (It's really good, guys.) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 10/24/2011

    " This book is so good it's scary. I almost can't recommend it. Not for the faint of heart. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo | 6/27/2011

    " Fantastic choice from my local bookclub - thanks to whoever chose it! Portrays certain elements of all-too familiar family life that I have seen written about nowhere else. (Although its length and detail do rather make me feel that I deserve a medal for having read it the whoel way through.) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Hester | 3/12/2011

    " After suffering through 34 pages of unlikeable characters and miserable dialogue I gave up. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christine | 3/9/2011

    " Hated this book. Couldn't finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jo | 1/31/2011

    " I am loving this book. Finished it today and it was amazing. I am not sure that everyone would like it - it's different. I'm glad I read it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kerry | 1/18/2011

    " Hard going. Not sure if I have the stamina to finish it. Weird.
    Abandoned. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosa | 12/23/2010

    " If I were just rating the last 150 pages, I would probably give it five stars. But, the middle section dragged and droned and deserves about 3 stars ... so an overall rating of four. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Benny | 11/16/2010

    " Dense and slow moving, but in the end satisfying and enjoyable. The characters loom large and are interesting and entertaining enough to carry us through the lulls. If all family dramas were like this, I wouldn't hate the term "Family Drama." "

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About the Author
Author Christina Stead

Christina Stead (1902–1983) born in Australia, was the author of over a dozen works of fiction and the recipient of the Patrick White Prize.

About the Narrator

C. M. Hébert is an Earphones Award winner and Audie Award nominee. She is the recording studio director for the Talking Books Program at the Library of Congress’ National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, daughter, cat, and assorted fish.