Extended Audio Sample

Download The Old Wives' Tale Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Old Wives Tale (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Arnold Bennett
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,116 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Arnold Bennett Narrator: David Haig Publisher: AudioGO Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2009 ISBN:
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First published in 1908, The Old Wives' Tale tells the story of the Baines sisters shy, retiring Constance and defiant, romantic Sophia over the course of nearly half a century.

Bennett traces the sisters' lives from childhood in their father's drapery shop in provincial Bursley during the mid-Victorian era, through their married lives, to the modern industrial age, when they are reunited as old women.

The setting moves from the Five Towns of Staffordshire to exotic and cosmopolitan Paris, while the action moves from the subdued domestic routine of the Baines household to the siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.

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Listener Opinions

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

    " Possibly the only novel that I enjoyed from my 19th century British Literature class in college... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin | 1/21/2014

    " Not a bad read, considering all that I'd heard about Bennett previous to opening this book was that he and Virginia Woolf had a serious rivalry. The realism in the book can get to be a bit much (death scenes tend to be rather short, especially at the opening.). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colin | 1/3/2014

    " It's due to the essential quality of youth that middle-aged people like myself find their lives fascinating. It is the essential skill of the writer to make the lives of the elderly likewise fascinating to that same group of people. Bennett succeeds triumphantly in the former and less so in the latter. But damnit, let's admire him as a fine writer, capable of diving the transcendental in the mundane. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cecil James | 11/10/2013

    " This is an excellent smooth flowing historical novel. The characters are well delineated. I enjoyed it tremendously. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JackieB | 9/17/2013

    " This was quite a slow moving book although it didn't drag. It told the story of two sisters who gat separated and were reunited at the end of their lives. The first sister's story was told with a gentle warm humuor which was lovely. I struggled a bit with the second sister's story mainly because she expasperated me a little. I suspect that if she was a real person we would not get on. I though all of the characters were well described and I liked Arnold Bennett's writing style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 bup | 8/23/2013

    " Fantastic reading by Andy Minter (available for free at librivox.org). I liked the book pretty well, too - Bennett is a master creator of character in the medium of dry humor. It's on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, though, and I don't understand at all why it's on there, except Peter Boxall has probably read it, and considers himself special. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve Shilstone | 7/29/2013

    " Quite a good end of the Victorian Era page turner. Arnold invented a nice pair of sisters to care about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie Robinson | 6/27/2013

    " Slow to start, but overall good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caroline James | 4/7/2013

    " One of my favourite books. Arnold Bennett is a master and writes beautifully from a woman's persepctive as the tale of two sisters unfolds. Loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bruce | 2/25/2013

    " What a pleasant surprise to find this gem from the early part of the 20th Century. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacy Lewis | 3/11/2012

    " Read this because it was on Modern Library's Top 100. Nicely told story of 2 sisters' lives set in second half of 1800's. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Betty | 2/29/2012

    " The beginning moves fast, the middle dragged a bit, then it picked up again for the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 timo0o | 4/5/2011

    " it's quite long, yet pleasant to read :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Backus | 7/16/2010

    " Arnold Bennett has filled his 1908 novel with great characters who inhabit the worlds of sisters Constance and Sophia. Th novel spans from their lives from 16 and 17 to old age. I first read this book fifty years ago and I am glad to say I enjoyed it even more now. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matt | 7/4/2010

    " 4 out of 10. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danoota | 4/11/2010

    " I loved this book. The story of two sisters who lived very different, estranged lives. One runs away to Paris, the other stays home and does "the right thing' "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Werebot | 3/24/2010

    " I wasn't expecting to like this story of two old widows, but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Well-paced and realistic, it's 500+ pages seemed much shorter. This is a very well-crafted novel. "

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About the Author
Author Arnold Bennett

Arnold Bennett (1867–1931) was an English writer best known for his highly detailed novels of the “Five Towns,” the Potteries of Staffordshire, England. He wrote over thirty novels and many lesser works throughout his career.

About the Narrator

David Haig is an Oliver Award-winning actor and a FIPA Award-winning writer. His film credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Two Weeks Notice, and My Boy Jack, among numerous others. In 2013  he was awarded the title of Member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to drama.