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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Written by: James Joyce
Narrated by: Colin Farrell
Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
4 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Golden Globe winning actor and Dublin native Colin Farrell revisits his home country with a moving, authentic performance of one of Irish icon James Joyce’s masterworks, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

The quintessential coming-of-age story follows Stephen Dedalus as he matures in an era marked by budding Irish nationalism and intensely conservative Catholicism. From infancy to adulthood, Stephen struggles to find his place, flitting between periods of guilt-ridden fanatical religious obsession and hedonistic exploration. But even as he is pulled in every direction by family, flesh, faith, and nation, Stephen longs for something seemingly forbidden–the life of an artist.

Joyce’s first work to experiment with stream of consciousness style—a technique that he and his contemporaries developed—A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man evokes both the pains and complexities of growing up and the furious optimism that accompanies youth. Pulling from events from his own past, Joyce weaves a semi-autobiographical recount of life in nineteenth century Ireland, crafting a narrative that is at once tender and sharply satirical. When combined with Farrell’s gentle brogue, Joyce’s tale soars, as much a portrait of the artist as it is a portrait of Ireland itself. 

Public Domain (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

"Colin Farrell's narration of this classic certainly does not disappoint. James Joyce's prose often seems like it was written to be narrated because of its natural musicality and cadence.... Farrell's emphatic, lilting voice follows Stephen's mind into the nooks and crannies of consciousness. His vocal characterizations are distinct and effective, especially his loud, bold portrayal of Simon Dedalus, Stephen's father, a striking contrast to the sensitive, soft-spoken son. Yet Farrell captures the many facets of Stephen's thoughts and emotions, which run the gamut from boldness to meekness. Farrell's ability to handle such a variety of emotions in creating Stephen's voice makes this relatively short audiobook a success." (AudioFile Magazine)

"In Farrell's reading...the great set pieces of the book - the violently argumentative Christmas dinner scene, the harrowing sermon on hell...are delivered with admirable coolness and restraint." (The New York Times Book Review)

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    5 out of 5 stars

Colin Farrell does a great job.

Returning to authors that we read 30 or 40 years previously, is to read them for the first time. Our life experience reveals the depth of questions with which the author is struggling, and how much we missed as callow youth.
Colin Farrell, Irish accent setting the tone, masterfully conveys the emotional and intellectual struggles of Stephan Dedalus, in deciding the direction his life will take.

1 person found this helpful

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portrait of an artist

Loved it.
Colin Farrell did a great job.
loved the line....'Irish Catholicism is the scullary maid of the western world'!

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Perfection!

If Farrell cannot please all the people all the time, he can rest assured that with this reading he pleased me mightily. Having attended a convent school and the accompanying retreats, I laughed out loud at the priest's eloquent admonishments and shared with Dedalus his conversion - however temporary - to aspire to live a pure life. A perfect union of matter and presentation.

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  • James
  • 2019-01-29

Bitterly disappointed

I'm a huge fan of Joyce and when I saw this version by Colin Farrell I thought "well done Audible for matching this great book with an Irish reader". Unfortunately it didn't turn out as well as it should have. The reading was very one dimensional and with very little attention given to characterization. For example, Stephens father, who is a larger than life bombastic Cork man was portrayed as a very flat man with a Dublin accent. Time after time the text was misinterpreted giving the impression that the reader didn't understand what he was reading.
I can't help thinking that if Joyce was around today then this version wounldn't meet with his approval.

99 people found this helpful

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  • Lynn A. D.
  • 2019-09-14

very well performed

This story was very well performed in wonderful Irish accents, and captured the mood and emotions of the characters. A young man struggles with his faith and purpose in life, struggling with sin, and yet speaking with his friends in philosophical and thought-provoking conversations.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Joanie
  • 2019-02-25

Thank Goodness for Mr Farrell

I honestly can't say that I enjoyed this book, I found it very drawn out and monotonous to say the least.
I'm sure that James Joyce was a brilliant writer, and if anything his attention to detail is astonishing!
But this particular book was just not for me, I listened to the end more out of respect and with a small flicker of hope that maybe, just maybe it will end better than it began, but alas it did not.....the only thing or I should I say the only one that kept me listening was Colin....Well done Mr Farrell, well done in deed, maybe try something a little lighter next time though, maybe something along the lines of Joy Ellis or Patricia Gibney?

52 people found this helpful

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  • Linda
  • 2019-01-29

Finally

Colin Farrell is the perfect reader for this book. Much easier to follow the weavings of the story with his voice guiding the way.

22 people found this helpful

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  • M. Michaud
  • 2019-02-21

Loved it.

The native accent made this performance especially enjoyable. Chapter 3 made me laugh out loud. This audiobook makes Joyce more accessible...at least for me.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Etzkorn Family
  • 2019-06-29

A superb listen

Colin Farrell is excellent. Daedalus jumps alive in Farrell's rendition of the Joyce classic. I couldn't press pause.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-05-23

The performance let me experience more

An incredible book that touched me closely, but I am amazed at how good the performance was. Truly raised it to a new level!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Brett kroncke
  • 2019-05-12

Colin Farrell is perfect for this.

pleasant and clever and well narrated. another precocious brooding youth story, Irish style. highly recommended

11 people found this helpful

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  • Broncofan
  • 2019-02-18

Tough Read but I enjoyed this very much

It takes awhile to get used to Joyce's particular style, but the reading by Colin Farrell was exceptional and I very much enjoyed the book.

10 people found this helpful

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  • William
  • 2019-06-16

Amazing performance

One of my favorite performances in an audiobook! The story can be dense at times, but Colin Farrell absolutely brought it to life. This is an excellent way to enjoy a classic.

8 people found this helpful