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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
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Written by: James Joyce
Narrated by: Colin Farrell
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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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What listeners say about A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Yes I want Colin Farrell to read my bedtime story

I honestly got this book solely for the reader. I've read the book before, and I didn't enjoy heavy-handed Catholicism/ Colin Farrell could read me the phonebook and I would be happy. Did not disappoint.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love loves to love

Oh Stephen! Oh beauty oh take me there. I Beaty you. I laugh you, love

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Spectacular!

Ferrell’s voice gives life to one of the greatest male coming of age stories ever written. Well done!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Classic Coming of Age novel

Colin Farrell is a stunningly good narrator of this character study coming of age novel.

This novel is lyrical, the prose a mixture of the fascinating and the bluntly mundane. The text gets more complex as the character grows older - reflecting his own growth. The prose is quite beautiful at times.

This is a wonderful novel, even though I felt Stephen Dedalus was egotistical - whilst the author was trying for detached/aloof outsider. The ending was perfection.

Highly recommended

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A beautiful story, beautifully narrated.

Soul finds mention often in the book. And this was a beautiful, soulful Irish narration.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Pass on portrait

Portrait is something like a philosophic work wrapped up in a loose narrative. Very often during the story I got lost as to what the protagonist, Stephen Daedalus, was actually doing. However, the narrative didn't really matter other than to provide a bit of context to the conversations and thoughts he was having about the Roman Catholic Church.

The narration was strong, Collin Ferrell's voice does help bring the listener into the appropriate time and place of the novel.

But, overall, I can't recommend it. It made something of a straw man out of the Catholic faith and liturgy, and "the story" was barely existent.

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • FT
  • 2021-06-15

Surprising, but strange

This is an exercise in prose. If that excites you, then it is worth a listen. Some of the most interesting descriptions of brutal torture that I've ever heard. Also, hours of lame recounting of Irish Catholic schooling. Take your pick. Worth the read, in my opinion. Very metal.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

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3 people found this helpful