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Brideshead Revisited

Written by: Evelyn Waugh
Narrated by: Jeremy Irons
Length: 11 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The wellsprings of desire and the impediments to love come brilliantly into focus in Evelyn Waugh's masterpiece - a novel that immerses us in the glittering and seductive world of English aristocracy in the waning days of the empire.

Through the story of Charles Ryder's entanglement with the Flytes, a great Catholic family, Evelyn Waugh charts the passing of the privileged world he knew in his own youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities.

At once romantic, sensuous, comic, and somber, Brideshead Revisited transcends Waugh's early satiric explorations and reveals him to be an elegiac, lyrical novelist of the utmost feeling and lucidity.

©1945 Evelyn Waugh (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"Waugh's most deeply felt novel... Brideshead Revisited tells an absorbing story in imaginative terms...Mr. Waugh is very definitely an artist, with something like a genius for precision and clarity not surpassed by any novelist writing in English in his time." ( New York Times)

What listeners say about Brideshead Revisited

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  • Tee
  • 2019-04-22

Beautiful and poignant

During WWII, Captain Charles Ryder’s company encamped at a mansion, Brideshead and memories came flooding back to him. He recalled his friendship years ago with Sebastian Flyte, how he grew close to the Flyte family and how he came to see up close and personal their varying struggles in the Catholic faith.

Charles’s friendship with Sebastian is just the start to the story. A sweet and beautiful start, but the story moves on quite quickly, with unexpected twists. Evelyn Waugh skillfully portrayed how different members of the Flyte family express their Catholic faith differently, which becomes a central theme in the subsequent part of the book. The language is lyrical.

I remember Jeremy Irons as the dreamy Charles Ryder in the BBC series nearly 40 years ago. It’s lovely hearing his voice as the narrator. His voice is mesmerising.

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Great read and reader!

A beautiful account of the decline of the early 20th century English aristocracy, and a young man's journey with a noble family through crises of family relationship and Roman Catholic faith. Waugh writes with a painter's touch , and Irons reads the book as splendidly as he acted the mini series.

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  • Jean
  • 2016-08-07

Absolutely brilliant!

I have seen the movie so many times and have always wanted to read the book, but could never find the time. The audio version was a real gift, and just couldn't wait to get opportunities for long periods of listening on the go.
The story is completly absorbing, the language so beautiful - like a priceless tapestry, but Jeremy Irons narration was totally GENIUS!

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  • Julian
  • 2018-01-19

My theme is memory

What a coup for the BBC to snare Jeremy Irons, star of the 1981 TV adaptation, to revisit his role as the protagonist and narrator of Waugh's wartime masterpiece. The scenes from that incomparable drama floated through my head as he read, bringing all the magical cast back to life (Olivier, Gielgud, Claire Bloom, Jane Asher, John LeMesurier et al, like some 70s thespian super-group), not to mention the music... I can't possibly be objective about the novel itself, it is inextricably bound up with my adolescence (I first read it when the TV version was being shown) and is one of the main reasons that drew my wife and me together (we named our third son Charles Sebastian). I'd forgotten how funny it was, though, Rex's failed Catholic conversion and Antony Blanche's appearances being the comic highlights. I gave Irons' narration only four stars though because a couple of the accents jarred a bit (mostly Rex's, I'm glad Waugh didn't make him Australian), but overall he handles the large cast with aplomb (he must have picked up a lot from all those knights and dames back in the 80s). It was a treat from first to last though, I look forward to listening again in a few more years, no doubt it will resonate even more with age.

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  • M. E. Donnelly
  • 2017-08-21

Wow!

Brideshead has been recommended to me for 37 years. Now I know what all the fuss is about.

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  • Pierre Gauthier
  • 2020-07-19

Wordy and Depressing!

This long, slow moving novel tells of a bygone era not so much with nostalgia but with detached disillusionment. Written in the first person by the main character, it is joyless and disheartening. The characters’ selfishness is striking and interaction between them seems to flow essentially from necessity and social convention and to produce no lasting satisfaction. Servants, mentioned often, are nameless and faceless nonentities.

In the audio version, Jeremy Iron’s narration does contribute to make the work more palatable. Some listeners however may find that his character with a “Canadian” accent sounds uncannily like … Barak Obama. They may also be surprised that he pronounces Chiogga “Shiogga” as if he had never heard of chianti.