Get a free audiobook

The Bell Jar

Written by: Sylvia Plath
Narrated by: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Length: 7 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (109 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Read by the critically acclaimed actress Maggie Gyllenhaal. 

When Esther Greenwood wins an internship at a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther's life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women's aspirations seriously. 

Sylvia Plath's groundbreaking semiautobiographical novel offers an intimate, honest and often wrenching glimpse into mental illness. The Bell Jar broke the boundaries between fiction and reality and helped cement Sylvia Plath's place as an enduring feminist icon. Celebrated for its darkly humorous, razor-sharp portrait of 1950s society, it continues to resonate with readers today as a testament to the universal human struggle to claim one's rightful place in the world. 

©2015 Sylvia Plath (P)2015 Faber & Faber Ltd

Union Station commuters get a surprise

Narrator Maggie Gyllenhall surprises visitors to Union Station in Toronto with a live reading of Anna Karenina, and shares what she loves about narrating and listening to audiobooks.
0:00

Anna Karenina
Written by: Leo Tolstoy
Narrated by: Maggie Gyllenhaal

What listeners say about The Bell Jar

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    85
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    88
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    77
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Bell Jar

This is one of my favourite books of all time and the narrator does an excellent job of capturing the feeling and evokes a wonderful mental picture.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully Read!


This book is timeless. Yes it was written of and in another time but what it says is just as true today. Ms. Plath's semi biographical fiction speaks of depression. Which she suffered most of her adult life.

The Bell Jar is still relevant as any one of us could be Esther. Yet as depressing as this book sounds, it isn't. Esther is young and witty and you really begin to care and become more hopeful and some of us even identify with her.

A powerful and well written book that should be on your to listen list.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • MGB
  • 2015-08-21

Esther whispering into your ear

I've always struggled to finish reading the Bell Jar, but this was disturbingly fascinating.
You are treated to Sylvia Plath's words, delivered flawlessly by Maggie Gyllenhaal, perfevt incarnation of Esther.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • emilie boivin
  • 2019-03-26

Great book

I purchased the book by curiosity. I never had the chance to any of Plath's work before, and I always thought of Maggie Gyllenhaal as a great actress, so I went ahead and downloaded The Bell Jar. There a lightness about the heroine's descent into madness. The narrative is almost a casual chatter describing on despair and disillusionment. It allowed me to take it all in, let it sit, then fully appreciate the richness of Plath's work.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nakota
  • 2015-12-05

Weird

I'd like to know why did they cut the first paragraph about the Rosenbergs? weird

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-09-26

Loved it!

I absolutely loved this audiobook! The feelings of the main character are relatable to a lot of people, I think. Plath’s writing is beautiful and Gyllenhaal voicing the main character is a perfect match. After completing the novel I missed Gyllenhaal’s narration so much that I also purchased her take on the 35h Anna Karenina (which I just finished and loved). I warmly recommend this novel!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anca
  • 2018-08-06

Brilliant

The book is an amazing study of the life of a depressed young girl who cannot cope with the important decisions in her life.
Maggie Gyllenhaal does a superb job, absolutely perfect.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-03-23

Low intensity, beautiful, well read

Low intensity, beautiful and well read. Enjoyed the performance and got things to think about.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sam Black
  • 2017-12-07

Relatable and Melancholy

I think I got more out of this book with Maggie’s performance behind it. Sometimes I felt rubbed the wrong way and I don’t know if it was the words or the way Maggie said them. Maybe I was supposed to react that way. The first hour or so into it I couldn’t understand why it was a classic - but I’m glad I listened the whole way through. Even in today’s setting you can relate to the topics of mental health, societal pressures and feminism. Good purchase! Might listen again if I’m in a melancholy mood :)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2017-08-22

Loved it..

I was surprised by how much I loved this book as I usually stick to non-fiction and reading to gain factual knowledge. However this book surprised me - I'm so glad I found it. Perhaps I connected to it having suffered from depression and anxiety for periods throughout my whole life.

I adore Maggie's voice and think she was a perfect match for reading this book. Also the writing was incredibly well done.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Juliana Maziero Castro
  • 2017-06-22

good book and audiobook

good quality book and audio book. Plaths book is deep, sad and smartly written. Maggie does a very good job reading it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • 2017-05-29

Powerful

I finally listened to this novel after so long. It was intense, and raw with emotion. It's as close as I've come to reading poetry, as the genre confounds me. If only Plath had lived into the 21st century. I think she would be both pleased at the progress we've made with gender equality, yet disappointed with how far we have yet to go. I found much in common with Esther Greenwood. But in 2017, it's much more acceptable to be Esther Greenwood. Maggie Gyllenhaal was absolutely perfect as narrator.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Isabelle
  • 2018-10-16

Beautiful

A challenging read, captivating. Beautiful language. Felt her pain and her struggle. An interesting look at a different time period as well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Katja Lorencic
  • 2018-01-17

in love

Such a beautiful voice and acting joined with a captivating story. I can only recommend