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The Bell Jar cover art

The Bell Jar

Written by: Sylvia Plath
Narrated by: Maggie Gyllenhaal
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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

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What listeners say about The Bell Jar

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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.

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Worth the time

This is a book that deserves the reviews it gets. It is a study of class division and personal growth and pain. Highly recommended.

The narration by Maggie Gyllenhaal is excellent.

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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.

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Superb!

The Bell Jar is one of my favourite books and Maggie Gyllenhaal is the perfect narrator. She sounds just like I imagined Esther Greenwood would sound, complete with the proper emotion and intonation.

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kept my attention

Kept my attention. The story flowed nicely and it seems this would be a good book for many ages.

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loved it

loved it so much, more then I thought then I ever would. amazing voice reader aswell

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a poet at heart

I think listening to this story was the ultimate experience because Plath's use of words sounds so mezmerizing to the ear, that at times I was tempted to lose track of the action. Her description brought me right to the 50's and 60's of the last century, warts and all. For Mental Health awareness, women's issues, or simply euphony, an excellent choice.

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A masterpiece of narration

The book is haunting and visceral. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s narration is so good, she’s inextricably tied with Esther Greenwood in my head now.

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helped me put my privilege into perspective.

everyone struggles. everyone gets abused in some way or another. trying to look at the jar half full instead of half empty is impossible.

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Interesting Window into Mental Illness

The story is well-written with vivid imagery and a relatable narrator, even as she's suffering from mental illness - it provides an interesting and important perspective. Gyllenhaal does a good job with the reading, although it is quite conversational. I suppose the book calls for that sort of reading, but there's no room for anything special.

Short length makes this worth a recommendation.

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