Brideshead Revisited Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 31 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||November 05, 2015|
|Publisher||Hachette Audio UK|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#113,606 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#3,478 in Classic Literature
#16,559 in Classic Literature & Fiction
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The plot is set in a changing world in Britain and America prior to and during World War II. The PBS series, Brideshead Revisited, aired in the 1980s, and is available on DVD or download today to supplement the reading of this novel. The television series helps bring to life the characters and make them solidify in your memory.
Captain Charles Ryder and his company of soldiers are to set up headquarters at a large estate. Charles recognizes the mansion as Brideshead. The memories of his connection to Brideshead in his youth are awakened.
He was a young artist when he met Lord Sebastian Flyte at Oxford in 1923. Sebastian was very rich and bored. He wanted fun, lightness, silliness; he wanted entertainment to fill the emptiness within. He carried Aloysius, his toy teddy bear everywhere. Charles was infatuated with him. Sebastian was irresponsible but his family bailed him out. His family took steps to oversee his activities and hired Mr. Samgrass to keep an eye on him. Sebastian’s family, especially Lady Marchmain Flyte, his mother, pulled Charles into intimacy in order to control Sebastian. She succeeded in making Charles open up to her, but her attempts to convert Charles to Catholicism failed. Sebastian wanted to get away from his family; he felt trapped. He was less and less in love with Charles as Charles become close to his mother.
Sebastian drank more and more. His family, especially his mother, tried to control this, but Sebastian only drank more heavily. Charles wanted to please Sebastian and win his approval, so he gave him money when he asked for it. Sebastian’s mother coldly asked Charles to leave Brideshead when she found he had given Sebastian money for drinking.
Charles had had enough and distanced himself from Brideshead, although he still pined for Sebastian. He married Celia, a pretty woman, who took pride in his success as a painter and worked hard to promote him. Charles was attracted to her initially but did not love her. After returning from a 2-year trip to Central America where he had gone to renew his artistic inspiration, Charles showed indifference to his wife and children. When he and Celia were on a ship on vacation, he saw Julia, Sebastian’s sister. He was attracted to her because she reminded him of Sebastian.
Julia and Charles both got divorced so they could get married. However, as her father lay dying and Charles did not see the purpose of a priest giving her unconscious father, Lord Marchmain, the “last rites”, she realized that she could not marry Charles and give up her religion.
The author says the book is about faith in God, the Brideshead family vs Charles, who is a nonbeliever. The book is about “the operation of divine grace on a group of diverse but closely connected characters”. The book seems to be more than that to me. It is about the choices we make, the paths we take in love and faithfulness.
Top international reviews
Anyway, it's good stuff. It feels more contemporary than I expected, not at all dry, and is actually About Something. Great opening, great ending. Recommended.
Author of 'Cycles of Udaipur'
Told in the first person by Charles Ryder and set initially around 30's before World War 2, the so called Golden Age. A middle class painter, Charles finds himself very much infatuated by the Marchmains and their rather privileged lifestyles. It indicates that all is not as it seems within the family. Themes of homosexuality, strong religious beliefs, alcoholism are threads throughout. I really enjoyed this book but couldn't give it a 5* because I found the beginning rather tedious...but that was probably due to me and my initial reluctance to read it.
Do I recommend it? Give it a go. You could well be surprised as I was.
It's a great book and, of course, it's been made into a Masterpiece Theater series years ago. There are many reviews of this work already, so just to illustrate the excellent writing, I will just say that I think the romantic episode on an ocean liner during a storm at sea (her husband is absent; his wife is laid up with seasickness) is the most romantic passage I can think of in literature.
The novel begins when Charles Ryder is billeted on an unknown country estate during WWII, which turns out to be Brideshead, a place he knew well. The story then unfolds of his meeting of the young Lord Sebastian Flyte at Oxford and his coming under the spell of the Marchmain family and of Brideshead itself. As the young promise of Sebastian declines into drink, Charles leaves Oxford and becomes an architectural artist, before finding that his relations with the family are not yet over when he meets Sebastian's sister Julia on a ship returning from New York.
Evelyn Waugh looks at many themes in this novel: love, loss, family and religion all intertwine and interweave in this story. Of course, Waugh was a committed convert to the Catholic faith and religion lies heavily on virtually every page of this book. Divorce, conversion and the pressure of religion are all present. Lord Marchmain, living abroad with his mistress, does not enter the novel for some time, but he haunts the pages and his eventual return to Brideshead and death scene are a pivotal part of the book. This can be criticised for being about the aristocracy (Waugh himself wrote it during the war during a time of restrictions and privations and the glamour and wealth of a past life pour from the pages) or not being relevant, but the themes of disappointment, love, religion and loss are things we have all experienced.
If you are interested in reading more about the family and house on which Evelyn Waugh based "Brideshead Revisited" you might enjoy Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead (although it is now available on kindle, it is a text only version and so I would personally recommend the book, which contains the illustrations) . If you are coming to this book for the first time I envy you - enjoy.
Wherever you are on the religious spectrum of belief, this story creates profound questions whilst leaving the reader to draw their own perspective. The treatment of alcoholism and vulnerability is both poignant and powerful.
A book to read every few years. My reaction to this story in my teens was so different many years later. A real classic.
other authors could match.
The prose is beautiful throughout and so maginative. A classic for all times.