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Summary

A unique collection of eight Alan Bennett stories, read by the author. Alan Bennett is one of Britain's best-loved authors and an acclaimed storyteller. This exclusive compilation includes eight of his best tales, collected together for the first time.

Here is his celebrated, iconic memoir 'The Lady in the Van'; as well as two fascinating autobiographical accounts of his family and childhood. 'Uncle Clarence' sees Bennett visiting the grave of a relative who died in Flanders in 1917; while in 'Hymn' he joins forces with composer George Fenton and the Medici String Quartet to explore his musical memories.

Bennett's incisive, acute observations shine through in his fiction too, with wry, moving and darkly humorous meditations on death ('Father! Father! Burning Bright' and 'The Laying On of Hands'), sex ('The Shielding of Mrs Forbes) and middle-age ennui ('The Clothes They Stood Up In'). His gift for affectionate satire reaches its pinnacle in 'The Uncommon Reader', a delightful tale in which the Queen discovers the pleasures of literature.

Poignant, compassionate, wise and witty, the stories included are 'The Lady in the Van', 'Uncle Clarence', 'The Clothes They Stood Up In', 'Father! Father! Burning Bright', 'Hymn', 'The Laying On of Hands', 'The Uncommon Reader' and 'The Shielding of Mrs Forbes'.

©2016 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2016 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

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

Consummate story-teller

I greatly enjoyed this collection of short stories: the pleasure enhanced by Alan Bennett’s inimitable reading-style. The stories vary: some have a moral theme clothed in gentle humour, others find comedy in mundane lives and quite a few are more racy tales about homosexual relationships, a preoccupation understandable after his recent revelation about his sexual orientation after decades of discretion.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anthony
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 14-04-17

Delightfully Bennett

A collection of great Bennett stories read by Alan Bennett himself.

Each story has a twist, a turn, and lots of humour, all beautifully written and presented. Most have relationships and their links with community at their centre. Great if you're a Londoner because you recognise so much; great if you don't know London because it introduces you...

Bennett the story teller, Bennett the playwright; Bennett the humorist - all on delightful display here... Vintage Bennett it is... the listener cannot but enjoy!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A quite brilliant understated writer.

Allan Bennet is an absolute pleasure to listen to. I find his writing humourous and his narration so soothing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Funny and touching, as to be expected of Alan Bennett

Wonderful story writing, brought to life by Alan Bennett's reading of them. Made me laugh out loud in parts.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Jjust wonderful.

Alan Bennett is our greatest playwrite and author and no one reads his work like he does. The best listen ever. 11/10

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

engaging as always

very much enjoyed the diversity of subjects especially the portrayal of the Queen. only Alan Bennett can read Alan Bennett stories!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Pure pleasure

Evocative stories beautifully told and very good value considering the many hours you get with this delightful book.

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  • Jo
  • 21-12-17

Brilliant, obviously.

Painfully honest observations and a familiar view of the world for me at 56. I know these people.

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

Rather a strange collection

A series of short narratives. All performed by the author. The first The lady in the van was good and thought provoking. There were others which I enjoyed but there were some which were distinctly boring. Surprisingly sexually oriented which I didn't much enjoy and felt unnecessary.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Generally excellent reading

Highly amusing and clever use of the English language. let down a little by excessive homosexual activity.

1 of 11 people found this review helpful