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The Aspern Papers

Narrated by: Jonathan Epstein
Length: 3 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Summary

The Aspern Papers, one of Henry James best-known shorter works, is based on a story he heard about a collector of Shelley's manuscripts who attempted to acquire valuable letters from a mysterious old woman living in Florence. Set in beautiful Venice, James' elegant tale of suspense and romance takes the reader down the canals and inner chambers of a bygone era.
(P)2006 BMA Studios

Critic reviews

"James did nothing like an Englishman - or an American. He was a great fact in himself, a new world, a terra incognita that he would devote all his days to mapping for the rest of us....James was the master of the novel in English in a way that no one had ever been before; or has ever been since." (Gore Vidal)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not much happened

What would have made The Aspern Papers better?

For something to happen

What will your next listen be?

Probably Flashman, makes you laugh and a lot happens

What does Jonathan Epstein bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

????

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Yawn

Any additional comments?

Maybe this book is not for me. If you like looking at blank canvasses go for it!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lois
  • 03-05-08

A Little Gem

Here is Henry James with a little jewel of a story set in Venice. The narrator reads as if he were of the period and the story is told perfectly, with that touch of bemused irony. I enjoyed the audio immensely. Well done.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Patricia Marino
  • 09-11-09

Nice reading

The reader of this book has a slightly slow and drawling style that, in my opinion, perfectly fits the story. Beautifully done.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kerlian
  • 05-02-10

wonderful narration

This is my first foray into James novel and I am glad I have this
audiobook to read along. As the story is told from first person narrative, it suits perfectly in audiobook form, and the accompanying music pieces are good too

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ron L. Caldwell
  • 07-11-08

One of the great novellas

Excellent reading of a James masterpiece. FYI: If you're interested in more about the setting, listen to John Berendt's "City of Falling Angels." He spends time in the Venetian palazzo where James wrote the "The Aspern Papers."

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anthony Giles
  • 21-01-15

Perfect Narration

Any additional comments?

The book is a classic, obviously, but the tone and style of this narration is just perfect.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Liese
  • 08-03-13

Fragrant characters

Everything I have read from James has stayed with me. He is truly the master of "the fragrant character," who remains long after the book is over. Who can forget Catherine Sloper and her tyrranical father, or the lovely Charlotte Stant? The list goes on and on.

Here we meet no less memorable characters: two ladies in a crumbling palazzo and an intrepid seeker after what he believes to be truth, in addition to a literary icon who is no less present a character for being long-deceased.

Epstein's narration captures the spirit of the time and place that is Venice, and the gentle irony of the story's resolution. It is a brilliant examination of all sorts of motivations, by turns sad and comical. It's a short listen by James' standards, and well worth a quiet afternoon.

Sometimes one is drawn to a book for all the wrong reasons. Once I knew a man just like our protagonist, a man whom we suspected would stop at nothing to collect what related to his idol. When I saw Margaret Tyzack and John Carson in an episode of the old British series "Affairs of the Heart," I meant to read the book. Finally, decades later, I did. Don't you wait so long.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Marianne
  • 11-10-15

Brilliant entry level Henry James

Would you listen to The Aspern Papers again? Why?

Yes, it is an almost perfect short story.

What did you like best about this story?

The writing is wonderful and the suspense holds until the end

What about Jonathan Epstein’s performance did you like?

He is a terrific reader and should be asked to read more classics. He is intelligent and sensitive

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Miss Bordereau catches the narrator searching for her papers

Any additional comments?

an excellent version

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • R.
  • 26-05-16

A perfect story. IMHO, Mr James finest short story

Any additional comments?

What an exquisite tale. No one writes as evocatively, as vividly, with such stunning insight, and with such gorgeous prose as Henry James. A wonderful narration as well. A most enjoyable listen.