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A Farewell to Arms

Narrated by: John Slattery
Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (61 ratings)
Non-member price: $46.77
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Publisher's Summary

The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse.

Hemingway's frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto, of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized, is one of the greatest moments in literary history.

A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion, A Farewell to Arms, written when he was 30 years old, represents a new romanticism for Hemingway.

©1929 Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright renewed 1957 Ernest Hemingway (P)2006 Simon & Schuster Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Indeed a classic

A superb story greatly enhanced by the perfect narrative that made you feel like you were there. It is clear why Hemingway's books are regarded as classics.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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good book would recommend highly

good book would recommend highly
I enjoyed this book very much it was good and

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

old world classic

Having started reading this book when we were staying on Isola Pescatori (Island of the Fishermen) on Lago Maggiore I was keen to listen to it. I loved hearing about the same places in the book that we had visited in this historical setting. I did however tire of Katherine's frequent attempts at not annoying her partner and they did seem too lovey dovey continually discussing that they loved each other. I guess this is the style of a great classic of that time. It is a real classic and well worth a read.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Not bad

Not bad. Not familiar with Hemingway's other work. Quite melodramatic in parts which is strange given the short sentences.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Valerian
  • 17-06-2011

This is not unabridged

Really a great story from really a great narrator. If it was truly unabridged, I would unhesitatingly go for five stars. However, all of the profanity is omitted. There is a silent gap where Hemingway intended a profane word. Hemingway chose his words carefully and he used profanity to make a point about World War I. Of another of his works, Hemingway said "I've tried to reduce profanity but I reduced so much profanity when writing the book that I'm afraid not much could come out. Perhaps we will have to consider it simply as a profane book and hope that the next book will be less profane or perhaps more sacred."

The censorship is conspicuous and, in the case of the retreat chapter, it compromises the narrative. It is a lie to call this audiobook "unabridged." Audible needs to either respect Hemingway's work, or re-categorize this audiobook as abridged.

293 of 303 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin
  • 31-10-2011

Just FYI

Amazingly, this is the edited version (curse words removed). As I understand it, that's how it was published originally, yet it's still a bizarre choice for today's audio version.

98 of 101 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • JOHN
  • 25-09-2008

Not my favorite of Hemingway

While a very good book, not my favorite of Hemingway novels. Written in classic Hemingway prose, with very mundanely realistic dialogues, it was the story itself that I did not love. This is purely a personal opinion, but I found the narrative dragged at times.
Excellent reader, easy to listen to.
I would suggest to anyone considering listening to Hemingway on Audible, that you might be better served with THE SUN ALSO RISES or FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • laurie
  • 29-06-2012

This Narrator Nails It

Of course this is a wonderful, affecting novel, and I am enjoying listening to it. But this narrator! What a wonderful performance! He has the perfect delivery for Frederic Henry, capturing the character with his voice, timing, and inflection. Slattery switches between accents and genders without missing a beat. I can lose myself in the narrative and dialogue, thinking that the characters are real and speaking to me.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Benedict
  • 12-12-2006

Wonderful book

I am relatively new to Hemingway. I had read all the criticisms of Hemingway particularly by journalists over the years, and since they said he wrote using simple words I did not bother with him.

They said Hemingway was too concerned with being macho, well this story tells one sweetest stories I have read, and the macho thing is a silly remark to have been made.

The reader was very good and I was taken with his ability to do various Italian accents so clearly, along with his other characterizations.

What a wonderful and tender story, and the characters I understood as if they were real.

Hemingway's character portrayals are remarkable because they seem like you really knew these people.

Ben

33 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • H. Connelly
  • 26-08-2006

Outstanding

I was not a Hemingway fan, but wanted to listen to one of his books. I chose this one because it was medium in length (compared to others). It is one of the audio books that you find yourself listening to any time you can. It's a terrific story, extremely well narrated and the story is not so obvious that you know what's about to happen next. This was so well done I decided to get For whom the bell tolls to continue exploring Hemingway. You will enjoy this book.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • E. Protzman
  • 06-10-2009

Audiobook experience at the highest level

This always remarkable book comes alive with this reading. I love audio books for their convenience and I get through many more books in audio format than I do with physical books. Comparing what I get from sitting in a chair reading to listening to a book generally is a toss up for me often with reading the book getting a slight edge. But once in a while the audio format far exceeds the page turning experience. This book is a perfect example of how well audio books can be done.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • George
  • 29-11-2011

everything you will want AND MORE!

simply the Hemingway Experience at its best. the performance is outstanding. I listened to the book twice. Thank You for putting this book together with sound! WHAT A TRIP!!!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • 19-01-2011

Engagingly Narrated

This book is a classic and has been reviewed by many more qualified than me. I will address the narration. I was impressed with the narrator's ability to manage the many voices while using great expression to give the story greater life. An excellent listen:)

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • chris
  • 16-05-2006

wonderful

This is my favorite book ever, and I was excited to see that they finally made an audiobook of it. Aside from the story, which we know is already a classic, the reading job is top knotch on this. The reader does good Italian, Irish, English, and Austrian accents. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 16-12-2007

Farewell to a good listen

A great book damaged by poor reading. The monotonous narration leaves this lifeless. Conversations are particularly dead. A disappointment.
The experience has taught me to listen to the preview of each download now.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Judy Corstjens
  • 06-09-2012

Narrator performs book

For many chapters I couldn't get over the impression that this was a take-off of Hemmingway's style. The 'Janet and John' style, as it sounds to UK listeners (of a certain age). But, Hemmingway builds his characters from conversation - the way they talk - and this narrator almost converts the book to a play at some points. I loved the conversation (soliloquy, since the narrator is talking to himself) where he asks himself 'what if his lover/girlfriend dies (in childbirth)'. I can't imagine how it would look on a page - but played by this actor... really something.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • john
  • 31-03-2014

In Another Accent

Would you consider the audio edition of A Farewell to Arms to be better than the print version?

John Slattery does a fine job narrating Hemingway's classic novel. He gets the balance between the hard-bitten laconic tone of the narrative, from the terse war reflections to the suppressed pain at the end. He negotiates the accents (American, Italian, English, Scottish, Swiss) convincingly. I read the text alongside the audio and I thought Slattery's reading brought out tones and inflections I might have missed on the page.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The narrator, Frederic Henry, dominates the novel. It's his take on the events he recounts.

Which character – as performed by John Slattery – was your favourite?

In addition to Henry's narrative voice, I liked the way Slattery realised the Italian characters. He did not resort to the stereotype caricatures that an inferior reader might have attempted in order to play to the gallery.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It is too dense a work for a single sitting. The reading makes the listener want to sit and reflect on scenes and chapters.

Any additional comments?

One of Hemingway's enduring qualities is that he writes on the page the way his narrators would speak. There are several good readings available. William Hurt's reading of The Sun Also Rises is top quality. Stacy Keach's readings of the short stories are excellent. It's a pity that Alexander Scourby's readings of the stories appear to be out of the catalogue, but you can still enjoy his reading of The Great Gatsby, which is masterly. John Slattery's reading of A Farewell To Arms is in the same league.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jytte
  • 13-08-2011

No one besides Hemingway

It's so wonderful to listen to this novel. You hear every word, every tone - when you read you can miss a lot. John Slattery gives life to the - on the surface - subdued lovestory. On my Top Ten!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Grumpy Squid
  • 08-04-2019

I didn’t give up, thank goodnesd

John Slattery, who I like very much, reads this book marvellously. It seems like Hemingway wrote no sentence of more than 10 words. In the end the effect is quite hypnotic I have even found myself started to speak in this staccato way. I knew nothing of Hemingway before I read this book. However, I had seen a group photograph of Chinese Ernest Hemingway look-a-likes. I thought Hemingway a macho writer. I thought I wouldn’t like the book. I thought it would be about the heroics of war.
I was wrong.

Initially Catherine and the protagonist annoyed me. Their conversations seemed banal. In the end I thought her brave. I thought him brave, I started to admire him. Hemingway felt it necessary, towards the end, to make it clear that he was against war. He tells the story of the ants on the log that was put into the fire. Their world was doomed. I think Hemingway betrayed himself there. The book would be stronger without the ant anecdote.

Don’t give up in this book. I started off being very bored but ended up being quite moved. I’m even considering listing to some more Hemingway.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • George F
  • 05-02-2019

Interesting

Not my favourite WWI novel. John Slattery gives a great performance and draws the listener in with his accents and comedic timing. I personally found it difficult to connect with the characters - particularly Catherine. Although apparently very beautiful and refined I find it difficult to believe any woman actually operates the way she does, even a century ago.

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  • Mark
  • 29-11-2018

Brutal Classic

Given the date I thought it would be good to listen to a reading of 'A Farewell to Arms' forty years after I first read it and I am glad I did so. The book has not aged as badly as some might imagine and despite Hemingway's decline in popularity, due no doubt, to our modern aversion to his hunting, fishing and shooting lifestyle, this remains a classic. On a macro level he covers the war well from the perspective of an American 'outsider' in the Italian army. I have always loved Hemingway's descriptions of eating and drinking and Frederic Henry's consumption is enthusiastically described. So is his affection for his Italian comrades. He is also a master at describing the natural world such as the crispness of weather, the slap of water on an oar and the smell of woodsmoke. At the micro level Frederic's relationship with Catherine is covered in intense detail and is surprisingly frank in respect of sexual relations given the time in which it was written. John Slattery does a great job with the narration and, although Catherine was a bit of a stretch, overall I feel he was convincing. The final part of the novel is utterly heart-breaking and brutal but that was Hemingway. The world kills everyone in the end.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Hewitt
  • 23-04-2018

Felt dated with uninspired narration.

Disappointed and I Struggled to finish, never connected with any of the characters. Fortunately it finished before I could be bothered to return it. Much preferred the Old Man and the Sea and For Whom The Bell Tolls. Flat uninspired narration..

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Master J. A. Ware
  • 02-02-2018

Utterly crushing, beautifully written.

fantastic book, gripping and beautifully written.

The descriptions of the moonlit countryside passing as they sailed was a highlight.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stop the lights
  • 15-12-2017

best read of Hemmingways

truly enjoyed this.

although the female English accent on a man is annoying at times the story and descriptions are Hemmingway at his best.

highly recommended!