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Howards End

Narrated by: Edward Petherbridge
Length: 11 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible

Howards End is the story of the liberal Schlegel sisters and their struggle to come to terms with social class and their German heritage in Edwardian England. Their lives are intertwined with those of the wealthy and pragmatic Wilcox family and their country house, Howards End, as well as the lower-middle-class Basts.

When Helen Schlegel and Paul Wilcox's brief romance ends badly the Schlegels hope to never see the Wilcoxes again. However, the family moves from their country estate, Howards End, to a flat across the road from them. When Helen befriends Leonard Bast, a man of lower status, the political and cultural differences between the families are exacerbated and brought to a fatal confrontation at Howard's End.

Considered by some to be Forster's masterpiece it is a story about social conventions, codes of conduct, and personal relationships in turn-of-the-century England.

In 1998, Howards End ranked 38th on the Modern Library's list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Narrator Biography

Actor, writer and artist Edward Petherbridge has long been praised for his tragic and comic roles throughout his long career with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre. He has won the Olivier and London Theatre Critic's Awards and has twice been nominated for a Tony Award. His major roles on stage have included his memorable performance of Newman Noggs in Nicholas Nickleby and Malvolio in Twelfth Night. He has also performed in stage musicals such as The Woman in White and the musical version of The Importance of Being Earnest. His onscreen career has included roles on television in The Brief (2004), Midsomer Murders (2007), Land Girls (2011), Doctors (2012) and The Borgias (2011) and in films such as The Statement (2003) and Pope Joan (2009). He has narrated E. M. Forster's Where Angels Fear to Tread and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray audiobooks.

Public Domain (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

What listeners say about Howards End

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Recommendation.

Enjoyed it. Love the discriptions of scenery and character's. Would recommend it as a great read.

1 person found this helpful

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11 Hours of my life I will NEVER get back

Plot as dull as cardboard but great narration, would I recommend it... in a pinch, I guess it is still considered literature, but there is a great movie version and an even better mini series.

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  • Sue C
  • 25-03-2014

It's all in the narration

Edward Petherbridge has exactly the Edwardian delivery that Foster needs. Can I give the narrator 10 stars? I read this book years ago but this reading that I bought on the recommendation of a friend, uncovers humor and nuances that I totally missed before. I actually lost sleep not wanting to turn if off for the night.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Julian
  • 25-05-2017

Uncanny prescience

I was a little cautious embarking on this, having fallen asleep during the Emma Thompson movie version, but it was clear from the opening pages that I was in for a surprise - Forster's narrative and digressions fascinate endlessly. His theme of rootlessness remains highly relevant today, and he describes an England on the cusp of disaster with uncanny prescience. Leonard Bast's tragedy was amplified a million times over in the Great War just a few years after the writing as the Wilcoxes of the world plunged ahead heedless. Meditations on music and art, nature and landscape intersect with and complement the story, though it has power to move on its own as the characters shift and change in contact. Forster's style is quotable - he does not shy from taking on the big themes of life and death, art and commerce, town and country, clearly seeking a post-Christian settlement after the fashion of the age. Petherbridge's narration is sensitive and stately paced, only breaking the spell occasionally by sinking to an inaudible whisper during dialogues (inconvenient for listening while driving). This is not one to send you to sleep.

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  • sora
  • 23-06-2014

A very Edwardian reading!

Somehow, Edward Petherbridge's reading emphasises the Edwardian-ness - don't be surprised if you find yourself speaking in a rather clipped, golly gosh way after a few hours of listening! I'd like to hear it read by someone with a more modern voice, but maybe that would just sound wrong. I still think it's a wonderful story, sadly misrepresented by the film version (although the film is still worth watching). The book explores so many conflicts - class, art v industry, women v men, city v countryside - and much of the writing is profound. But some of the sentiments are 'of their time', especially about the motives and motivations of women.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Mr
  • 20-12-2014

Better than expected!

This novel has all the hallmarks of Forster's work: connections, the wood as something beautiful / a haven, the ideas of class. The story twists around in the usual unpredictable Forster way. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would actually! Petherbridge is a great narrator and does justice to the novel.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Philadelphus
  • 19-02-2010

Excellent sociology, bad psychology

Howards End is a fascinating portrait of the State of England (not Britain) in the early 20th century. It tells you things about class, nationality, anti-intellectualism and so on in a way that any number of history books can't. But I have never been able to believe that either of the Schlegel sisters would make the decisions they do about men. It's not that women and men don't make bad decisions about each other: they most certainly do and there are plenty of great novels about it. But whereas George Eliot, for example, convinces me that Dorothea would marry Casaubon, Forster utterly fails to convince me about his two women. I'm with Margaret's husband, for example,in not believing that such a lively, intelligent woman could be so submissive. I hoped that an audiobook would show me the error of my ways. Edward Petherbridge is excellent, but can't put in what's not there.

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  • Chris Saunders
  • 03-10-2017

a story about human nature beautifully written

Loved it. vet thought provoking. A fitting ending. Narrator a bit quietly spoken but read well.

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  • martin mortimer
  • 07-02-2017

Howard's end

Have always loved e m fosters work. Wouldn't be presumptuous to 'review'. Howard's end is an oasis in a frantic world

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  • viv
  • 06-08-2020

Perfect

I love this fantastic story and the narrator does it proud. I saw the tv adaptation and loved it so got the book. Unfortunately I found it really hard going; I think because I was too anxious to get on to what happened next (even though I knew) to have patience with the introspective musings of the characters. So the audiobook is brilliant- I can listen to the beautiful writing and enjoy the complexities of the characters because the narration is so good that I’m not dying to get on to the next ‘happening’. Whether or not you know the story this will be sublime.

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  • Barbara Murray
  • 23-07-2020

not my cup of tea

I don't know what I was expecting but didn't enjoy this book like I hoped. the characters didnt flow for me and it felt very disjointed

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  • Alison McG
  • 15-06-2020

Really?

I persevered to the end, waiting for this book to grab me. It didn’t. I have no other words for this audio book.

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  • mareepsasja
  • 02-06-2020

Superb rendering of this beautiful and tragic story

The narrator is superb, perfect for this, my favourite E M Forster novel. I love novels from this era - such an incredible time of change, particularly as regards the social classes and women’s position in society.

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  • Jean M.
  • 02-06-2020

A classical delight

Much better than the film. . Insightful of life between the classes. Of the day. And the the undertones of affection. Beneath the stolid affectation of mannerisms.All the more appealing. By the silky smooth voice of Mr E P