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Jane Eyre

By: Charlotte Brontë
Narrated by: Thandiwe Newton
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Publisher's Summary

"I think the reason we're so struck by [Jane Eyre] is how Charlotte Brontë manages to relate, expertly, what it means to be a human being...and that never changes." (Narrator Thandiwe Newton) 

Following Jane from her childhood as an orphan in Northern England through her experience as a governess at Thornfield Hall, Charlotte Brontë's Gothic classic is an early exploration of women's independence in the mid-19th century and the pervasive societal challenges women had to endure. At Thornfield, Jane meets the complex and mysterious Mr. Rochester, with whom she shares a complicated relationship that ultimately forces her to reconcile the conflicting passions of romantic love and religious piety. Performing the early Victorian novel with great care and respect, actress Thandiwe Newton (Crash, The Pursuit of Happyness) draws out Jane Eyre's intimacy and depth while conveying how truly progressive Brontë was in an era of extreme restraint. 

Public Domain (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Thandie Newton gives a delightful performance of this beloved classic. She delivers the voice of Jane from childhood to adulthood with elegant conviction, breezing through the dense sentences as if they were part of a contemporary novel." (AudioFile)

"[Thandie Newton’s] taut British diction makes a one-woman play out of the orphan girl’s love story, which starts out with all the young-adult tropes - the poor, good-hearted child abused by the spoiled, wealthy boy and his classist keepers, each distinguished by his or her own idiosyncratic cadence - but progresses into what many consider the prototypical Victorian novel. Written in 1847, not long before the start of the American Civil War, the novel makes repeated comparisons between Jane’s captivity, as an impoverished girl in a rich family’s home, and slavery. Newton’s exasperated and aptly melodramatic delivery of Jane’s accusation that her cruel stepbrother is 'like a slave-driver' is a knowing contemporary wink at this timeless yet dated classic." (The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about Jane Eyre

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    3 out of 5 stars

Men really are the worst, huh

I went into this more or less blind, not knowing anything of the plot, having somehow managed to avoid spoilers for the last two hundred years. Thus I was genuinely somewhat surprised when the plot took its first Gothic left turn, and I was especially shocked and dismayed at Jane's ultimate decision to marry Mr Rochester, who is a total prick and utterly undeserving of her. I think Jane had him pegged when she listened to him speak disrespectfully of his former mistresses and wondered if he'd ever speak of her that way. Though she remains in love with him even after learning how he mistreated his first wife, I figured this was just a way for Brontë to portray Jane's purity and devotion or something, and that other factors would prevent her from getting back with Mr Rochester, so that her belonging and happy ending would instead be achieved living with her new sisters in the house they owned together. At least she had financial independence when she made the decision to marry, so she wasn't constrained into it for that particular reason. Jane is a formidable heroine, and though I really wanted better for her, I suppose the ultimate respect I can pay her is to accept her choices. So, look, Jane, if all you want is to nurse a cranky blind man who ruins everything he touches for the rest of your days, more power to you. May you have every happiness.

Thandie Newton does a great job with the narration; I'm not familiar with her work outside of film, but I'm assuming she must have theatre background or RADA training or something, because there's clearly a lot of technical craft on display in a sustained performance of this length, with character voices being very skilfully delineated, etc. I will say that a lot of her servant woman voices seem pretty much identical, but there are a lot of servant characters in this novel and distinguishing them doesn't seem very important (I think servant voices are mostly dictated by the way Brontë wrote their accents, too). Overall it's an excellent reading that enhances the text.

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5 people found this helpful

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Such a lovely old love story

I wanted to read an old novel while on holiday, my husband also enjoyed listening to the beautiful old style language and appreciated the morals and stoic ways. Was much more enjoyable having someone read to me than the time many years ago when i read it to myself. Excellent reader.

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4 people found this helpful

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Thandie Newton: a master narrator

So many characters, each given their own distinct, colourful voice. I enjoy this rendition so much, I've listened again and again. Thandie's Jane is, for me, the definitive version.

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3 people found this helpful

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Beautifully read

The choice of reader was. Superb one. She truly brings this beloved classic alive. The characters were distinct and delineated vividly.

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3 people found this helpful

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Amazing reading of a true classic

Thandie Newton reads like an angel - this is the best read Audible book I have yet listened to.
Although I’ve read this before and loved it, listening was wonderful because I couldn’t skim over any description or speech and really experienced the true novel.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand 19th century society, likes strong female characters and fancies a ripping gothic yarn.

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A LADY'S TALE

What made the experience of listening to Jane Eyre the most enjoyable?

Listening to the master or should I say, mistress story teller, brilliant, of its time, told in ageless language, easily understood in this time and age. Perhaps a little too critical of the French but understandable.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Jane Eyre?

The moment at the altar when Rochester nearly allowed his passion for JANE TO CUASE HIM TO BE A BIGAMIST!

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

She lives the part admirably, using the language and accent of the time.

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

as nearly as possible!!

Any additional comments?

I would be in a very long queue as a critic and a very humble one at that ,I leave a thorough critique to my betters!

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Oh what a beautiful journey

What a truly beautiful story full of so many heart warming and uplifting moments to be with Jane in her journey from childhood through to adulthood was just I am a lost for words but it was beautiful and I will miss her.

Highly recommended and Thandie did an outstanding performance!!

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1 person found this helpful

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Better to be heard than seen!

What a wonderful way to take in a classic. While wading through the spectacular writing style of Bronte one can occasionally get somewhat bogged down in the thick language, having to constantly gauge context and meaning makes for much slower progress than listening to the same text. The story flew being read, all emotions and intentions laid bare with no effort on my part to interpret needed, it made the journey effortless and enchanting. I recommend anyone wanting to study this text listen to it first, the full meaning of each scene given on a silver platter that can be further devoured in the actual text. And to anyone wanting a beautiful, enticing story to listen to then this will suit you perfectly also.

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Decent story

It was great up to chapter 26 or so until the character of Sinjin Rivers arrived. The whole cold Christianity thing with missionary BS was unbearable. There also began the occasional racist undertone against India. The British that looted, plundered everything from India had the audacity to be exact opposite.
Anyway that’s the story. Narration was excellent, real good. My bad that I chose a wrong book..

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An E(y)rudite exploration of Victorian themes

Jane Eyre is a deceptively layered text, which uses a romantic bildungsroman to explore class, gender and religious dynamics of the Victorian era. Its eponymous heroine rebels against certain norms, is constrained by some, and willingly conforms to others. The result is a tale which is never unambiguously cheery or dreary: each of its peaks and troughs leave the reader with queries.

A major strength is the environment and side characters, which symbolise more than they let on, though not in a contrived or pretentious way. The novel is eminently readable, but rich in meaning.

Is Jane Eyre a feminist text? Is it “an autobiography”? Is it just a simple love story?

Yes and no at once, I guess. It is certainly a classic.

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