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Random Harvest

Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

Non-member price: $27.79

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Publisher's Summary

Books You Hear is genuinely proud to present Random Harvest by James Hilton. Though this story may be new to the post-WWII generations, it has an impressive history, making it, perhaps, the greatest story you’ve never heard of.

Published in 1941, Random Harvest was contemporary to its first audience, and is painted against the backdrop of the gathering storm in Europe. However, it doesn’t focus on military threats or political wrangling. Instead, it tells the very accessible story of a profoundly good man with normal aspirations who consistently put the needs of others first, and as a result, lived a life he never could have imagined.

In 1942, a feature film was made that significantly altered the narrative (and narrator) of this original story. It was also excellent and was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Ironically, it lost out to a film also written by James Hilton, and with the same lead actress, Greer Garson. However, in later years, it was Random Harvest that both Garson and her co-star, Ronald Colman recognized as the project in their careers that they most enjoyed.

The story is told in five parts, with each representing a significant period in the main character’s life - encompassing war, power, prestige, high finance, show business, and of course, deep and romantic love. Since the film focuses primarily on the love story, there is much that makes the book a new and deeply satisfying experience. And for those who haven’t seen the film yet, experience the book first. You will love the way Hilton educates and envelops you with this beautiful story, and leaves you so much better, and happier, for the journey.

Public Domain (P)2014 Books You Hear

What members say

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I love this book

Would you listen to Random Harvest again? Why?

Yes I would listen to it again. I love the story and the way it is told. I liked the different voices used for the main characters.

Any additional comments?

I've seen the movie and have read the book. I wanted to listen to it as well. It is such a good story about a man living with part of his memory gone. The way he copes with it is interesting. I just really like this book. I love the ending.

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  • mran
  • 09-09-2018

Pure pleasure

I first read this book as a pre-teen, and so much of it has stayed with me for over forty years...except for the title and the author! Recently, I finally got serious with Google, and was able to finally read it again here on Audible. How delightful to find that it was every bit as wonderful as I remembered, and to enjoy it in a very different way as an adult. If the violence and cruelty in so much of modern media has begun to weary you, this book might provide a respite.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Joanne M.
  • 15-06-2018

A Pleasant Surprise

My first James Hilton novel that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed.

The book is a beautifully structured story switching between first person and third, to tell the story of a WW1 shell shock victim who loses his memory (twice) and struggles to care about a world full of people who understand even less than he does. The way his life, and losses, are revealed is masterful and the author captures emotion in the most unsentimental yet effective ways. I guarantee the last page twist will make you bite back the tears.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tamara
  • 11-11-2018

Much more than the Movie!

Loved this book. It was great to see all the fill in and back story, beyond the classic film. #Nostalgic #Tearjerker #UnlikelyHero #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lynn Adamson
  • 27-10-2017

Read the Book First

If you have not seen the movie, read the book first. The movie has been one of my favorites for years but the book tells the story in a completely different sequence and of course, is more in depth. Although the narration is great, I didn't think I was going to like it until about midway through and then I was hooked.. a great mystery and story.

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  • Richie Buck
  • 31-12-2016

Great Book by a Great Writer. James Holton makes

James Holton makes you feel like a part of the story. He was a fabulous writer

1 person found this helpful

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  • Claudia Lyon
  • 23-03-2015

Great book!

It was a perfectly wonderful book! Since it was written in a different time..it takes you to another time another world

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  • Zeno
  • 23-05-2020

A gentle tale

A big fan of Lost Horizon, I had long wanted to discover another James Hilton novel. This one, while well crafted in the way it moves through time and switches perspectives, left me considerably less satisfied. It's the story of a good man, a kind and wealthy man, who lives in the knowledge that a time of his past is shrouded in mystery. Having lost his memory of a time after WWI, the novel reveals, bit by bit, what happened, how it happened, whom he met - and thus we discover how he became the man we meet in the novel ... there's a bit of a twist in there, but not much of one. Overall, it is that, a gentle tale. A tale about a man who happens to be in place, and with people, and since he's kind and always willing to help, good things happen time and time again ... I would have loved to love this novel more, it was just a bit ... too meandering.

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  • Corey Mackenson
  • 02-04-2020

A true classic!

I loved the book. Don't miss this. The narrators were first rate and writing superlative.

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  • B0b
  • 16-01-2020

I keep listening and reading this again.

As the introduction to this audio version points out, although historical fiction today, it was contemporary fiction when published. It has that contemporary immediacy even now.

I first read Random Harvest in high school, on the bus ride home (it was boarding school, so it wasn't just an hour read). I've read it many times since then. My love of this book meant an audio book needed to be great to augment the text or at least good not to detract from it.

I'm pleased to say that this multi-voiced cast production augments the text.

Hilton has some striking quotable lines (which you may find for yourself). But rest assured I think you will find some of your own.

My only regret about this book is the same one people have about any great books they have read: I can never read it for the first time ever again. But maybe you can read it for the first time. You'll be glad to share my regret if you do.

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  • Dona Parus
  • 04-03-2016

Wonderful

Great listening to a great story. Wonderfully done. Locking forward to enjoying more like this.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Edmund
  • 11-05-2014

Wonderful book but the reading let it down

This is a wonderful book but the reading lets it down woefully. Americans tyring to sound English is just sad.

I'm on the look out for another audio edition, because the book is one of the all-time-greats.



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  • Mr
  • 01-09-2016

Random Harvest

It's a good story but I can't help thinking that it would have been so much better if Jeremy Irons had read it.

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  • Mrs Strawberry
  • 20-10-2019

Fabulous book!

Loved the story. Incredibly evocative of the time and perfect descriptions. Absolutely loved it. What spoiled it was the narration. The actors are clearly Americans putting on English upper class accents and there are so many mistakes. Surely there are English speaking actors available?

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  • Joe Capaldi
  • 05-03-2019

An all time classic !

After 75 years this is still a marvellous book - well worth the read - highly recommended !!