• Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes

  • By: Alan Bennett
  • Narrated by: Alan Bennett
  • Length: 3 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (72 ratings)

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Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes  By  cover art

Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes

By: Alan Bennett
Narrated by: Alan Bennett
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Publisher's Summary

Two unexpected tales written and read by the best-selling author of The Uncommon Reader, Untold Stories and The History Boys.

"The Greening of Mrs Donaldson" - Mrs Donaldson is a conventional middle-class woman beached on the shores of widowhood after a marriage that had been much like many others: happy to begin with, then satisfactory and finally dull. But when she decides to take in two lodgers, her mundane life becomes much more stimulating…

"The Shielding of Mrs Forbes" - Graham Forbes is a disappointment to his mother, who thinks that if he must have a wife, he should have done better. True, her own husband isn’t all that satisfactory either. Still, this is Alan Bennett, so what is happening in the bedroom (and in lots of other places too) is altogether more startling, perhaps shocking, and ultimately more true to people’s predilections.

©2011 Alan Bennett (P)2011 AudioGo Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Artfully entertaining…On one particular subject Bennett is incomparably brilliant: role-playing, which is the meat of both stories." (Simon Schama, Financial Times, London)
"Bennett’s humor consistently resides in the logic of the parenthetical aside, the comedy of the false appearances or misperceptions being challenged or disabused.…Mrs. Donaldson is not as unconventional as she thought herself, and no one around Mr. Forbes is where—or who—they pretend to be." ( The Guardian, London)
"Tender and comic…This is Bennett’s world, where repression is never far from the sexual act….Good, old-fashioned British humor with the lightest of subversive twists." ( The Independent, London)

What listeners say about Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fun British story about unmentionable subjects!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If one enjoyes British humor this is a fun book on delicate subjects in story form.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes?

I was not expecting the second story to be as good as the first, and if anything it was better. The openous of what are usually non open subjects, told in a delightful manner.

What does Alan Bennett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His English accent that adds to this story

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

The book is short, but I feel it is better enjoyed taking each story seperately.

Any additional comments?

The story takes a tongue & cheek view in the British style that would be hard to be so open about told by an American author or reader.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great fun, totally absorbing. A welcome diversion

Where does Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best of any I have listened to so far.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters were so fully realized

If you could take any character from Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Mrs. Donaldson. What a vivid character!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

story seems dated, but narration amusing

Would you try another book from Alan Bennett and/or Alan Bennett?

yes, i think so

What do you think your next listen will be?

raylan by elmore leonard

Which character – as performed by Alan Bennett – was your favorite?

Mrs. Forbes

Was Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes worth the listening time?

yes

Any additional comments?

stories probably not as shocking as the title suggests

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Alan Bennett's sly and subversive tales

What made the experience of listening to Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes the most enjoyable?

Alan Bennett writes for the stage and is a veteran actor and comedian (Beyond the Fringe,) so when he reads his superficially decorous, decidedly unconventional tales of the various ways that love, desire, and received notions about what's age-appropriate mix and match, it is a treat. The delivery is so prim that you may have to listen twice to realize just exactly what it is he's saying.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes?

Mrs. Donaldson is one of a team of volunteers that enact various medical conditions for the benefit of trainee medical students--the students, their professor, the other

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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The best is the humor; it's LOL funny.

The best is the humor; it's LOL funny. The slowdown is the thematic play on Brit manners, which I found yesteryear and tiresome. There's redemptive ingenuity in the stories' plotlines.

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Wonderful

If you could sum up Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes in three words, what would they be?

This is my first run in with Alan (I'm from Mars) and it was delightful. This book covers the kind of smut you and your mum can chat easily about over tea in the morning. Rather, it is all about a master writer who has honed his skills of comedic understatement and in so doing brings the whole damn empire up a notch.

What did you like best about this story?

Just about everything.

What does Alan Bennett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A really wonderful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous!

There is little doubt that the success of Bennett's audio works can be attributed to the skill of the reader, Bennett himself. This work is no exception, it is written and read with the same literary accomplishment that characterises all of Bennett's work. These two tales are at the same time hilarious, tragic and evocative - not of the reality - of the morality our times. I'll give them a rest but probably listen to them gin in a year or so. In the meantime, I'll just keep checking back here every month to see if there anything new by Bennett.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tracey
  • 05-25-11

Bennett at his best!

I love Alan Bennett, the man can do no wrong. These two short stories revolving around sex in its various forms are funny and oddly sweet. Bennett is brilliant at forming flawed, human characters who are, if not likeable, at least relatable. A great quick listen, definitely one for a rainy day or a long journey.

4 people found this helpful

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  • ditto do
  • 04-24-15

Strangely familiar but unknown

Sir Alan' cosy tea cake voice delivering exactly what it says ion the tin, Smut. A bit rude, very funny and a mix of Bennett's bittersweet humour and a touch of the risqué make this an enjoyable listen. Perhaps not one for the car while travelling with my Thirteen year old Bennett fan!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • M Croft
  • 07-13-11

Amusing

Very light, enjoyable and amusing stories. Excellently read by the author, whose observations are as sharp as ever.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane Showering
  • 05-08-14

anything by alan bennett is spell binding!

What made the experience of listening to Smut: Two Unseemly Stories: The Greening of Mrs Donaldson & The Shielding of Mrs Forbes the most enjoyable?

the unexpected oddness of the tales told in such a matter of fact way

Who was your favorite character and why?

graham, i loved his sanguine take on life

Which character – as performed by Alan Bennett – was your favourite?

they are all so beautifully rounded and intimately described, i can't choose!

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

i don't know!

Any additional comments?

alan bennett is not only a magical writer but is the best reader ever, what a combination!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lesley Sherborne
  • 04-13-13

Bennett delights as always.

Surprising stuff from Mr Bennett. Risqué and funny. Wonderful to hear Alan Bennett reading his own material.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon Evers
  • 01-17-12

Enormous fun

While listening to 'The Greening of Mrs Donaldson' walking down the road, I almost fell off the pavement I was laughing so much - and I certainly got some strange looks.

Such good entertainment - a lovely pair of unlikely stories, superb narration (as one always expects from Mr Bennett), great characters. My only regret is that there were only two of them!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Welsh Mafia
  • 09-08-11

Naughty, naughty

Both stories are great fun from start to finish and are the apotheosis of his front parlour hanky-panky delivered with a sure touch for the turn of phrase and twitch of net.

There are some great set-pieces, particularly a visit to a police station - “there’s coffee on the go, but you’ve just missed the croissants” and a strategically placed mobile phone.

Maybe it all fits together a little bit too snugly at the end, all the tops flattened and the corners tucked in - but ooh, I don’t know you can’t complain can you, I mean, two stories for the price of one........and wasn’t Alan thoughtful to read it to us as well, though I hear he’s not got that much else on at the moment, so he probably had a little bit of time on his hands and thought he might put it to good use. He always was a thoughtful boy...

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • R590
  • 08-15-21

Absolutely loved it, thank you Alan Bennett!

I have really great memories of Alan's narrations of Winnie the Pooh, that I listened to as a child, his voice is comforting and engaging. And he keeps this through these 2 short stories but with the complete contrast of being decidedly for an adult audience. I think there was one point where there should be a content warning (if there isn't one) for r@pe/sexual violence in the first story, this incident is sort of justified (for want of a better description) in the story, which felt dismissive and misogynistic, albeit realistic. As with other pieces I have heard from Bennett's writing, the plot develops relatively slowly, but engaging and and always very much realistic and detailed. Characters were wholly believable, engaging, and well developed. Felt like the book presented some interesting comments on human behaviour and society, and dealt with deeper and more serious topics, while also managing to maintain a light hearted and matter of fact tone, hope that makes sense!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-18-20

Bennett at his best !

If you love Alan Bennett you'll love this. Two glorious stories to keep you tickled pink.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dawn
  • 09-02-19

dissapointing

Much as I enjoy Alan Bennett this was rather a disappointment.
2nd story was the best of the two.