• Tess of the D'Urbervilles

  • By: Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: Anne-Marie Duff
  • Length: 14 hrs and 31 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (84 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and to seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her cousin Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future.

Thomas Hardy’s timeless masterpiece is brought to life in this new recording by Anne-Marie Duff (Shameless, His Dark Materials).   

With its sensitive depiction of the wronged Tess and powerful criticism of social convention, Tess of the D'Urbervilles is one of the most moving and poetic novels of all time.

Public Domain (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Tess of the D'Urbervilles

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Don’t read this

This didn’t age well. It kept making me angry and but I listened to the whole of it because the prose was good enough that I expected a satisfactory ending. No. This book is full of disappointment, bullshit, and so dated it refers to a rapist as a « lover » and a « seducer » but thats only a fraction of my complaint. I regret every minute listening to this, despite how wonderful the audiobook narrator is.

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To Sad

Only read this of you like books to end sadly. This should not be considered a romance novel

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not an improvement over Peter Firth's reading

A classic worth multiple readings (I've immersed myself in Hardy this week). The novel and adaptations are ones that I probably would have spurned as a youth (had I known about them); now I appreciate insights into life of Hardy's collected works. Of course, one can hope that naivety would go away, but there are too many Tesses in the world. Now, as for villains, they do exist, but Hardy's stylization of them is doubled in Duff's voicing of Alec; all I can think of is Snidely Whiplash. I liked the Peter Firth version better.

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Amazing

Loved it. Humbling in its beauty. Unexpected ending (I've never seen the movie). A romance...a thriller...a masterpiece.

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A must read!

What an amazing read! My head is still reeling from this book and the unfortunate ending. First, this is a well written book with vivid detail. It is a book I could not put down.

Tess is unfortunately born into poverty, a family too large to support, a father who has grandiose ideas of himself and his hereditary and feels entitled and thus does very little to support the family. It is up to Tess, the eldest daughter to support the family. Her mother encourages her to endear herself to a “wealthy relation” which leads to sweet, innocent Tess’ societal downfall.

Just when you think she can overcome her past and find true happiness, the blows of life keep coming. The ending is not expected.

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Phenomenal narration!

Anne-Marie just brims with compassion. Her amazing voice captures all the emotions throughout the story. So far this has been the only narration capable of rendering Tess alive and relatable. Definitely recommend it for anyone who has not yet been heartbroken by this tragic masterpiece.

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Ugh. This dim witted girl.

You so want to love them but at halfway the main secret is still yet on the tip of her tounge and the simple minded man would interrupt everything. Like hush. Let her tell you. Interesting story tho

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Excellent Performance

I loved this performance. What a sweet and heartbreaking story! Highly recommend this version and the book overall. Makes a person think about what women have endured for centuries.

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  • M. Avery
  • 04-25-20

Thoroughly enjoyed

The struggles and injustice suffered by Tess, and the highs and lows of her unjustly tarnished life make for a fabulous story, some glorious evocative scenes and some heart rending moments for the reader. Loved it!

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  • Bleaden94
  • 12-12-20

Exquisite

A beautiful and moving narration of a wonderful work of literature. Anne Marie Duff gives an exquisite performance of the accents , emotion and songs. Her Tess was vulnerable, naive and resilient

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  • Alison
  • 03-20-21

Almost perfect

Anne-Marie Duff is just brilliant at bringing Tess and her sad story to life. It’s heartbreaking and tough to listen in places, but a wonderful reading.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-02-22

spoilers

It is a work of its time, so I need to give it credit for that. But for me it was so obvious this was a man's narrative, him trying to portray a young woman. A lot of Tess ideas, actions, emotions - this is not how women are. His idea of how a woman feels after being raped is so basic and insulting. Or her behaviour when she meets Alec again, her futile "please stay away". I can promise you, if a Brontë was at the pen the depth of those feelings would be much more apparent. Because, somehow, reading the works of the female authors of classic literature I still understand every single move and emotion that goes through the female characters heads. Here it is a mere reflection of what Tess feelings should be. And I don't mean it should end differently. It can still be a tragic story. I just wish the involuntary femme fatale was really a femme and not a shadow of one.

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  • penelope martin
  • 05-10-22

Anne-Marie Duff makes this

Tess is such a heartrending novel. I read it as a teenager and hadn't been back since, but with a local exhibition based on Tess coming up this was the ideal way to get reaquainted. Anne-Marie Duff's beautiful narration painted the world so well. Thoroughly recommended

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  • Tamtambird
  • 01-29-22

An extraordinary and insightful story

Still relevant and thought provoking, and beautifully read. Through this powerful tale, Hardy presents the injustice and heartbreak of the unequal standards of morality and power between man and woman in the family, the workplace, in relationships, marriage, and in the law. Set against the backdrop of the beginnings of industrialisation in farming, the natural world, rural life and it’s pace, are portrayed, along with Tess, as powerful in integrity and beauty yet vulnerable to powers which will inevitably degrade and destroy them.

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  • Phillippa
  • 01-18-22

Beautifully told and written

I actually listened to this over a long period of time in part but the last two thirds more quickly. It was interesting at all times, was beautifully written and delivered and I enjoyed it immensely, accepting its at times depressing subject matter!

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  • caitlin
  • 12-18-21

An absolute must!

This is an incredible novel and such a shame that it’s prescribed reading for high school children. 15 years after I was forced to read it for school (and didn’t) I have found such an appreciation for this literary masterpiece. It’s by no means a happy story so if you’re looking for a feel good experience, go to Jane Austen instead!

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  • C. A. Whitcher
  • 11-25-21

A must read

A deeply moving, compassionate and beautifully written novel. I finished this in two days. Great performance Anne-Marie Duff.

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  • Kasia
  • 08-20-21

Excellent performance

Excellently written, though a tragic storyline. The performance of the narrator made it a truly fantastic book to listen to.

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  • Karyn
  • 08-09-22

Fabulous

This book was gripping, with an interesting story, great plot and a delightful narration. I do recommend.

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  • Bake.
  • 06-16-22

Excellent but too tragic

My problem with Thomas Hardy in almost all his novels is that he pushes tragedy and human foolishness too far. For this reader, real life has more than enough tragedy without fiction pushing it even further. It might have been more bearable if I hadn't found Angel, Tess's lover, so detestable and undeserving of her affection.
Nevertheless, readers who can stand depressingly tragic tales and want to be reminded of how cruel and unfair this world can be, will find this novel well written and beautifully narrated, if not enjoyable.