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Tales of the Five Towns

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LibriVox recording of Tales of the Five Towns, by Arnold Bennett. Read by Martin Clifton. This is a selection of short stories recounting, with gentle satire and tolerant good humour, the small town provincial life at the end of the nineteenth century, based around the six towns in the county of Staffordshire, England, known as the Potteries. Arnold Bennett chose to fiction LibriVox recording of Tales of the Five Towns, by Arnold Bennett. Read by Martin Clifton. This is a selection of short stories recounting, with gentle satire and tolerant good humour, the small town provincial life at the end of the nineteenth century, based around the six towns in the county of Staffordshire, England, known as the Potteries. Arnold Bennett chose to fictionalize these towns by changing their names and omitting one (Fenton) as he apparently felt that “Five Towns” was more euphonious than “Six Towns”. The real town names which are thinly disguised in the novel are: Hanley, Longton, Burslem and Tunstal, the fifth, Stoke became “Knype”. Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) was born in Hanley, the eldest child of a pawnbroker who subsequently became a solicitor. Bennett’s father wished him to become a solicitor too, but he failed his university entrance examination and instead became a solicitor's clerk, at first in his father's office and, from 1889, in London. He showed early promise as a writer winning a writing competition in a local newspaper as a boy. In London he began to see his writing published in popular magazines and he joined the staff of Woman magazine in 1893. His first novel to be published, A Man from the North, appeared in 1898 and its success allowed him to give up other work to concentrate on writing. His first short story (A Letter Home) was written in 1893 and appears in Tales of the Five Towns. (Summary by Martin Clifton) This audio is part of the collection: The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection It also belongs to collections: Audio Books & Poetry; Community Audio Artist/Composer: Arnold Bennett Date: 2009-07-15 Source: Librivox recording of a public-domain text Keywords: librivox; audiobook; short stories; potteries Creative Commons license: Public Domain


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LibriVox recording of Tales of the Five Towns, by Arnold Bennett. Read by Martin Clifton. This is a selection of short stories recounting, with gentle satire and tolerant good humour, the small town provincial life at the end of the nineteenth century, based around the six towns in the county of Staffordshire, England, known as the Potteries. Arnold Bennett chose to fiction LibriVox recording of Tales of the Five Towns, by Arnold Bennett. Read by Martin Clifton. This is a selection of short stories recounting, with gentle satire and tolerant good humour, the small town provincial life at the end of the nineteenth century, based around the six towns in the county of Staffordshire, England, known as the Potteries. Arnold Bennett chose to fictionalize these towns by changing their names and omitting one (Fenton) as he apparently felt that “Five Towns” was more euphonious than “Six Towns”. The real town names which are thinly disguised in the novel are: Hanley, Longton, Burslem and Tunstal, the fifth, Stoke became “Knype”. Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) was born in Hanley, the eldest child of a pawnbroker who subsequently became a solicitor. Bennett’s father wished him to become a solicitor too, but he failed his university entrance examination and instead became a solicitor's clerk, at first in his father's office and, from 1889, in London. He showed early promise as a writer winning a writing competition in a local newspaper as a boy. In London he began to see his writing published in popular magazines and he joined the staff of Woman magazine in 1893. His first novel to be published, A Man from the North, appeared in 1898 and its success allowed him to give up other work to concentrate on writing. His first short story (A Letter Home) was written in 1893 and appears in Tales of the Five Towns. (Summary by Martin Clifton) This audio is part of the collection: The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection It also belongs to collections: Audio Books & Poetry; Community Audio Artist/Composer: Arnold Bennett Date: 2009-07-15 Source: Librivox recording of a public-domain text Keywords: librivox; audiobook; short stories; potteries Creative Commons license: Public Domain

30 review for Tales of the Five Towns

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    What a find Arnold Bennett is! This book of short stories is humorous, poignant, gripping, and occasionally tragic. Bennett writes with charm and good humor, but his observations about human behavior and foibles are astute (and trenchant). He also casts a benevolent and understanding eye on all his characters: even the antagonists (one could scarcely call them villains) are shown to be acting out of ignorance or misunderstanding, or from plausible (if misguided) motives. Just as his characters a What a find Arnold Bennett is! This book of short stories is humorous, poignant, gripping, and occasionally tragic. Bennett writes with charm and good humor, but his observations about human behavior and foibles are astute (and trenchant). He also casts a benevolent and understanding eye on all his characters: even the antagonists (one could scarcely call them villains) are shown to be acting out of ignorance or misunderstanding, or from plausible (if misguided) motives. Just as his characters aren't all good or all bad, his story endings don't go where the conventional set-ups seem to point. Instead they ring true with a stamp of life and character that marks Bennett as a true master. The final story in the collection, "A Letter Home," is brief but packs quite a wallop! This edition of the book was a LibriVox, free audiobook. The reader, Martin Clifton, does a wonderful job in his presentation, allowing Bennett's humorous style to shine through.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    These stories made for good listening on Librivox, with Martin Clifton's narration. My favorites were "The Hungarian Rhapsody" and "Nocturne at the Majestic." These stories made for good listening on Librivox, with Martin Clifton's narration. My favorites were "The Hungarian Rhapsody" and "Nocturne at the Majestic."

  3. 5 out of 5

    David James

    Bennett, Arnold. Tales of the Five Towns Arnold Bennett is a great teller of tales about the Five Towns. He manages to create reader interest in ordinary people going abour their everyday lives. Of course there is usually something weird about the central character or characters, such as not speaking to each other for ten years like the Hessian brothers or being obsessed with getting rid of a valuable portrait like Sir Jehosohaphat Dain. In his stories, unlike his more celebrated novels, the plo Bennett, Arnold. Tales of the Five Towns Arnold Bennett is a great teller of tales about the Five Towns. He manages to create reader interest in ordinary people going abour their everyday lives. Of course there is usually something weird about the central character or characters, such as not speaking to each other for ten years like the Hessian brothers or being obsessed with getting rid of a valuable portrait like Sir Jehosohaphat Dain. In his stories, unlike his more celebrated novels, the plot is what creates reader interest. There is always a trick Bennett has up his sleeve to make you smile and one doesn’t question too closely motivation and the reader is led by the nose towards what seems the only possible conclusion. Good light and rather old-fashioned reading, with a four-square narrator always on hand to reassure and entertain you.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    As I know the area well, the tales are of special interest and I have thoroughly enjoyed deciphering the place names such as Knype (Stoke), Oldcastle (Newcastle-under-Lyme) etc. The tales seem to delight in human nature, and often have a resonance in modern times.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Val

    This is a series of short stories set in the Staffordshire Potteries towns, peopled by a rich cast of businessmen, shopkeepers, mill and pottery owners and fading gentility. Arnold Bennett was a very popular author in his day and these stories show why.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zee

    Could he be a cynical, sometimes morose O. Henry? I must admit that a few of the stories didn't make sense to me - like a few Far Side or New Yorker cartoons - but the wit, humor, irony, and clever plot was always good. My favorite book thus far by Bennett remains The Card. Could he be a cynical, sometimes morose O. Henry? I must admit that a few of the stories didn't make sense to me - like a few Far Side or New Yorker cartoons - but the wit, humor, irony, and clever plot was always good. My favorite book thus far by Bennett remains The Card.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mary Durrant

    Lovely tales from the author of Clayhanger.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sacapsie

    I discovered Arnold Bennett through the Librivox recordings of the incomparable Andy Minter. After The Old Wives' Tale and The Card, which I will review separately sometime, I decided to check out the short stories collection. But I found this to be a bit of a drag. I wonder if he just isn't a short story guy. Some people require the long form genre to express themselves. With this collection, I found my mind wandering, and sometimes a story would end abruptly and another would start and I would I discovered Arnold Bennett through the Librivox recordings of the incomparable Andy Minter. After The Old Wives' Tale and The Card, which I will review separately sometime, I decided to check out the short stories collection. But I found this to be a bit of a drag. I wonder if he just isn't a short story guy. Some people require the long form genre to express themselves. With this collection, I found my mind wandering, and sometimes a story would end abruptly and another would start and I would barely notice. I listened to this as an audio book, and looking at the titles of the stories now, I can hardly remember what some of these were about. So, all in all, inoffensive but not a good way to get introduced to the author. If you want a good first read by Bennett, I would start with the Old Wives' Tale.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pat

  11. 4 out of 5

    Angie Page

  12. 4 out of 5

    James

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alan

  15. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Hutchinson

  18. 5 out of 5

    AbZeroNow

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  20. 5 out of 5

    stephen shaw

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ciprian Pantea

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carla

  23. 5 out of 5

    Peter K Giblin

  24. 5 out of 5

    Frances Bushrod

  25. 4 out of 5

    Black Pobble

  26. 5 out of 5

    Penny Vincent

  27. 5 out of 5

    Janis

  28. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Sorabji

  29. 4 out of 5

    R.J. Lynch

  30. 5 out of 5

    Quazelle

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