The Absentee

Read by Bruce Pirie

(4.5 stars; 44 reviews)

Published in 1812, “The Absentee” by Maria Edgeworth examines social injustice in 19th-century Britain. At that time, the management of many Irish estates suffered from the absenteeism of their Anglo-Irish landlords.

We meet Lord and Lady Clonbrony. Lord Clonbrony struggles with debt, while Lady Clonbrony tries to shed her Irish connections and earn status in London’s high society (known as “the ton.”) Meanwhile, their son, Lord Colambre, is wary of the entanglements of that society and escapes to the family estate in Ireland, where he discovers the abuses that have arisen in the family’s absence.

Maria Edgeworth was a pioneer of realism in fiction, and one of the most successful and popular novelists of her time. She offered satirical portraits of society manners and sympathetic treatment of regional life. Her work won admiration from authors such as Jane Austen and Sir Walter Scott. “The Absentee” is named in the reference list “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.” - Summary by Bruce Pirie (11 hr 21 min)


Chapter 1 27:58 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 2 38:46 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 3 36:48 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 4 36:02 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 5 1:03:15 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 6 49:02 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 7 36:24 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 8 24:57 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 9 39:57 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 10 30:44 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 11 25:29 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 12 33:24 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 13 48:53 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 14 1:00:04 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 15 30:05 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 16 53:18 Read by Bruce Pirie
Chapter 17 46:03 Read by Bruce Pirie


Beautifully written in the style of a half century earlier.

(5 stars)

The book begins like a typical early 19th century novel but picks up pase once our hero goes to Ireland. The person who only read to chapter three should really reconsider reading further.

stick with it.

(5 stars)

A slow start is full of clever , amusing satire exposing the foibles of the time. The reviewer who could not get past the prejudices must remember, these also were of the time - and held up to scorn. The story gathers pace ,with well drawn characters and a believable plot. A brilliant narration by Bruce.

A Pleasure

(4 stars)

Feel good story through and through. However, don’t expect to be intellectually challenged. Relax and enjoy this simple tale. It is rendered doubly enjoyable by the splendid narration by Bruce Pirie. Pirie is on my short list of all-time fav readers. Check out his flawless reading of Balzac’s works, especially Cousin Bette and Eugenie Grandet.

still trying

(3 stars)

Maybe I’m tired but I can’t get past chapter 3. The narration is flawless but the story is a bit slow. I agree with the first commentary that one won’t be intellectually challenged. It’s the first time I’ve ever abandoned a book!

(4 stars)

I am a a fan of George Eliot and Jane Austen. This was a great read. Yes, the author has a point of view but the plot, settings and characters are very good.

(4.5 stars)

A surprisingly good story. I like the way it really explains the absentee problem in Ireland. It gets a little overly sentimental at the end.

(4 stars)

A nice light listen with some appropriate social commentary. Didn't love the prejusice, but it's part of the time. Excelllent reading!

excellent reading of a fun Austen-type story.

(5 stars)