The Crock of Gold (unabridged)

Audio Sample

James Stephens

The Crock of Gold

Read by Gerry O'Brien


One of the great novels in the Irish comic tradition, The Crock of Gold (1912) consists of six parts. Bringing together pagan gods, policemen, prisoners, leprechauns and animals, the narrative concerns a philosopher and his quest to find the most beautiful woman in the world, Cáitilin Ni Murrachu, who has been abducted by the god Pan. His journey takes him from dark forests to the spectacular heights of pagan gods, as he experiences encounters that will change him forever.

With its unique combination of philosophy and Irish folklore, The Crock of Gold is full of humour, its central themes including the battle of the sexes and the difference between men and women.

The Times – Audiobook of the Week
  • Running Time: 5 h 46 m

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    Digital ISBN:978-1-78198-437-6
    Cat. no.:NA0572
    Produced by:Neil Rosser
    Edited by:Timothy Brown
    Released:March 23
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Audiobook of the Week

In these days of over-hyped and over-performed audiobook disappointments, hurrah for Naxos, the company that resurrects the great books of the past and takes pains to choose appropriate narrators, get pronunciations right and remove multiple takes of the same line that lazy producers sometimes miss.

I had never heard of The Crock of Gold (1912) or of James Stephens (1880–1950); I now know that The Crock of Gold is a fey miracle of satiric humour that frolics along thanks to Gerry O’Brien’s lilting, gusto-filled narration, and that Stephens was a friend of James Joyce, who in 1909 called him ‘the latest Irish genius’ and asked him to finish Finnegans Wake if he couldn’t.

Born in the Dublin slums and committed for begging to the Meath Reform School, Stephens made good – drinking up Irish culture and producing a succession of acclaimed novels and stories. The Crock of Gold is the tale of two wise philosophers, their two wiser wives who hail from the fairy Shee, and their two children, to say nothing of a coven of angry leprechauns in search of their stolen crock of gold and, dancing over all, the great gods Pan and Aengus Og. There are plenty of funny lines and much memorable wisdom. I hope Naxos will record Stephens’s Irish Fairy Tales next.

Christina Hardyment, The Times

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