Devouring literature and having fun along the way. :] Well, for the most part.
I didn't think I could enjoy reading Gulliver's Travels more than I did until I heard this narration! If you are planning to read this novel, DEFINITELY download this one--the narration is crisp and pure, the character is well-developed, and the pronunciation is fantastic. I loved the fourth journey most if not for the story for David Pierce's awesome use of the foreign language.
David Hyde Pierce did a fabulous narration of this classic book. I read about half of Gulliver's Travels when I was in college and was pleased to have finally read the book in its entirety. A real insight into political and moral issues as seen by Swift.
Sad that most people will know about Gulliver's first two adventures, but not the rest. Pierce's reading of the Houyhnhnms' language is fantastic. I don't think I would have enjoyed reading this neighing language, but he brings it to life.
A must read for classic enthusiasts.
I've always loved the story of Gulliver' Travels, having fallen in love with a movie version as a young child.
But I hadn't read the book in ages. The story is still great, but David Hyde Pierce's narration is nigh perfect. He has a great combination of arrogance, dry sarcasm, and moments of obsequiousness that the story calls for.
He also does an excellent job pronouncing all those made up words. I would've been reduced to giggle fits.
Tried this book in grade school! Wasn't I precocious? Finally came back and must say this is a great way to experience it. Hyde Pierce is the only narrator to try. He outshines every other option on this or I am sure, any other site. He is perfect in the role and I thank him for his glorius performance. The book gets wearisome near the end, going on a bit long, but I listened almost straight through in 2 sittings, which is a little rare for me. Funny and witty and entertaining. A wholly original idea in its time I expect and one that creators of every kind are still ripping off hundreds of years later. Must have caused a sensation when it came out and rightly so. Still, this will come off as dry to many who do not like older books or subtle styles of humor. Its not hit you in the face with a fish funny or anything. The jokes don't pinch you, you have to pay attention and think a little.
Love fiction and non-fiction, love Audible!
This performance is done in great style, and it makes you believe, that there is actually a man telling his own story about his adventures, not an actor performing.
The author/narrator, his wit and genuine emotions make him truly alive.
David Hyde Pierce narrates the story as genuine as a real adventurer would be telling it to his friends. Not to mention he has a great voice!
The last part of the book where Gulliver meets horse-like creatures and describes their most human way of living.
I'd always heard that Gulliver's Travels was one of the great satiric works of English literature, but if that's the case, I don't really understand the word. I had always thought satire was a gentle, humourous, and sometimes even affectionate skewering of the status quo, but this book is actually often rather angry and ham-fisted. Then again, sometimes it is humourous to the point of almost being farcical. Either way, it's not the children's book that some might be expecting.
Regardless of whether I'd call it satire, I did enjoy it - and I'm glad I listened to it rather than read it, as I think some of the language would have made it a very difficult read. It's a classic for many reasons, and it is referenced time and time again in popular culture, in whole or in part. Many know the basics of the 4 travel stories that make up this book - one to a land of miniature people, one to a land of gigantic people, one to a land led by a floating city with emphasis on math and music, and one to a land of rationality and reason presided over by equines, not humans. Mostly, I believed they allowed Swift an opportunity to lampoon all the parts of his society that he wished to insult, but in a more acceptable manner than shouting it out on street corners.
David Hyde Pierce did a wonderful job, not only in making some of the imaginary language understandable rather than distracting, but also in making the events seem more plausible than they otherwise might be in print and in making the sometimes long and drawn-out descriptions more palatable. Sadly, it took a while before I stopped thinking of Niles Crane narrating a story with his brother as the protagonist, but that fault is solely my own and not a problem with his narration.
If I had listened to a chapter a day this would perhaps have made a better listening experience.
The pace of this book is very slow. This is more of a satire of his time than the adventure I have seen in the movies.
Without David Hyde Pierce's performance this book would be unlistenable. He brings the story to life.
The only redeeming quality is David Hyde Pierce's performance. Just listening to his performance is enjoyable, if only I could tune out the book...
I am not British, so I am not an authority on this, but David's accent sounds spot on to me. His reading never gets tiring, his intonation is varied and beautiful, and his inflection is just right. I listened in 1.5x, and easily heard everything. It was ten hours and I could listen to him for ten hours more.
As for the story, it's a classic, and has been around nearly 300 years, so of course it gets five stars. That said, listening to it (while doing housework and yard work) was definitely easier than sitting down to read it. I would also say that since this book is a travel log, with many long descriptions, not all of which are extremely scintillating, it is a better book for listening to while doing chores than while riding in the car.
Gulliver's Travels was written prior to when English literature did a lot of dialog, so he only had to vary his voice once or twice when a character was speaking. However, he does read a rather long-winded description of nautical maneuvers which he reads quickly, deftly, and quite comically. At the end of it, I thought, Well Done!!
10 hours is a long sitting. :) Like I said in my main comment, this isn't really a road trip book; it's more of a mow-the-lawn book.
This book did very little for me in high school, so when it was offered as a Daily Deal in July of last year I leapt at the chance to see if several decades of experience in the world would change my tepid adolescent reaction. It is, after all, one of our Classics, a work that needs to be in everyone’s mental arsenal. The adolescent me was vapid and shallow. Surely, I’d get more out of the experience now.
Nope. I’m still as vapid and shallow as ever.
Yes, I “get” the book. That’s the whole problem. Gulliver’s Travels is one of those books whose point is so obvious that the reader (or listener) realizes very early on that that copy of Cliff’s Notes won’t be necessary. Yes, we humans are horrible, contradictory creatures worthy of ridicule. Our manners and mores can be held up for constant criticism. Our wars are nothing more than wastes of resources. Our pride is pointless. The grandest among us is nothing more than a Lilliputian or Yahoo in disguise. And to make the thing even more hopelessly horrible Gulliver, in his final contempt for his own species, becomes even more contemptible than you or me.
Gullible Gulliver is Everyman, taking in all he sees and hears uncritically, much as I did in my first Political Science class in high school. I was by turns a dedicated Hobbesian, a committed Marxist, a zealous Jeffersonian, depending on what we happened to be reading that week. In Gulliver’s case, “we” (you and me, the reader or listener) get the ironies, but the pleasure derived from the exercise soon palls.
There is also some annoying Enlightenment oversimplification at work here, especially in matters of religion. The essential dispute between Protestants and Catholics—the different understandings of Jesus’ words, “This is my body”—is lampooned as a disagreement about the best way to attack a soft-boiled egg. As silly and pointless as many human activities can admittedly be, this isn’t one of them. Yes, I enjoyed the picture of Balnibarbi’s blind pursuit of “science” as possibly Swift’s most “relevant” commentary for our Modern Times (a passage that probably provokes the scientifically-minded as much as the Big-and-Little-Endians chafed me). Swift seems to be criticizing everything and defending nothing—except possibly human reason. But by the end we humans are revealed as nothing but Yahoos in fancy dress.
Maybe that’s what’s at the heart of my dislike of this book—the sense in the end that nothing really matters. Certainly that’s how Gulliver feels by the end. Cast out of Houyhnhnm society on the charge that he is nothing more than a dressed-up Yahoo, he holds no grudge but accepts their verdict with nary a shadow of resentment. In fact, he spends the last pages pining for their society and counting the ways that England falls short of that equine paradise. Maybe I do need some Cliff’s Notes after all, because I really have no idea how I am supposed to react. Is Gulliver a complete fool? Are the just criticisms of society made throughout the book to be believed? Has Gulliver just taken them too far? Unfortunately, after contemplating these questions for a few minutes I have to admit I don’t really care.
Even David Hyde Pierce’s performance is something of a disappointment. An actor who could wring the last fluid ounce of humor out of the briefest remark on “Frasier”, his effort here seems lackluster. Maybe Swift’s writing gave him nothing to hold on to (a distinct possibility). Or, maybe he was just out of sympathy with the book, too.
This is great piece of education on all matters political and moral for Yahoos, some of which style themselves Humans, of older ages. The narration conveys the feelings and points of the travelogue so well that it is hard to imagine any other in roll. He speaks excellently for a Yahoo.