In this first volume of his memoirs, then-newly-qualified vet James Herriot arrives in the small Yorkshire village of Darrowby, and he has no idea what to expect. How will he get on with his new boss? The local farmers? And what will the animals think? This program is filled with hilarious and touching tales of the unpredictable Siegfried Farnon, his charming student brother, Tristan, and Herriot's first encounters with a beautiful girl named Helen.
Now as then, All Creatures Great and Small is full of humor, warmth, pathos, drama, and James Herriot's love of life. His journey across the Yorkshire dales, and his encounters with humans and dogs, cows and kittens, are lovingly told by Christopher Timothy with all the fascination, affection and joy that suffuses Dr. Herriot's works.
©1972 by James Herriot; (P)1996 by Audio Renaissance
"One of the funniest and most likeable books around." (Atlantic Monthly)
"If there is any justice, All Creatures Great and Small will become a classic of its kind....With seemingly effortless art, this man tells his stories with perfect timing and optimum scale. Many more famous authors could work for a lifetime and not achieve more flawless literary control." (Chicago Tribune Book World)
"Herriot charms because he delights in life, embraces it with sensitivity and gust, and writes with grace. All Creatures Great and Small may well be the happiest book of the year." (The New York Times Book Review)
This book is an absolute treat! I have listened to it twice, so far. The characters become good friends, and you find yourself wishing to join their life in the Yorkshire Dales! Christopher Timothy's reading of these charming and FUNNY tales is the best...no contest! I wish he would branch out and do more books. I already dread running out of titles in this series.
This book (and shall I say this series?) was a staple when I was growing up. James Herriot has a wonderful way of conveying truths about life, animals, people... that can be grasped by a child without talking down to them... while simultaneously providing nuance and perspective that adults will understand and grasp completely.
Throw in Christopher Timothy's brilliant performance, and you've got a recipe for Chicken Soup for the Reader's Soul. You can read this book in fits and starts and still feel like you haven't missed anything, or you can read it whole in a sitting or two or three and just keep turning pages.
I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of this series!
St. Louis, Missouri
Usually a book this long demands pretty consistent listening. If all the major and minor characters, family connections, plots and subplots, hidden motivations and subtle psychological shadings of, say, Anna Karenina or Lord Jim are to be appreciated—and the shattering denouement satisfactorily shattering—then all those elements need to be uppermost in one’s mind. This can present problems in an audiobook, where leafing back through the last several hundred pages is really not an option.
But for all its substantial length (almost 16 hours), for all its myriad characters and situations, this somewhat fictionalized memoir, though written as a continuous story, is episodic in its construction, with many natural places where, when real life interferes with one’s listening, one can hit pause. Even days afterward, the thread can be picked up again effortlessly with a little rewinding. There’s no need to remember the mysterious postscript in Countess Anastasia’s note to Lady Miriam that you last saw three and a half hours ago in Chapter 7, or recall exactly where the paperknife of Oriental design—one of seven possible murder weapons that could make a wound that narrow—is really hidden. You just keep listening as a leisurely string of loosely related, delightful, poignant or, more often than not, just plain funny episodes involving all creatures great and small unroll before your very ears. It really might be the world's most perfect audiobook.
True, there is character development, a love interest, conflict, successes and failures and an ultimate goal that needs to be achieved—all the elements that go into the construction of a good yarn. But the center of the book seems—at least to me—to be the eventful un-eventfulness of life; the flow of work and seasons and the gradual realization of a young veterinary surgeon (who was simply looking desperately for a job, any job) that he has stumbled into the ideal situation in the ideal country that also happens to be the home of his ideal mate.
Chief among the books many excellences is the complete and utter lack of hokum. In a tale of simple farm folk living their simply country ways, it would be so easy to slide into a sort of dewy-eyed, idealized semi-Soviet Realism. Add the fact that this is the memoir of a man looking back 30-some-odd years and the threat of a heavy Nostalgic Fog rolling in is even greater. Instead we get the Yorkshire Dales farmer and his relations as they were, accent, idiosyncrasies, stinginess, nobility, arrogance, tenacity, warts and all. Siegfried, our hero’s boss, is ultimately loveable (even admirable) for all his maddening habits. And Tristan means well.
Added goose: our reader is Christopher Timothy, the actor who played James Herriot in the classic BBC series. Besides the familiar voice, Timothy is a dab hand at conveying the many accents and personalities that inhabit this book, highland or lowland, drunk or sober, refined or earthy, male or female.
The only downside is due to the age of the recording. It lacks the crispness you expect of audiobooks of more recent vintage. Also, the book is broken into 14 “chapters” each of which contain several actual chapters. Hit the wrong button or accidentally leave your iPod playing on it’s own, and finding your place again can get tricky. Unfortunately, a tentative dip into the next volume reveals a far lower audio quality. But at least in the case under advisement the somewhat mushy, analogue quality of the recording and less-than-logical organization of the material never interfere with the story. And that’s the important thing.
This is a magnificent rendering of one of the most beloved books of my time, if not all time. Christopher Timothy who played Heriot in the charming PBS series based on Heriot's books, gives a virtually perfect reading of this book. Despite the fact that I have read this book, and the subsequent volumes, more times than I can recall (at least 10 probably), I never tire of the stories of Heriot, a young veterinarian and his cases as a newly accredited veterinary surgeon in Depression era Yorkshire. Of course there are a lot of laughs (Tricky Woo is my all time favorite animal star in the series) and a lot of tears (animals who perish from maladies curable by today's antibiotics often), Heriot's genius is to make you see and hear the farmers and townspeople that he had to learn how to work with (he was not from Yorkshire) and of course, most of all, to absolutely adore his partners in the practice, Siegfried and Tristan Farnon. Heriot tells lovely, quick paced, stories that feature many richly drawn characters and there are many quaint, old-fashioned lessons to learn from these tales. Despite the fact that Heriot's books may be largely fictional, it does nothing to detract from the charm and vivacity of the narration. I can not recommend this book strongly enough. I would give it more stars if I could! Enjoy this gem. It will be a book you enjoy many times, I suspect.
At first I thought the pace was rather slow but then I figured out that was the point. A very well-crafted and performed story that got me very involved through to the end. The performance was amazing. The dialect the accents were spot on and made the story come to life. An excellent book.
This book was fun, witty, and very entertaining to listen to. The reader did an excellent job with the various accents and does a surprisingly good impersonation of a drunk person. I absolutely loved listening to the author's stories/life experiences and the ending couldn't have been more satisfying. this book leaves you with a very happy and content feeling when it's done. I really can't say enough good things about this book.
An autobiography, All Creatures Great and Small was written by James Herriot, audiobook narrated by Christopher Timothy, and is close to 16 hours of listening. Narration by Timothy is great, no issues and a pleasant listen.
A Norman Rockwell painting in print, or possibly A Prairie Home Companion radio broadcast, this story tells us of an innocent world cover to cover. No murder, no bad language, no sex, a clean … really clean … story. Depending on perspective, All Creatures Great and Small is young adult, although the story has moments of eloquent prose a seasoned reader will enjoy. Settings and environmental detail is nicely conveyed - you’ll smell the barn.
The story begins early in Jim Herriot’s life as a rural veterinarian and ends with his marriage just prior to WWII. The book is a compilation of short stories, Jim’s adventures as a vet, i.e., birthing pigs and cows, turning a foal in the womb, being “uncle" to a wealthy woman’s Pekinese and pet pig, and eccentric farmers pouring out old wives tales of animal cures. Example: Cut off the tail of a cow to let the worm out. Jim keeps a straight face through such advice if he wants to keep the farmer as a customer.
There are sequels to All Creatures Great and Small, a BBC television series, etc., it’s been around a long time - mid 1970s. A great story for a family read and discussion, or a gift for any animal lover. Just a lovely story. Enjoy.
I have two rescue dogs. One Scottish born husband. And a love of books that goes back to childhood and bookmobiles!
I've loved it in every medium! This now lives in my library in a way that precludes me letting me lend it to someone who forgets to return it!
The narrator reminded me of the voices I heard watching the series on PBS. This vet loved his job...most of the time...freezing snowy nights might stress him out as would cantankerous farmers sometimes. There is humor and sadness as well...as in most lives. And this is his life; a very full life lived in Yorkshire, England, as he joins a practice fresh out vet school.
The story is very positive and heart warming and real. This is the first book in the series which will end up being collected in my Audible.com library.
Yes, I heartily recommend this book for your listening pleasure...listening with you children or grandchildren or other loved one can only enhance your enjoyment.
These are short, pleasant, sometimes funny stories about James Herriot, a Yorkshire vet. I used them to fall asleep at night, but I read them to my kids when they were young and it was a nice way to finish the day.
Mrs. Pumphrey is so funny. She and her little TrickyWoo, the pampered pooch, appears throughout the stories and were very cute.
Amazing accents. You would think there were several people reading.
No, only one short story at at time.
Nothing offensive, no preaching, no foul language, just heart warming stories about a country vet.
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