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)
I have loved the James Herriot collection for years and am now ecstatic to have it on my iPod. All his stories elicit a 'feel good' feeling for the listener with his brilliant writing and subject matter. Add Christopher Timothy's ability to make it all come to life in audio and you've got a winning combination over all.
Herriot's books take you back to a simpler way of life. His love of animals shines through all his books. And the narrator is PERFECT!! I was sad to have them end. Be sure and listen to the other books in the series
I have always enjoyed James Harriot, as his observations on human life are often so profound, and the humor and compassion he conveys in his writing is a joy. In the case of these audio books, the narrator is gifted, which only adds to the enjoyment.
I have read and listened to all of Herriot’s books and loved them all. Some of his stories are funny, some sad, all are deeply humane and none are boring. The characters of Herriot’s stories – gruff farmers, eccentric and unpredictable Siegfried, charming Tristan, warmhearted Helen, and of course animals and nature – are all entertaining and full of life. Herriot’s writing is humorous and sympathetic. Timothy is an excellent reader. His reading is the best illustration to the books: different voices and accents make all the characters come alive. Timothy makes the listener see as well as hear. This production is one of the best audiobooks I have come across (on the par with Cecil’s reading of Wodehouse).
still tilting at windmills, after all of these years.
if you've got a soft heart for the countryside, the character of the land and its inhabitants, be they human or not, or if you ever wanted to be a vet when you were growing up, you will find this series remarkable.
the reading was excellent and format two worked for me.
i'll be collecting the entire series. they are the kind of stories you can come back to in time and the kind of stories that are a pleasure to introduce to children.
donald t wardlow
This is the first of an awesome series. When I first read it, when it was on the bestseller list, the narration was done by an American. Even with that handicap, these stories made me laugh, cry, and think. They're back, and better than ever, with Christopher Timothy reading them. He excels at the voices, and well he should--having portrayed Herriott on TV. Time hasn't taken the fun out of these books, and neither has an unflattering biog of Herriott done after his death in 1995, although its author certainly tried to wreck the fun of these books. The stories bring happiness to even the most harsh experiences. The tales of failed dates with his dream girl would give heart to a man facing those struggles in these modern times. The tales of an outsider becoming an insider in an often clanish community are a pure delight. Read on, and enjoy.
I would definitely recommend this story to a friend especially a young adult, a glimpse at life in the 30's English country of Yorkshire.
This is a wonderful story that takes you back to a simpler time. I laughed and cried as I listened, and felt so drawn into the story. James, Sigfried, and Tristan become so alive that you expect to see them at the Vet Hospital here in town. I love all the characters that live in their little town. This is a peaceful story to listen to during our hectic, intense, uber electronic age.
The beautiful descriptions of the country side and the eccentric characters that live there.
James Herriot, Vet surgeon
film already done but try," Bring a bucket of warm water, soap and a towel, I'm going in"...
Christopher Timothy is fantastic as always, and makes the book come alive. My only problem with the recording (and the others in the series) is that the narration is punctuated with musical interludes, ostensibly at dramatic moments. Instead of enhancing the listening experience as I'm sure it was intended to do, I found this extremely distracting, because the music (sometimes of poor sound quality) interrupted the flow of the story.
James Herriot's books are, for me, the ultimate in comfort books. Which is odd, it occurred to me while listening to this audiobook; there's blood and gore and uterine explorations and knackerings and death and cruelty… There is casual mention of deeds and practices which would turn PETA's collective hair white. But I've been reading these books since I was about ten. (Which, considering the language, is surprising. Them Yorkshire farmers were salty, mind.) And then there was the wonderful tv series.
That last is what made the audiobook ideal: the reader is Christopher Timothy, who played James in the series (alongside my beloved Peter Davison as Tristan). I think he's one of those I'll follow anywhere, listen to anything he reads. He's perfect. Not just because I know him so well in the role already – he is a warm, funny, compassionate reader, wonderful at the accents and natural in his delivery.
Just like Alf Wight, better known as James Herriot. The things I mentioned before – well, they were simply a part of life on a Yorkshire farm, in a Yorkshire veterinary practice in the first half of the 20th century. It was as it was, there were no better treatments than some of the medieval remedies used, and for the most part animals were well kept because they were vital to the livelihood of their owners. There is a surprising lack of sentiment overall, whether the animal in question is a pig or a puppy, a horse or a heifer.
Which isn't to say the stories are strictly cool and clinical – not by a long mark. Tricki Woo is the perfect embodiment of the series as a whole. The pampered Pekingese "son" of a rich widow, he is a good-natured little furball whose ailments tend to stem mainly from that pampering. And when he goes flop-bott or shows other symptoms which alarm his Mrs. Pumphrey, "Uncle Herriot" is summoned on to the scene at once. The reward for James's promptitude is baskets from London at Christmas (I can't even fathom how expensive that would be, sent all the way to the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930's) along with other periodic delicacies – so James, naturally, has a mercenary fondness for the Peke. But he is also genuinely fond of the dog for his own self, as a personality, and of Mrs. Pumphrey as well. And balancing it all out like a splash of lemon juice is Mrs. Pumphrey's chauffeur, responsible for the spasmodic bouts of exercise she penitently orders, along with the role of body servant to the dog, and he loathes Tricki with a deep and burning passion. (And when the pig Nugent comes along, there is much hilarity.)
So, yes, there is some cringing as we visit the knacker's yard, or when some archaic remedy is brought out. But it merely acts in the same lemon juice fashion on the warmth found in the daily interactions with the farmers and peers and kids with their goldfish, the dogs and cats and horses and pigs and cows and sheep, the slowly disappearing way of life of the Dales farmers. The madness that is the Farnon brothers; the surely-hopeless love James has for a client's daughter – eccentric as it all can be, it still rings true, and that's the key. The book is, to co-opt what they might say about a particularly nice cob, as sound as a bell.
So, whether it should be a comfort book or not, it got me through a particularly bad night recently. The very definition of a comfort book. I love these stories.
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