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 (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!
There is nothing better than a good book!
Where do I begin?!?! James Herriot's words and experiences are brought to vivid life by the flawless and brilliant narration of Christopher Timothy! I have never been so captivated! Timothy's spot-on vocals left me awestruck- he truly captures Herriot's sharp wit and genuine love of all creatures great and small!
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 has been one of my favorite books ever since I discovered the story on the PBS story of the same name. The narrator played the role of James Herriot in the series and the characters come to life once again in this audible book. Siegfried and his younger brother, Tristan, are constantly at each other over some indiscretion that Tristan has done or that Siegfried perceives he did. It is a humorous and heartwarming story about the hill country of England back before WWII and then again after WWII when the vets return to continue their practice. The dells of the Yorkshire area of England are described in such detail that you can almost reach out and touch the animals and see the ragged clothing and scowling faces of the farmers. The sequel is just as good. It is not often that you find someone who is a vet and cares for animals also well versed in writing the feelings of the creatures that he treats. James Herriot was a special kind of vet and his books are special stories that should not be missed in text or in audible form. Do yourself a favor and get this wonderful book set for your library.
We loved the BBC (I assume) series from the Herriot books. Timothy's voice is Herriot's voice. The production is superb and a wonderful reminder to pay attention for wonder and joy.
I have loved this book since I first read it in my early teens. It was the primary driver that got me interested in being a veterinarian, and I now have quotes from the books and the author himself on the walls of my veterinary hospital. This audiobook even includes music from the old TV episodes. For years I have wanted original hard copies of the original books, but now I may just satisfy myself with these audiobooks. At least they won't just end up collecting dust on a shelf since I can listen to them in the car, and elsewhere.
author, women's aviation
I've loved this story since I first viewed it on TV years ago. The best as an audio book as well! Pure enjoyment!
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.
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