Voltaire’s pioneering work of dark humor is at turns mordant and fantastic, dystopian yet comedic. Candide has staked its spot at the intersection of philosophy and folklore. Raised on the altruism that "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds", the antihero Candide endures war, natural disaster, and forced servitude along his heedless journey. Actor Donal Donnelly’s silky baritone provides a fitting suitor for this fast-paced, satirical allegory. As Donnelly built a reputable film career with roles in The Godfather trilogy and The Dead, he quietly put together an impressive résumé in the emergent field of audiobook performance. Recorded in 1981, Donnelly’s Candide stands the test of time: The Irishman’s wry but eloquent delivery befits the baroque fatalism of Voltaire’s misadventure.
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This classic by Voltaire is wonderful satire. Candide, the young illegitimate nephew of a German baron, is taught by his teacher/philosopher Pangloss that this world is ?the best of all possible worlds.? Candide falls in love with Cunegonde, the baron?s young daughter. When their love is discovered, Candide is expelled from his home, and the fun starts. The entire novel is then consumed with tongue-in-cheek melodrama of Candide?s worldwide attempt to find and marry Cunegonde, who is, of course, constantly on the move.
Early on in the story we realize that the important aspects of Voltaire?s novel are not the plot?s details but the higher themes: the ?real-world? tragedy which disproves Pangloss? initial optimistic teachings, the hypocrisy of the day?s religious theologians, and the inability of money to solve problems. Voltaire?s wit shines in his masterpiece, and while this book is not for young children, it does have broad appeal, especially due to its short length.
Reader Donal Donnelly does a good job of characterizing the voices, especially the sleazy and decrepit characters. Donnelly?s British accent proves to be very entertaining and a joy to listen to.
If you've not read this already, run (don't walk) to get yourself a copy. Voltaire wrote it 250 years ago and it doesn't appear to have aged much since (I was laughing out loud on the subway). Although it may offend the sensibilities of some (lots of body language; lots of anti-clericalism; lots of blood and guts and rape and pillaging; satirical and hilarious. No wonder they didn't have us read him in my suburban High School.
The reader is very good. The story is wonderful. One of my favorite audible books. Candide takes readers half way around the world and back while cheerfully suffering one misadventure after another.
Humor generally does not do well across the ages,
and this book is a perfect example.
It does have some good fun poking dark humor at
the Catholic church and the Jesuits in paticular.
It also has some funny 'Pythonesque" moments in
revolt against the right of Kings.
Over all though, much of the humor falls flat,
and it was a struggle to finish.
Worst "classic" I ever read. I tried to rate it "no stars" but the program demands at least one. Those who think this is a satiric, intelligent or important book probably also love the cut and color of the emporer's new clothes. Would any of you like to buy a bridge?
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