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Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce Audiobook

Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce

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Audible Editor Reviews

Gulliver’s encounters with fantastic peoples and creatures - from the small-statured Lilliputians to the stargazing Liputians - reach to the far corners of the world. As narrator, David Hyde Pierce wonderfully captures the wit and irony of this much-loved classic. Despite Gulliver’s detailed, and sometimes cumbersome, descriptions of strange lands and their inhabitants, Pierce doesn’t miss a beat. His melodic voice wraps perfectly around Swift’s eighteenth-century language. His pronunciations of the imaginative languages are delightful, especially the neighing expressions of the Houyhnhnms, a utopian society of horses. Pierce’s consistently matter-of-fact tone fits Swift’s own. His reading highlights the author’s humor and sarcasm, pulling the listener into this fantastic journey.

Publisher's Summary

Four-time Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce is famous for playing the lovably self-important Dr. Niles Crane in the hit TV series Frasier. Now, he brings the same wit and charming arrogance to his Signature Classics performance of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

More than just a mock travel book and fabulous adventure, Gulliver’s Travels is a character study and social satire that skewers politics, science, religion, philosophy, and pretentiousness with a bite and resonance that remains as fresh today as the day it was published. Maybe that’s why it hasn’t been out of print in nearly 300 years.

Set sail with David Hyde Pierce for a smart, fun, new Gulliver’s Travels experience that’s unlike any other. And stay tuned for more one-of-a-kind performances from actors Leelee Sobiesky, Casey Affleck, Tim Curry, and more, only from Audible Signature Classics.

Listen to more Audible Signature Classics.

Public Domain (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Despite Gulliver’s detailed, and sometimes cumbersome, descriptions of strange lands and their inhabitants, Pierce doesn’t miss a beat. His melodic voice wraps perfectly around Swift’s eighteenth-century language. His pronunciations of the imaginative languages are delightful, especially the neighing expressions of the Houyhnhnms, a utopian society of horses. In a book in which the author’s voice comes through on every page, Pierce’s consistently matter-of-fact tone fits Swift’s own. His reading highlights the author’s humor and sarcasm, pulling the listener into this fantastic journey." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (1345 )
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4.3 (1094 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Calliope 11-11-13
    Calliope 11-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    519
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    "Satire? Farce? Vitriol?"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sunflowers 11-22-12
    Sunflowers 11-22-12 Member Since 2013

    cat lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    "Great performance, dull book"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If I had listened to a chapter a day this would perhaps have made a better listening experience.


    What was most disappointing about Jonathan Swift’s story?

    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.


    What does David Hyde Pierce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Without David Hyde Pierce's performance this book would be unlistenable. He brings the story to life.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    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...


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    traveler 09-02-16
    traveler 09-02-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Classic political and humanist satire"

    Swift not only skewers the politics of his times, principally the Whig Parties, but through his travels offers many pointed observations on human behavior that still applies today. I don't think he's necessarily a misanthrope but offers hope in the end to see the good in humanity as well. That's a lesson for us even today where fear and hope are contenders in our political elections and each of us must decide whether to see the best or worst in our natures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Winston Smith 06-24-16 Member Since 2014
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    3
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    "Brilliantly read for the modern listener"
    If you could sum up Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce in three words, what would they be?

    Lucid, Brilliant, Timeless


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce?

    Toward the end of the story, Gulliver launches into a hilarious tirade against the legal profession - lawyers and judges. At least as funny and on-target in the 21st century as it must have been in the early 18th century.


    What about David Hyde Pierce’s performance did you like?

    He reads very clearly for the modern reader. He knows exactly where and how to place emphasis in each sentence so that you have no trouble following along, even though the style of English is formally rather old fashioned. He also has a great comic style, bringing out the wry humor for maximum effect. Modern readers should have no worries about whether they will enjoy this reading.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was stunned that I waited so long in my life to read this book. I should have read it forty years ago.


    Any additional comments?

    There is a reason why this book is still in print after three hundred years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tanya Dohoney 06-04-16 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The excellent origin of political satire"

    Outstanding rendition of a classic that is as compelling now as ever before . . . Thanks, Audible!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-26-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
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    6
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    "Excellent Narration"

    This is easily one of the finest narrations of a book I have ever had the pleasure to listen too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cohl6 05-21-16
    Cohl6 05-21-16
    ratings
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    4
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    "David Hyde Pierce is Amazing"
    What made the experience of listening to Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce the most enjoyable?

    I don't watch much TV, so I didn't recognize the name of the narrator at the outset. I assumed, judging from his absolutely perfect delivery and performance, that he must be a British Shakespearean actor of great renown, one of those with equal mastery over drama and humor. I looked him up afterwards to find out what other books he's narrated, and was startled to find out that he is an American TV actor.
    Besides this, Mr. Pierce has only narrated children's books, which is quite a disappointment. I hope he does more adult book narration in the near future.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd 04-28-16
    Todd 04-28-16 Member Since 2015
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    10
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    "must read"

    This book is almost 300 years old and a great classic. I would recommend it to anyone. And the former Dr Crane does fantastic reading of the satire.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph 04-03-16
    Joseph 04-03-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superb narration"

    Mr. Pierce did a tremendous job of reading this classic. The Dean would have approved. Well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bg 03-13-16
    bg 03-13-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Dull"

    I bought this because of the narrator but it is dull dull dull. No inflection in his voice, no emotion whatsoever. I couldn't get past the halfway mark. This is a classic I had never read and I am sorry this is the version I chose and that I waited too long to read it so I can't return it now!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Ruth
    Brockley, London, United Kingdom
    2/13/11
    Overall
    "Lively and unusual"

    I chose this audiobook because I took advantage of the 'free first chapter' offer and then couldn't resist getting the rest. I had read a child's version of Gulliver's Travels when I was about seven, and although I enjoyed it at the time, I've often wondered what the original is like.

    And it's great! Most people know about Lilliput etc, but the rest makes for just as compulsive listening - if not more so. It was both funny, clever and thought provoking. It is obvious that the book makes many political points which will be most meaningful to those with the appropriate historical knowledge (which I don't really have), but even so I found the humour and sharpness in it very effective and, interestingly, several of the comments seemed pertinent to our laws/politicians etc today!

    I thought it was superbly read, even though the English accent as portrayed by an American was slightly odd at times. But that didn't matter at all as it was read in such a lively and spirited manner. And his mastery of the many, many nonsense names made me want to laugh/cheer out loud! If you do choose this book, make sure you stick it to the end as the reading of the last section is brilliant. Full marks, I really enjoyed it.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
    2/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Simply brilliant."

    David Hyde Pierce brings this famous title alive with his narration. Hard to believe this was written so many years ago. As relevant now as it ever was. It should be required reading for everyone.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • JBW
    7/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Excellent Novel - essential reading for all"

    Excellent Novel - essential reading for all

    Very well narrated - a true classic

    Most enjoyable

    JBW

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Los Gallardos, Spain
    12/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great stuff well read"

    David Hp has the perfect voice for this story. An elegant sneer that keeps the story rolling.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Cliff
    Frinton on Sea, United Kingdom
    1/23/13
    Overall
    "A True Classic"

    Evocatively written. The style and reader are beautifully matched. So much more to it than an old book for kids - which is what I have always thought it was.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    Saffron Walden, United Kingdom
    10/21/12
    Overall
    "Highly enjoyable"

    Really enjoyed this reading. 'Niles Crane' makes an excellent narrator, although his fake posh English accent sometimes slips up. Had never read the story of Gulliver before, and think that listening to it probably added an edge to the irony and veiled sarcasm which reading may not have. Thoroughly recommended

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    UK
    1/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "DHP's accent is a distraction"
    What would have made Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce better?

    The performance would be much improved by David Hyde Pierce *not* adopting a faux English accent. For one thing the accent he tries to emulate is what I would call "Oxford English", which is not really appropriate for Swift (nor for Gulliver, who is meant to hail from Nottingham). And for another I'm afraid the quite frequent interpolation of a somewhat different accent (Yorkshire?) into occasional syllables means the performance just gets in the way of the text. I enjoy Mr. Pierce as a character actor but someone should disabuse him of the notion that he can carry an extended pastiche like this for very long. I gave up after 2 chapters.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce?

    Didn't get far enough to have an opinion.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The shaky attempt at an English accent makes the listening experience hard work.


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • GenKan
    4/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Two lovely stores and two satirical"
    What did you like most about Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce?

    Fantastic, every time he "pronounced" the "words" of the different worlds I could barley keep myself from laughing out loud.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The first two was clearly the best, the satirical tone was turned on at the end of the of the second book. The dialog with the king of Brobdingnag was just a bash of his culture


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The way he saved the queen when he was on the island of Lilliput


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The strange relation he had to his human wife. Who would accept there significant other to go away for year after almost dying two times?!


    Any additional comments?

    Easy to recommend this book, was great but its obvious Swift show little respect and appropriation for royalty and lawyers.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • HA
    6/6/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not bad"

    Not Bad...... Very wordy and detailed but reasonably entertaining. Very unlike expectation. Shows that often we only heat the choice cuts of a story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • rollingplacebo
    3/3/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of my favourite books ever."

    There is so much more to this book than what one may know from some movie or cartoon adaptations.
    The narrator is superb.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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