A foundling of mysterious parentage, Tom Jones is brought up by the benevolent and wealthy Squire Allworthy as his own son. Tom falls in love with the beautiful and unattainable Sophia Western, a neighbor’s daughter, whose marriage has already been arranged. When Tom’s sexual misadventures around the countryside get him banished, he sets out to make his fortune and find his true identity.
Against the vivid background of 18th-century London, Tom encounters passion, corruption, danger, and intrigue before finally claiming his fortune, legitimacy, and true love. Fielding’s bawdy, colorful, high-spirited novel paints human vices and virtues with unprecedented honesty and good humor, making Tom Jones as fresh and entertaining today as it was 200 years ago.
Public Domain (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Tom Jones…has been admired by many readers as the most meticulously crafted book of its type. With neoclassic objectivity, humor, and fine psychological delicacy, Fielding dissects the motives of his characters to reveal universal truths about human nature.” (Masterpieces of World Literature)
“Two hundred years have not dimmed Fielding’s realism. His humor is closer to our own than that of any writer before the present century." (Kingsley Amis)
I know I must have missed a great many of the satirical jokes in Tom Jones, but I laughed out loud at enough of them to know that the more things change, the more things stay the same. Certainly, the diction and social mores at times make comprehension a challenge, but any confusing parts can easily be ignored and later clarified with a little further listening. This is also helpful if you find parts a little slow (a few parts of the first volume felt a bit slow to me); keep moving forward and there is plenty to enjoy.
I wasn't sure how I felt about reader Kenneth Danzinger at first, but he quickly grew on me. His various accents made it easy to follow who was speaking and were at often greatly amusing. If you enjoy classic literature and/or British literature, I would guess you'll enjoy this. I picked it after reviewing a list of "100 Novels Everyone Should Read" (Telegraph; Tom Jones was #28).
My only complaint is that the recording itself is not the best. The slightly lesser quality led me to listen to it quite loud at times, but overall, I've listened to much worse quality (and the sample is accurate to what I'm referring to, so if you don't notice it, so much the better).
I was sad it was over, so that is always the sign of a good listen!
I've listened to around 200 audiobooks so far, and the performance of many narrators has been excellent, but none have stood out like Kenneth Danzinger does in this reading of Tom Jones. This material could be deadly dull in the wrong hands-one shudders to think of what Frederick Davidson/David Case would have done to the 18th century prose. Danzinger, by his firm command of the language, brings Fielding's humor to the fore. At least two episodes were laugh-out-loud funny, and many, many more made my commute a thing of joy. I put off reading or listening to this for a long time, afraid that it would be another Don Quixote, full of irrelevant topical references strung together by a dull satire. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Fielding covers a lot of territory in his novel, and is not too particular about how he introduces a topic he wants to cover, but it's always an animated, even illuminated, conversation, read to us by a first-rate performer.
The History of Tom Jones remains a delightful romp through the adventures and travails confronted by the young male.This book can still make me laugh out loud with its dry commentary on the absurdities of human nature. Some listeners may find the author's "philosophizing" at the beginning of each book a bit tedious (though these sections really are hilarious)-- for those listeners I can only echo the author's own suggestion that they skip these sections and go directly to the action in the next chapter.
A wonderful narration, complete with colorful accents and intonations, helps make this classic sparkle once again!
I love literary fiction and I occasionally delve into non-fiction. I love books that are suspenseful and am really into well-told stories.
The Book: Is a wonderful, funny and well-told story. Yes, it's a bit predictable but I forgave it that because this book is supposedly the first "English novel ever written". I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I had to read it just for that fact alone. I loved the little "coming attractions" before each chapter, and quickly learned that I did not need to put my full attention on the first chapter of a new book. It's mostly the author's musings about life in general and has little to do with the actual story. 5/5 stars for the actual book.
The narration: The men's voices were very well done, especially the drunkard Squire Western. He had me laughing out loud quite a bit and also relieved to not be his daughter. My only issue with the narration is that Sophia's voice was so quiet (maybe Mr. Danzinger couldn't think of another way to do her) that I literally had to rewind and turn it all the way up, which was a problem when her father is yelling at her. 4/5 stars for narration.
I saw another version of this book cut up into three volumes (so 3 credits or three times the price, whichever way you want to look at it) and if I had known I was going to enjoy it so much, I might have gone for the more expensive option. So... listeners: be warned.
I did not know that there were so many different English accents until I started listening to this book! Kenneth Danzinger gave each character a distinct voice, no matter how short or minor the "part". I also loved the story of a wayward, goodhearted young man finding his way into mature adulthood through his adventures, encounters and discoveries. The 36-odd hours fairly whizzed by. The story has ironic, sarcastic elements here and there, and Mr. Danzinger verbalized them perfectly, adding extra richness to the story. The pacing of the narration was perfect also. Sometimes, though, the narrator spoke a little too softly with certain characters, so you may need to crank up the sound a bit. Also if you are able to get a physical copy of the book to follow along, preferably one with a glossary at the end like the Oxford Edition, do so, since there are a number of archaic and obscure terms you probably will not understand. Also, certain words such as "condescend" were used in different ways and meant different things in 1739 when the book was written than they mean now, and the Oxford Edition explains that as well. What could have seemed very dry and boring in print positively came to life in this beautiful narration. Highly recommended.
The narrator does a great job of creating distinctive characters in this rendering of the great eighteenth century novel. If you enjoy the genre, you will surely enjoy this performance. The audio quality is also very good.
Narrator truly made the characters come to life with multiple old British accents and truly great acting! Wow!
The narrator is absolutely fantastic. I gave it 4 stars overall, because the book is so long-winded and takes so many tangents that it is difficult to keep track of what is being discussed, it does not always hold your attention. I have tried reading it twice, without success, so listening to it was definitely the best way. I recommend this book, there are a lot of laugh out loud moments, a lot of "wow that was deep and introspective" moments, and the main character Tom Jones is a very admirable hero overall. Check it out!
It was hilarious! In the hands of a less skilled writer, this story would have fallen to pieces. But the writing was superb, all the characters had several aspects to their personality, much like it is in life. I enjoyed every bit of it.
There were several, but when Jones begs Sophie's forgiveness, I loved how that scene was played out.
It was wonderful and I was able to enjoy the book so much because of his narration. The various accents that he put on were superb and brought the book to life for me.
Several times. I laughed out loud on the bus.
zoeq is a trained chef an innkeeper. Currently she is writing a cookbook for the family cook. She lives in Florida and loves kayaking.
No way. I have better things to do.
It successfully put me to sleep countless times.
It's such a long book with characters running around the countryside and missing each other. The reader knocked himself out to portray all the different characters - he succeeded.
I honestly was frightened by the length, but this book is different and entertaining.
Tom selling his horse to give the money to Black George.
The introduction of Sophia was truly beautiful.
Best Book Ever
"if school ruined it for you.."
try again with this incomparable reading from Kenneth Danzinger who wonderful characterisations bring excitement, fun, humour and life to this story.
I had read this before & had watched the book in film form. Thanks to such a great reading, I found new pleasure and didn't spend my time becoming exasperated by Tom. Indeed, he had found a small place in my heart. As in another review, I suggest that you choose your reader, carefully.
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