First published in 1766 and a perennial favorite since then, The Vicar of Wakefield is built around the naïve but loveable figure of Dr Primrose. He and his family live in rural bliss until disaster threatens to destroy their happiness: abduction, impoverishment, and betrayal combine to lay them low, but a surprising figure brings hope when all seems lost.
Public Domain (P)2014 Naxos AudioBooks
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
The Vicar of Wakefield is a delightful book (from the late 18th or early 19th century), by Oliver Goldsmith (here narrated by Nicolas Farrell) that has held up as an engaging melodrama over a couple of centuries. The story concerns the Rev. Doctor Primrose and his family as they go from fortune to ruin, from living well to living precariously--typical of many stories of that time. If it seems a little predictable to us now, I suspect it was cherished by those who were reading it for the first time.
The story shows Rev. Primrose having to find ways to manage one crisis after another--whether losing his income, having his daughter fall into a bad situation, or people who are not what they seem. Throughout it all, he appears always to hold on to his optimism, indeed, others have likened him to (the Book of) Job in the Bible. Although less sophisticated than most of what we read these days, the story still is a good listen--and a reminder of what kind of stories used to excite an audience. (And by the way, there is much to take from it for our current times as well--certain human characteristics don't change that much). There is good tension among the characters, and certainly everything moves quickly--from one dilemma to the next. The Rev. Primrose and other characters are like the players in many novels of the time, in that they are, for the most part, rather two-dimensional.
Nicolas Farrell has done a very good job of bringing a fresh reading to us--and that is easily one of the best parts of this recording. If you are just yearning to have a fun read from the classics, this is quite good.
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