Laurence Sterne’s most famous novel is a biting satire of literary conventions and contemporary 18th-century values. Renowned for its parody of established narrative techniques, Tristram Shandy is commonly regarded as the forerunner of avant-garde fiction. Tristram’s characteristic digressions on a whole range of unlikely subjects (including battle strategy and noses!) are endlessly surprising and make this one of Britain’s greatest comic achievements. A cast of strange characters populate this strangest of novels: gentle Uncle Toby, sarcastic Walter, and of course, the pompous, garrulous Tristram himself. This edition is read by Anton Lesser in a tour de force performance.
Please note: In print, Tristram Shandy is filled with visual, typographical, and compositing jokes - pages that are completely blank, pages that are completely black, misplaced chapters or chapters consisting only of their title, squiggly lines to indicate waving a stick, and much more besides. This audiobook tries in a variety of ways to match Sterne's invention with aural equivalents.
Public Domain (P)2009 Naxos Audiobooks
I originally tried reading this in high school, and the whole thing seemed like an insane mess to me, not funny at all. It was somewhat over my head, let's say. Same thing happened with Gulliver's Travels for me. I hated the book for a long time because I read it too early. This is a brilliant book really, and alternates from being mildly funny, to annoying, to hilarious. The whole gag is that the author keeps procrastinating and never getting anywhere, and its similar in style of humor to anything that is funny at first, and becomes funny again if you keep the joke up. I started to giggle at times as I realized just how long nothing had happened! I wondered how anyone could keep up the delays and marvelled at the originality. However, this won't be for everyone, and the joke is a bit subtle for some maybe, who will just wonder, why on earth does anyone read this when there is no story and nothing happens?
Its very British. So if you do not like British humor, then avoid this. Not that all British humor is the same, but its not straight at you, wink and stamp the foot while the joke is told American style humor. So some will miss it. The narration is wonderful, and helps immensely from my experience trying to read this myself. He emphasizes often and has unique voices for each of the characters which helps quite a bit to prevent boredom and keep things straight and only towards the end did I begin to sigh and want it to wrap up. This might be one that is better paired with another book so you can alternate between them. I was listening at a typing job and always try to have several books going depending on mood, so I can flip flop. I now understand just why the book is considered a classic and in that regard am very happy to have purchased and tried it again. One of those books better as an audio. Funny.
Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!
What a glorious ramble and rollicking good time. Tristram spends half of the book finally getting to the complications of his birth and name. Along the way, he gets diverted into stories of his Uncle Toby's war wound, Corporal Trim's brother, and the beliefs of his father, Doctor Slop and more. Another book that I wonder if the audiobook performance is what made the difference. Anton Lesser and the producers of this book made it come to life and put the humor in it.
Anton Lesser is pitch-perfect in his reading of Sterne's 18th Century masterpiece. The story itself is possibly the least straight-forward narrative in literary history, but its endless digressions lead to real delights. Zany, cryptically bawdy, witty, and at times beautifully philosophical, it has more than earned its status among the Western Canon. Naxos has done a brilliant job in translating this, at times, difficult to follow text, translating it brilliantly for the ear. Time well spent!
Slawkenbergius's Tale-- had to have been an influence on "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
One of his best.
A Cock and Bull Story (Already used when film was made).
A head trip that's also a master-course in wit.
Tristram Shandy is one of the great, landmark masterpieces of English fiction writing, though relatively unknown. Of course 18th Century literature isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I love the great care taken over style, allusion and wit found in Sterne, Swift, Defoe, Johnson et al. This book is a wonder of linguistic and stylistic invention and much more interesting in those respects than Ulysses for example, a work which it predates by about 200 years. It's funnier too, being quixotic rather than vulgar - and far less portentous and pretentious. My guess is that Dickens would have loved it - and even been influenced by it. Anyway, if you've tried to read this book before but found it difficult to persevere with, Anton Lesser is here to do all the hard work for you. He does it so well, and reads in so many styles and for so long that he must have been exhausted when they finally let him out of the studio. He really is top notch; in fact it's the kind of performance that creates new fans among people who don't know Sterne at all. I'm looking forward to reading his interpretation of A Sentimental Journey. Brilliant value and great fun!
I loved this audio. Having read some extracts of the book it was not exactly what i expected, though I was still not dissapointed. The extracts I had come across were short self contained humerous paragraphs so could not prepare me for the deliberately meandering drawn out gags and observations in the text.
Laurance Stern writes the book in the charming persona of 'Tristram' and Anton Lesser makes a greater job than anybody else I can imagine. It gave me a real 'laugh out loud' moment when the nuns were trying to get the donkey up the hill.
It's not to everyones taste I'm sure, however I think most people would find moments of real pleasure from listening.
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