We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Tristram Shandy | [Laurence Sterne]

Tristram Shandy

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 Shandyis 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.
Regular Price:$33.60
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

Public Domain (P)2009 Naxos Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (39 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
 (8)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.1 (31 )
5 star
 (17)
4 star
 (7)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.6 (34 )
5 star
 (26)
4 star
 (5)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 01-02-14
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 01-02-14

    A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8187
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    415
    410
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1518
    15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Like discovering Frank Zappa in 250 years"

    A POEM IN WHICH IS A CELEBRATION BY NEGATION
    or, a repartee on jeopardy.

    If on a friend’s bookshelf
    You cannot find Joyce or Sterne
    Cervantes, Rabelais, or Burton,

    You are in danger, face the fact,
    So kick him first or punch him hard
    And from him hide behind a curtain.
    ― Alexander Theroux*

    I was (of course) destined to love this book. Just look at my love for/on Montaigne, Cervantes & Burton. J'adore big books full of absurdity and digressions and allusions. This is the ... THE ... grand-pappa of the modern novel; the paterfamilis of all things Shandy.

    Looking into the black night after emerging with a book from my mother's womb, I dreamt of THIS book among the stars. Sterne's Tristram existed for me before I read it. It was like a song whose tune you hum in your head for years, before identifying the tune with an actual song. Tristram Shandy was playing in the background as I read Joyce, Nabokov, Kerouac, Vonnegut, Murakami, Pynchon, DFW, Rushdie, Woolf, etc. Hell, even Karl Marx loved this book.

    But now, I find myself debating on whether I will be content with my Modern Library (Fokenflik intro and notes) version or if I need to go buy the Visual Edition or the Florida Edition. BTW, the NAXOS/Lesser audio version is amazing AMAZING, but you still want the text in front of you because part of Sterne's genius is SEEN not just heard.

    IF this seems like an odd obsession after reading/finishing/listening to Tristram Shandy, perhaps (I am guessing) you haven't READ it. 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman' just isn't one of those books you really escape from. I keep digressing back into the novel because you keep recognizing the novel in other novels and movies and people. I look at Mandelbrot sets and think THIS is Tristram Shandy with its digressions, repetitions, and spawn. I look at the endnotes of DFW and think, this IS a Shandian experiment. I look at Vonnegut's picture of an * a$$hole (pg 81) in 'BreakFast of Champions' and think: this is a Shandian experiment.

    Sterne was postModern before postModern was cool. Reading Tristram Shandy is like discovering that someone in the 18th century had already built a working computer, but that all (all is not to minimize it, simply to localize ti) it did was spit out a long sequence of digressions (All your base are belong to us). Anyway, my wife informed me that she loved just watching me read/listen (so this is now a voyeur review) Sterne because I would spit, giggle, choke, and squirm every page. I would wiggle and twist as Sterne would allude to the classics and twist the logic and satirize everyone from Robert Burton to Jonathan Swift to William Warburton. I can't say this novel isn't appreciated. Those who have read it get it, but it isn't appreciated enough. I imagine it will be like discovering Frank Zappa in 250 years. A future me will be looking at old YouTube videos and will think GOD why didn't more people appreciate him?

    * from 'The Lollipop Trollops and Other Poems'

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    andrew Bountiful, UT, United States 07-14-12
    andrew Bountiful, UT, United States 07-14-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    160
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    44
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Much better than the first time"

    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.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zeno New Jersey 09-25-13
    Zeno New Jersey 09-25-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Monty Python's Great, Great Grandfather"
    Where does Tristram Shandy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tristram Shandy?

    Slawkenbergius's Tale-- had to have been an influence on "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."


    Have you listened to any of Anton Lesser’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    One of his best.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A Cock and Bull Story (Already used when film was made).


    Any additional comments?

    A head trip that's also a master-course in wit.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca 11-16-13
    Rebecca 11-16-13 Member Since 2009

    Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    112
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    126
    82
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    14
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Glorious digressions"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip San Francisco, CA, USA 03-20-14
    Philip San Francisco, CA, USA 03-20-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "brilliant narration"
    Where does Tristram Shandy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    There is no point in reviewing a literary classic like this. Most people who like language and who have some knowledge of 18th century English culture love this book.


    Any additional comments?

    The purpose of my review is to say that is a brilliant narration. Back in the Stone Age, I loved the now vanished narration of the late Wolfram Kandinsky, especially his reading of Conrad. I put Mr. Lesser's narration in that category, which is high praise indeed.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    No Suspicion 11-29-14 Member Since 2012

    I could wile away the hours...

    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    ""cum grano sails""

    I have rated the "story" of Tristram Shandy with five stars, but of course, "The Life and Opinions…" has no story at all. This is as brilliant a quilt of blarney as ever was written, as if an astrophysicist, a monk who spoke only Nepalese, a snookers player, and a mother of 15 hamsters all decided it would be great to share a cup of tea—each bloviating about his or her own hobby horse. So much is said, to no effect, in the most brilliant way. Icing on the cake: Anton Lesser's performance is pitch perfect.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results
Sort by:
  • Stuart C. Clarke
    Burton-on-Trent, England
    4/3/13
    Overall
    "Wonderful listening!"

    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!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • doug
    halstead, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Simply splendid"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • twigs way
    cambridge UK
    6/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superb chrecterisation"
    What did you like most about Tristram Shandy?

    The book itself of course but the narrator added so much to what can be a difficult read


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tristram Shandy?

    Corporal trims falling in love. Or was it lust? So well done


    What does Anton Lesser bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Narrative flow especially during some of the more digressive chapters. He illuminated and personalised the whole text


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Over 20 hrs so not really!!!! I will listen to it all again though!


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best audible renditions of a classic i have ever listened to

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nicholas
    Skipton, United Kingdom
    12/21/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great presentation of a masterpiece"

    True, some things are lost if one does not have the book in front of one, with its black page, the extraordinary punctuation, and so on. But there was a lot more than I never discovered on the page itself. The way Lesser does the 'Shut the door!' (I.4) was simple but brilliant. This is one of the weirdest masterpieces of English literature, but returning to it for the 300th anniversary of Sterne's birth, I chose this audio format. And I have enjoyed it more than ever. Great reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.