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Clockwork | [Philip Pullman]

Clockwork

A tormented apprentice clock-maker - and a deadly knight in armour. A mechanical prince - and the sinister Dr Kalmenius, who some say is the devil... Wind up these characters, fit them into a story on a cold winter's evening and suddenly life and the story begin to merge - almost like clockwork...
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Publisher's Summary

A tormented apprentice clock-maker - and a deadly knight in armour. A mechanical prince - and the sinister Dr Kalmenius, who some say is the devil... Wind up these characters, fit them into a story on a cold winter's evening and suddenly life and the story begin to merge - almost like clockwork...

©1996 Philip Pullman (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (819 )
5 star
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4.1 (728 )
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Story
4.5 (726 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    David 02-17-15
    David 02-17-15 Member Since 2012

    Indiscriminate Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1475
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    298
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    "A modern clockwork fairy tale"

    I downloaded this from Audible this morning and listened to it while shoveling snow, wishing I had a clockwork automaton to do that for me.

    Philip Pullman's Clockwork is a fairy tale set in Germany in (presumably) the 19th century, in a world where clockwork devices can be made so intricately precise that they can, if constructed by a particularly ingenious clockmaker, pass for little boys. There are elements of Pinocchio, Faust, and any number of Hans Christian Andersen fables in this story that actually weaves three stories together.

    There is Franz, the storyteller who entertains the townspeople with fabulous and hair-raising stories, until he ends up invoking someone who shows up in the tavern while Franz is telling a tale about him.

    Karl, the clockmaker's apprentice, approaching the day of the end of his apprenticeship where his great creation will emerge from the town clock tower, has a big problem: he hasn't actually created anything. So of course he is pulling his hair out and swearing he'd do anything to get out of this mess, and you know where that leads in fairy tales.

    Finally, there is the story of the proud and arrogant prince and his pretty, fashionable wife, in need of an heir. When their only son dies stillborn, the prince goes looking for a replacement, and procures a clockwork boy.

    Everything wraps up with the bad getting more or less what they deserved, the good living happily ever after. Pullman is a good storyteller, especially when he stays concise and doesn't drag trilogies off the rails in the final book (*cough* The Amber Spyglass *cough*). Clockwork really is just a modern fairy tale, so don't expect any brilliant subversion or some kind of steampunk twist.

    22 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 02-18-15
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 02-18-15 Member Since 2015

    Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    132
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    Story
    "The Brothers Grimm Would Have Approved"

    A young apprentice clockmaker is morose and desperate as he sits in Glockenheim's White Horse tavern on the last day of his apprenticeship; he has not been able to deliver a clock figure as all apprentices over the ages have done before him and his reputation is about to be ruined and he shares his despair with the town's storyteller, young Fritz. Fritz assures him that his difficulties are nothing compared to the hardships of creating stories, as he is expected to tell the townfolk gathered there his latest story in a few minutes, and though he has a new tale to tell them, he hasn't managed to write an ending for it in the night, but must somehow invent it as he goes along. And so begins a fantastic dark tale featuring a prince and princess and a dark forest and a suspicious ghastly death which features a mysterious character... who very suddenly appears in the tavern as Fritz introduces him in his storytelling and offers the apprentice a Faustian pact which promises to solve all his problems and bring him great fame and wealth, but will also put the lives of two innocent children in mortal danger. A wonderful tale in the tradition of the best Germanic storytellers of old such as E.T.A. Hoffmann and the Brothers Grimm, this is a tightly paced novella. Wonderfully narrated by Anton Lesser.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    blaqfury 02-17-15
    blaqfury 02-17-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cute Story"

    I enjoyed the story. There were a few times I got confused because it switched between story and narration without any warning. Overall I would recommend it.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Die Falknerin 12-09-14 Member Since 2008

    Painter, musician, bibliophile...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gather 'round and set it going"

    "Once upon a time, when time ran by clockwork, a strange event took place in a little German town. Actually, it was a series of events, all fitting together like the parts of a clock, and although each person saw a part, no one saw the whole of it."

    So begins Pullman's enchanting story. It's a sweet winter's parable that combines a touch of Grimm with a touch of Goethe, with all the elements given life and great charm by the character actor Anton Lesser.

    We listened to this last year as our "ghost story for Christmas," and it's back by popular demand this year! It's just the right length for such a story, and perfect for snowy weather.

    Wishing you all that is merry and bright...

    29 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth Colon 02-17-15
    Ruth Colon 02-17-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing!"

    what an amazing story! creative! never dull, short but very enjoyable with unexpected turn of events.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Spencer 02-17-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great short listen"

    Very interesting story and the narrator makes this piece come to life. It is definitely a title I will enjoy listening to several times.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole East Brunswick, NJ, United States 02-17-15
    Nicole East Brunswick, NJ, United States 02-17-15 Member Since 2015

    Soup Obsessed

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "unexpectedly brilliant!"

    great little story with lots of little twists and turns considering its brevity. Narrator was perfect for this, sounded like he had written the story himself.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danny Derby largo 02-21-15
    Danny Derby largo 02-21-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "clock work...."

    great book, short and to the point, a tiny mystery. good for a short listen

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Booklover 10-13-13
    Booklover 10-13-13 Member Since 2012

    wrytermom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting, well-performed, quite short"
    If you could sum up Clockwork in three words, what would they be?

    Good not great


    What did you like best about this story?

    It has an interesting structure.


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

    Be careful what you ask for.


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent performance of a good, but not great Pullman tale.

    9 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Bakry Bladensburg, MD USA 08-09-15
    Tom Bakry Bladensburg, MD USA 08-09-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    "An absolutely wonderful story"

    This was very enjoyable. Top notch narration brings this worthy tale to life. It is short and good for all ages. I listened to it and knew immediately that it would be popular with the whole family, so I played it for them on a long drive to our vacation destination. Everyone loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • BlueStars
    5/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story, well read"
    What did you like most about Clockwork?

    Super story - kept my 9 and 7 year old entertained.


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

    Yes.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Molly
    London, United Kingdom
    9/17/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absolutely wonderful"
    If you could sum up Clockwork in three words, what would they be?

    Spine-chilling, powerful and exciting


    What did you like best about this story?

    The clever plotting.


    What about Anton Lesser’s performance did you like?

    Anton Lesser is a brilliant actor, and he is able to be atmospheric but not intrusive.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anne
    Retford, United Kingdom
    9/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A terrific tale slightly hammed up"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Clockwork to be better than the print version?

    This is a gem of a story. It has a very interesting structure, that, as the title suggests, fits together like clockwork. I have read, and retread this story to myself and aloud to enthralled classes of year 4 (8-9 year old children) many, many times, and having listened to this narrator's slightly hammy performance, I will continue to do so.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There are a number of characters that I like: Gretl, the landlord's daughter is, like many of Pullman's female characters, the strongest and most moral of the characters. Karl is a weak willed and grumpy apprentice, who, rather than spend time learning his craft, opts to make a deal to get him out of a spot of bother, only to be faced with a bigger, more sinister spot of bother. I also like the character of Fritz, a story teller who, like Karl, isn't always prepared to see things through to the end. However, my favourite character, if he can be called such, is the Putzi, the cat.


    What about Anton Lesser’s performance did you like?

    His telling of the story is fine, his accents were rather iffy, although he clearly had fun hamming them up.


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

    This is an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes, and you will appreciate the story telling skills of Phillip Pullman, who has weaves together a lovely tale of love, sacrifice and clockwork figures.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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