Gulliver’s Travels can be a different book to different people: a ripping yarn, a social satire, a parody of a travelogue as a literary form, or a children’s fantasy. In calling on the talent of David Hyde Pearce as narrator, the publishers have gone for the satirical angle: his hilarious performance brings out the text’s sly digs at European social, political, and religious mores, as well as his perpetual air of injured pride. (His delivery of the line “the malice of a Dutchman” is worth the price of the audiobook alone.) His tendency to pomposity and misplaced noblesse oblige serves to highlight Swift’s exploration of the gap between how we view ourselves and our actual behavior. Here, Pearce is merely drawing on the inherent comedy in the disparity between the earnestness of the text and its subject: witness the passage where Gulliver puts out a fire in the Lilliputian royal residence “by urine, which I voided in such a quantity, and applied so well to the proper places, that in three minutes the fire was wholly extinguished, and the rest of that noble pile, which had cost so many ages in erecting, preserved from destruction”.
In the book’s topsy-turvy world, Irish-born Swift holds up a funhouse mirror to the foibles of the Old World in all its social divisions, constant warring, religious strife, and political bickering. The modernity of his arguments (no less than the bite of his wit) is bracing. Although the first half of Gulliver’s Travels stands as its strongest, covering what most of us remember when we think of the book, there is much to relish throughout, particularly since Pearce’s performance creates a tangible character that the listener will want to stick with, in all his vainglorious pride and increasing misfortunes. This is a perfect example of a sympathetic marriage between voice and text reanimating a classic. Dafydd Phillips
Four-time Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce is famous for playing the lovably self-important Dr. Niles Crane in the hit TV series Frasier. Now, he brings the same wit and charming arrogance to his Signature Classics performance of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.
More than just a mock travel book and fabulous adventure, Gulliver’s Travels is a character study and social satire that skewers politics, science, religion, philosophy, and pretentiousness with a bite and resonance that remains as fresh today as the day it was published. Maybe that’s why it hasn’t been out of print in nearly 300 years.
Set sail with David Hyde Pierce for a smart, fun, new Gulliver’s Travels experience that’s unlike any other. And stay tuned for more one-of-a-kind performances from actors Leelee Sobiesky, Casey Affleck, Tim Curry, and more, only from Audible Signature Classics.
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"Despite Gulliver’s detailed, and sometimes cumbersome, descriptions of strange lands and their inhabitants, Pierce doesn’t miss a beat. His melodic voice wraps perfectly around Swift’s eighteenth-century language. His pronunciations of the imaginative languages are delightful, especially the neighing expressions of the Houyhnhnms, a utopian society of horses. In a book in which the author’s voice comes through on every page, Pierce’s consistently matter-of-fact tone fits Swift’s own. His reading highlights the author’s humor and sarcasm, pulling the listener into this fantastic journey." (AudioFile)
Timeless humor made me laugh out loud (rather awkward at the gym).
The quality of the recording was great. David Hyde Pierce made a great reader.
Gulliver's Travels has been a classic but somewhat overlooked read for many years, perhaps because of its supposed complexity. Still, it is an incredbly imaginative series of voyages and adventures to strange and wonderful places (a matter of opinion of course), and the superb writing and imagination on display in this Swift Classic can not be denied.
Jonathan Swift's masterful descriptions of distant island lands, their inhabitants, strange customs, and Gulliver's perceptions and treatment in each place is extaordinary. Yet, not to be ignored are the underlying political and moral aspects which are woven throughtout the text, and in some cases, existant in today's politics and, surprisingly, our society. In many ways futuristic, Jonathan Swift proves a master of imagination and human behavior.
Equally outstanding; and handled deftly, is Mr. Pierce's interpretive reading of the text. Performed with an English accent, and with undeniable superlative vocal skill, Mr. Pierce ushers us through each new voyage with such ease and understanding, that one wonders if Swift weren't whispering direction in his ear. What can understandably be a complex and confusing read, is made entertaining and easily pictured in the mind's eye of the reader when put in Mr. Pierce's very talented hands. I can imagine no one better to have narrated such a grand selection as Gulliver's Travels.
The book is a classic (more than just the 'Lilliput' story that gets turned into cartoons or comic movies every so often)...social commentary and satire disguised as a traditional travelogue. David Hyde Pierce is a brilliant narrator and excellent for this piece.
There's a reason that books remain in print this long. They continue to relate to the 'modern' reader. In whatever age the 'modern' reader may be living. I laughed out loud frequently, and was a little surprised at the, er, 'earthy' humor. Being striped naked and laid between the breats of the giant women of Brobdingnag is racier than I thought would have been allowed. But then the book WAS originally published in secret. David Hyde Pierce does an outstanding job of narrating as well. Top notch. A very strong 'recommend'.
I am a college student that enjoys leisurely listening between studying. I most enjoy books involving mystery, conspiracy, and adventure.
I usually prefer a printed version for the books I read for a class.But when I began to read Gulliver's Travels for a class, I realized that it would most likely be amazing on audiobook, and I was right! Immediately my pronunciations and comprehension of this book increased.
As a child I remember reading condensed and sensitized versions of this story, and now as an adult, I began to see more of the true story. Every time a somewhat inappropriate part came on, I was shocked into laughter. Don't get me wrong, the full version is still very appropriate for children in my opinion, but it creates a more enjoyable experience for more mature audiences as well.
This timeless story was one of the more enjoyable listens I have had. The narrator does a great job of using his voice to create a visual of the locations but the time period as well. I would most likely not listen to this again, simply because of the length and lack of the action that I prefer in a book. As for recommending this book, I would only suggest it to someone with a very patient love of classics.
I had forgotten how much I liked this book. Everyone is familiar with Book I - Lilliput. A few know Book II -Bbrobidgnag. Things get even more interesting in Book III, with its classic satire on abstruse scholarship. Book IV is the best of all. David Hyde Pierce could not be bettered as a reader.
Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!
I have tried to read this book, but found it difficult. I decided to give it a go when I saw this edition narrated by David Hyde Pierce. Previously I hadn't gotten past the Brobdingnag chapter. I knew it was a satire, but didn't realize it was also science fiction (3rd chapter with a "floating island") and is very earthy.
Gulliver has four travels and he progressively realizes how corrupt his race/nation is. I read one description of the stories that is great for summarizing - little (Lilliput) to big (Brobdingnag), and math/music (Laputa mainly) to natural (Houyhnhnm - which is horse language). Along the way Gulliver compares the government of each country to his own and finds they are worse or better.
The audio book was superb - especially David Hyde Pierce's perfection of the Houyhnhnm pronunciation.
Business owner , philanthropist.
So well read. Its like being there. I was so zoned out into it that I was surprised little people were not next to me.
A Viet Nam veteran, former steelworker, surveyor, draftsman, currently registered nurse. Popular and trendy are not necessarily great. Time weeds the path to the gardens of the classics.
I got this as a book when I was 5. Six decades later I finally appreciate and understand it. The reader adds much to this work. I feel the story was acted as well as read and that made it all the more enjoyable. For his time Mr. Swift must have been a true iconoclast.
I know it's a classic but it is well worth the time to re-examine in this form. You'll enjoy it I'm sure.
David Hyde Pierce is hilarious. I feel like his rendition of the written work adds so much that a reader may not pick up on their own initially. Also, it's easy to picture him in the role so if you're driving when you listen to this (like I was) it doesn't take a whole lot of focus to visualize the character since he is already so recognizable. Witty, honest, and hilarious.
I'll be honest, I'm only about halfway through but so far his "little nurse" is my favorite; the little girl who takes care of him in the land of the giants. I could so easily picture a sweet little girl taking such loving, but absented-minded care of a little wanderer.
This book was clearly written in a time before television or other such easy entertainment modes. Such books seem so much more ornate in description and detail. So some parts went a bit slow at times. The specific dimensions given for different structures in town could become tedious. Even with that disclaimer, my favorite parts were in his description of cultures. For example, in Lilliput, he goes in detail about how children are raised, gender roles in society, and other cultural specifics. I find this fascinating to think he is comparing it to England at the time. The history nerd in me takes parts like this and builds an entire world around, the one he is describing and the one he is comparing it to.
I still have a few hours left to listen to! I'm just over halfway so I feel like I can't speak to this question just yet.
I listened to this book while driving by myself on an extended road trip. I am a frequent audio book listener and have come to be much better at absorbing details by listening alone, rather than needing to read it before it truly sinks in. I found this book to be so detailed at times that I missed parts because I zoned out. I replayed parts and had to back up occasionally. I feel like this book would be hard to listen to with a group of travelers because each would miss different parts that enhance the overall story due to the nature of the writing. Share it with friends, but after you've listened to it at your own pace!
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