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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Audiobook

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

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Publisher's Summary

Praise for Nick Offerman narrating Mark Twain:

“Offerman’s Illinois-raised voice and actor’s talent suit him ideally to channel Mark Twain.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“There’s something about his wry Midwestern merriment that aspires to Twainishness.” (Men’s Journal)

“It’s a melding of sardonic voices: Mark Twain, meet Nick Offerman.” (The Wall Street Journal)

With his trademark mirth and boundless charisma, actor Nick Offerman brought the loveable shenanigans of Twain's adolescent hero to life in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Now, in yet another virtuosic performance, the actor proves that despite being separated by a span of over a century, his connection to the author and his work is undeniable and that theirs is a timeless collaboration that should not be missed. Trading in the idyllic banks of Twain's Mississippi for medieval England, Offerman regales listeners with one of American literature's foremost satires and the author's most inventive and darkly funny pieces of fiction.

Hank Morgan is the archetype of modern man in 19th-century New England: adept at his trade as a mechanic, innovative, forward thinking. So when a blow to the head inexplicably sends him back in time 1300 years and places him in Camelot, instead of despair, he feels emboldened by the prospect placed before him and sets out to modernize and improve the lives of his fellow citizens. But, in order to do so, he'll need to contend with brash nobles, superstitious nincompoops, and a conniving, blowhard wizard.

While time travel has become a common trope in storytelling today, in Twain's time it was truly a novel idea; all the more imaginative when you consider how it's used for satirical effect. A thinly veiled critique of the political and social institutions that impede progress and a scathing condemnation of the naiveté that allows them to thrive, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court saw Twain's biting wit and sharp tongue honed to a fine point.

Told primarily through Hank's first-person perspective, Offerman effortlessly captures the Yankee's straightforward, matter-of-fact gruffness. Like Offerman - whose woodworking skills are the stuff of legend - Hank is a natural builder of things and his can-do, by-the-bootstraps spirit finds its vocal foil in Offerman's crisp delivery. But it's in Offerman's ability to convey the myriad characters and absurdities Hank faces that makes this an incomparable listening experience: the flowery embellishments and insane braggadocio of knights; the lilting, feathery sing-song of Clarence; the garrulous, long-winded pomp of the aristocracy; the old, dithering windbag pronouncements of Merlin. Offerman plays each of these with a humor and humanity that Twain himself would have enjoyed.

Public Domain (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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Average Customer Rating

4.6 (247 )
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  •  
    Anonymous 10-18-17
    10-18-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Nick Offerman does it again. Bravo!"

    Nick Offerman does it again, an amazing performance of a classic. Offerman was born to read Mark Twain. A classic story with by one of the greatest satirist and novelist in American History and read by an amazing actor with excellent pronunciation, pace, and an expert feel for the theatric. Bravo.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry J Farro 10-16-17
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    "Top-Notch"

    Great book! Narrator did a phenomenal job! I will definitely be recommending this book to others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    J.Face 10-16-17
    J.Face 10-16-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Great story withstands the tests of time"

    Nick Offerman is the obvious and perfect choice for this timeless story. His voice perfectly articulated the character and tone the words from our protagonist. Well worth the purchase. Will listen many more times

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia 10-13-17
    Julia 10-13-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Best Listened to in Short Bursts"

    I enjoyed the performance of Nick Offerman a great deal. I hope Audible takes notice. He does a fantastic job!

    The story is interesting commentary on what Twain seems to identify as the source of decay of morality the medieval ages. He catalogs many abuses and exposes the humanity of the common people beautifully. I think for this novel to be most effective emotionally, it is best listened to a chapter or two at a time. I listened to it over the course of two days and found it overwhelming and at times tedious. Much better to take it in small bites and think about the material.

    Incredible book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy 10-12-17
    Troy 10-12-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Twain's Biting Wit and a Ripping Good Yarn"

    This is a great book, slightly diminished by weak final moments. Let's start by describing what this book is. It's about 5% fantasy - the premise being a Connecticut engineer who, after getting clunked on the head, experiences a transposition of bodies through "time" to a medieval England that even the narrator admits never was. It's about 25% a humorous yarn. Twain can't help himself and occasionally goes for the witty, if cheap joke. He also manages to deliver great passages of pure story - either in tall tale format or in a more serious dramatic tone. The other 70% is social commentary, particularly political commentary but also remarks on human nature and the human condition. It's at times contradictory and/or flippant, but always interesting. It's a great book for reading and thinking, not traditional escapist fantasy fare. I've copied some of my favorite quotes below as examples. Some of them are kind of long, and you can pull a pity sentence out, but I love Twain's meandering delivery.

    Also, it probably goes without saying, Nick Offerman is about the best choice you could make for reading Twain!

    =======

    “You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its office-holders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death. To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to worship rags, to die for rags—that is a loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal; it belongs to monarchy, was invented by monarchy; let monarchy keep it. I was from Connecticut, whose Constitution declares “that all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their benefit; and that they have at all times an undeniable and indefeasible right to alter their form of government in such a manner as they may think expedient.”

    Under that gospel, the citizen who thinks he sees that the commonwealth’s political clothes are worn out, and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is disloyal; he is a traitor. That he may be the only one who thinks he sees this decay, does not excuse him; it is his duty to agitate anyway, and it is the duty of the others to vote him down if they do not see the matter as he does.”

    =======

    “I had started a teacher-factory and a lot of Sunday-schools the first thing; as a result, I now had an admirable system of graded schools in full blast in those places, and also a complete variety of Protestant congregations all in a prosperous and growing condition. Everybody could be any kind of a Christian he wanted to; there was perfect freedom in that matter. But I confined public religious teaching to the churches and the Sunday-schools, permitting nothing of it in my other educational buildings. I could have given my own sect the preference and made everybody a Presbyterian without any trouble, but that would have been to affront a law of human nature: spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it; and, besides, I was afraid of a united Church; it makes a mighty power, the mightiest conceivable, and then when it by and by gets into selfish hands, as it is always bound to do, it means death to human liberty and paralysis to human thought.”

    =======

    “If I had the remaking of man, he wouldn’t have any conscience. It is one of the most disagreeable things connected with a person; and although it certainly does a great deal of good, it cannot be said to pay, in the long run; it would be much better to have less good and more comfort. Still, this is only my opinion, and I am only one man; others, with less experience, may think differently. They have a right to their view. I only stand to this: I have noticed my conscience for many years, and I know it is more trouble and bother to me than anything else I started with. I suppose that in the beginning I prized it, because we prize anything that is ours; and yet how foolish it was to think so. If we look at it in another way, we see how absurd it is: if I had an anvil in me would I prize it? Of course not. And yet when you come to think, there is no real difference between a conscience and an anvil—I mean for comfort. I have noticed it a thousand times. And you could dissolve an anvil with acids, when you couldn’t stand it any longer; but there isn’t any way that you can work off a conscience—at least so it will stay worked off; not that I know of, anyway.”

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffery 10-10-17
    Jeffery 10-10-17
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    "Nick Offerman was perfect"

    Mark Twain is not an easy author to read, but Nick Offerman was the perfect choice to narrate the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-08-17 Member Since 2011
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    "Fantastic narration of a fantastic classic"

    Don't bother to wonder if you should listen, go ahead and get this book ASAP.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. MILLER Los Angeles, CA USA 10-07-17
    J. MILLER Los Angeles, CA USA 10-07-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Bittersweet Splendor"

    A kingly tale replete with Twain's peerless humor and pathos; magnificent narration by Nick Offerman.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-05-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Mark Twain wrote Science Fiction? Who knew?"

    Mark Twain wrote Science Fiction? Who knew? although it took a lot of practice getting used to the old style English, and possibly the early century american English of Mark Twain himself, this was an amazingly entertaining book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doreen McLean 10-04-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Mark Twain's imagination..."

    This was well narrated. Nick Offerman did a wonderful job.

    Mark Twain's wit is remarkable. When listening to this tale (fiction), you aren't even aware of how much you're being taught about human nature & history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Amazon Customer
    UK
    9/29/17
    Overall
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    "Tedious and dispiriting"

    I thought I knew the story in essence but hadn't realised just how cynical Twain can be. This is not remotely the whimsical romp I had remembered from an old children's version and the Bing Grosby movie, but is rather a vehicle for the author's opinions on politics and especially established religion. He just goes on and on about it. There doesn't seem to be any aspect of the (mythical) Camelot that he likes. Everyone he meets is a fool, deluded by tradition and custom, in thrall to a perverse social system sustained by the Church. Even when you accept much of what he says at face value (the divine right of kings is an easy target), his monomania about it is wearing and there is very little humour to lighten the mood. The whole thing comes across like a pamphlet dressed up as a novel. It's like reading a 19th-century diatribe against cock-fighting.

    The reading is extremely good, so the problem is with the material rather than the production.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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