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Publisher's Summary

Candide, published simultaneously in five European capitals in 1759, became an instant best seller and is now regarded as one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. Voltaire’s preoccupations with evil and with various kinds of human folly and intolerance found a perfect vehicle in the philosophical tale. A master storyteller, he combined often wildly entertaining action with profoundly serious sense, parodying the traditional chivalric and oriental tales with which his public was more familiar to create a witty allegory of a young man whose optimism gives way to disillusionment after a series of terrible misfortunes.

Public Domain (P)2010 AudioGo

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  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 08-09-12

Guaranteed to keep you smiling if not LOL

This was probably Not what most folks would think about this classic. This book is fraught with one-liners that are just hilarious. And to think that these one-liners came from a philosopher of the 1700’s makes it even more astonishing. A book that has remained essential reading for almost 400 years does not require a review by some amateur from our millennium nor could I do it justice. Suffice it to say that this book can be read by scholars who would find transcendental meanings of the times then and relevance for our times now. But, what makes a great book and what made it particularly appealing for me is that, while it can be completely dissected and analyzed, it can also be just thoroughly enjoyed at face value by anyone.

The performances by Jack Davenport were brilliant. Each character’s voice was distinct, seemingly appropriate and perfectly realized for the character performed. And there were plenty of “characters” alright. There was little of the “he said.... she said” monotony of some other books I have listened to. There were so many renditions by other narrators it was difficult to choose from among them. But again I think I lucked out. I cannot imagine any of the alternative narrators being better than Jack Davenport. Not that I think this book could not be appreciated in print. It certainly can. But Mr. Davenport just made it so much fun and really brought the book to life. I find myself smiling as I write this remembering just how much I laughed out loud.

71 of 72 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Spring, TX, United States
  • 06-02-12

Homers Odyssey meets Hitch-hikers Guide

Would you listen to Candide (AudioGO Edition) again? Why?

Yes - hilarious

Who was your favorite character and why?

Too many to choose

What does Jack Davenport bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Humour....

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

no

Any additional comments?

Great one-liners around every corner<br/>Candide was not at all what I expected..

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Phebe
  • Joppa, MD, United States
  • 01-30-13

Short, punchy, beautifully read

Candide is an easy and delightful classic, great for teens and adults. Jack Davenport's reading is superb -- my favorite is his interpretation of Martin, the pessimist. He brings out the sarcasm of this character very effectively.

A strange coincidence is Voltaire's description of the humorously reduced circumstances of a king of Corsica, which so closely describes Napoleon's exile on Elba that it is necessary to remember that Voltaire died before the French Revolution.

The dispassionate calm of this light work make it an excellent sleep book.The last line, of course, is still quoted everywhere today and the reader delivers it well, a triumphant solution to the puzzle of life.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Clean Slate of a Newborn

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. I read it many years ago and now that I am older, I was able to reiderate the many things I learned from it. I was a philosphy minor and we were all looking for the "truth" in those days. Many philosphers were busily trying to impress other with their great minds. Voltaire was very bright and was able to present the truth in what seemed a simplistic manner, but was anything but. Isaac Assimov could explain anything to anyone. The mark of true genius, as was Voltaire with his "simpleton" Candide.Candide was a newborn thrust out into the real world, like Dorothy from Kansas. There is so much humor in the names of the people encountered, and the politics of the day are the politics of all days. It's a classic for a reason. It covers all times.

What did you like best about this story?

The interjection of humor and irony.

Which scene was your favorite?

No one stands out. Naive Candide went from one impossible situation to another without a break.

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

Nope. Smiled a lot. I am over 50. One learns or dies by then.

Any additional comments?

Read this if you are young to learn. If you are older to reaffirm.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah
  • West Lebanon, NH, United States
  • 02-27-13

amusing and witty

this classic is amusing and witty, and the droll performance sets exactly the right tone for it. there were definitely some snigger-inducing moments. after a couple of hours it became a bit much of a muchness. there's only so much insanely unlikely misfortune (and the inevitable complaining and sighing the comes with it) that one can stand. happily, the punchline at the end was very satisfying, so I came away feeling quite content with the story.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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A classic of black humour

If you are a true believer and easily scandalised, this book’s not for you. If you are a fan of the irreverent, though, and would like to read an example of top-quality, vintage, black humour then it is.

The action is fast-paced and extreme. The jibes are well-aimed and funny. The writing is excellent and the narration in this version is top-notch.

Candide is Voltaire’s the most widely read work and, though relatively short, is considered a classic of Western literature. It undoubtedly inspired many authors of black humour that followed including, more recently, Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut. (Personally, I wonder if it didn’t also inspire some of the Monty Python troupe, directly or indirectly.)

[SPOILER ALERT] In the story Candide, the main character, goes from happy-go-lucky optimist to, well, probably a realist. Through a series of funny, terrible, outrageous, and/or shocking --but strangely credible-- events, Candide comes to doubt the teachings of the tutor, Pangloss. He asserts consistently that all is for the best, no matter how bad things seem. Pangloss asserts this even after he is killed. Along the way, government, religion, the wealthy, the learned, etc. are all rightfully and amusingly skewered. Yea!

I highly recommend this book if you have a skeptical nature and/or an iconoclastic bent. Though published in 1759, this classic is still funny and enjoyable today.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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An Absolute Gem

Candide, a naïve young man, follows the philosophy of optimism - "all is for the best" as his travels bring him and the other characters all sorts of horrible events and devastation (war, rape, slavery, earthquakes, religious persecution, murder).

In the end, he realizes life is constantly either anxiety or the lethargy of boredom and that life is best if we follow the advice "We must cultivate our garden" to try to rid ourselves of boredom, vice and need.

Very enjoyable, and the narration by Jack Davenport was fabulous.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Bonnie
  • Bellmore, NY, United States
  • 11-24-12

I read this in school many years ago

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Very much so, listening to the book for me was much better than reading it. The narrator, really made me understand the situations and characters much better than when I read it.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Candide realizes that the world is really made up of hypocrites, cheaters, fanatics, and insanity of religion.

Any additional comments?

When I read this book in school it just didn't get the way this audio version has. It really expresses Voltaire's views of religion, had the human condition that make religion flourish and manipulate man kind. A very simple book that show haw humanity even 250 years later has not changed much.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Never Thought I Would Read It...Glad I Did

Everyone should read this book several times in a lifetime. It was not as useful to me as it might have been when I read it for the first time at age seventy. The first reading should be no later than high school.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jami
  • VICTOR, NY, United States
  • 05-10-16

This Classic Did Not Disappoint

I approached this book with some trepidation, because I generally don't do well with either classics or satire; this is a combination of both genres. After having this sit on my to read audio shelf for some time, I decided to take the plunge. Surprise! I actually enjoyed this one and it made me laugh. The characters were fun and the adventures amusing for the most part. It is interesting to note that this was written hundreds of years ago, and yet some of the stereotypes that existed then (i.e., Jews swindling others out of wealth) are still around today.

I can see why this book is considered a classic. It is a short, fun read and not at all painful to get through, as some of the other classics have been. The narration was also good, and added to the enjoyment of the story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful