Tristram Shandy

  • by Laurence Sterne
  • Narrated by Peter Barker
  • 21 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is a novel by Laurence Sterne considered one of the greatest comic novels in English.
It was published in nine volumes, the first two appearing in 1759, and seven others following over the next 10 years.
Laurence Sterne (1713 - 1768) was an Irish-born English novelist and an Anglican clergyman.
Please note: This is a vintage recording. The audio quality may not be up to modern day standards.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

My wound in the groin

For years I've known Tristram Shandy by reputation but never got on with it. I've listened to it complete now and I am getting to love it. For a book that makes such a point of being a printed thing (blank pages, chapters in the wrong order, wiggles on the page and so on) it is not the most obvious choice for a talking book, but this way I could let the (probably deliberate) longeurs (the sermon Trim reads and so forth) wash over me, and appreciate the wacky world Sterne creates. Whenever I've driven past Namur in Belgium, I've always murmured "my uncle Toby's wound in the groin". It is all the more vivid now, and I'll never know what the Widow Wadman found out whether Toby could still get it up after the wound.

The smuttiest book ever written by an Anglican vicar.
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- Jackson

An absolute gem. Straight into my all time top 5

Where does Tristram Shandy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Well, the headline pretty answers that one. I had no previous conceptions or expectations (so why buy it I hear you ask) about Tristram Shandy. I gave it a go and boy (or girl) I'm sooo glad I did. The title kind of gives the impression that it will be a serious, drawn out, Victorian "classic" trudge. I couldn't have been more wrong.

What did you like best about this story?

The story, as such, is described as the life and opinions of, the a fore mentioned, Tristram Shandy. The biographical elements provide opportunity to humorously explore various opinions however the subjects explored and how they're explored elevate the book to another level. One topic explored that springs to mind is the numerous advantages and values of a lengthy nose in many practical and social situations. The discussion drills down into the impact a midwife and/or wet nurse and the physical qualities of the bosom and associated breast feeding can have on the development of the nose and subsequently the life and times of it's wearer. This is explored over various chapters and is one of the many off the wall topics encountered in the work. Obviously the author benefited from an extensive and classical education and the references to history, philosophy, theology, mythology, military history etc are peppered throughout the book and enrich it even further. I've been searching for a book just like this since finishing Don Quixote, which is of a similar style, though different topic obviously.

What about Peter Barker’s performance did you like?

Briefly wooden performance on outset though as the book progresses you can feel Peter's confidence and familiarity with the content and style grow. It's a good, natural flow rate with neutral accent, no strange mispronunciations, which happens at times in other audio books, other than a few Americanisations or should I say Americanizations. Nothing to distract from the book, performance or story.

Any additional comments?

In a nutshell it's intellectual and funny. Almost a precursor to the off beat Monty Python type alternative humour. I can't begin to imagine how it must have been received back in the 1700's. An absolute classic of English literature and one I wish I'd discovered decades ago.

There is a note (on the audible website) stating "This is a vintage recording" and at times that's evident. There's some paper rustling, background crackle/static, odd clicks, throat clearing etc. but honestly it's minor stuff and in no way interferes with or detracts from the experience.

Fantastic piece of literature which I desperately hope I'll be able to find something of similar style and quality. I was sad when Don Quixote finished and struggled to find anything to match it. This came very, very close. The search is now back on...

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- M. Hewitt

Book Details

  • Release Date: 21-08-2009
  • Publisher: RNIB