Summary

This brilliant satirical novel, tracing the life and loves of Ernest Pontifex, has continued in popularity since its original publication in 1903. Every generation finds in The Way of All Flesh a reaffirmation of youth's rightful struggle against the tyranny of harsh parents and its admirable will for freedom of personal expression. This is one of the most fascinating character studies you will ever read, the story of a young man who survives the baleful influence of a hateful, hypocritical father, a doting mother, and a debauched wife, to emerge as a decent, happy human being. It is also a stinging satire of Victorian gentry, their pomposity, sentimentality, pseudo-respectability, and refined cruelty, a satire still capable of delivering death-blows to the same traits that exist in our present world.
(P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Edmund on 08-03-10

undiscovered masterpiece

I can see why this was such an influential book on Huxley, Graves Waugh etc. It even anticipates Larkin's 'they f**k you up your mum and dad.' Hugely satisfying

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Elizabeth on 19-03-16

Read very well and the book itself is fantastic

I have already read this book a lot so I knew the story and the writing would entertain me. Butler writes about the behaviours of difficult parents and takes the reader through an entire generation of a family, and life of Earnest, very stylishly. The reader does justice to butler and makes the overall experience of this audio book a great pleasure. If you haven't yet read or heard this book please do. it's one of the greats.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Eric on 15-08-05

A masterpiece&the narrator isn't so bad after all

When I originally attempted to listen to this book, I was completely offended by the narrator. After bearing through it for some time (and adjusting the equalizer to drown out his slurping and breathing) I was treated to a wonderful story about morals, morality, and moralism. The difference is subtle, but striking, and Butler conveys it masterfully with fine character development, plot, and not too little psychological and philosophical anlysis. It is even better than I expected too because the narrator turns out to be an amazing actor and he is really able to draw the audience in with his diverse voice. The book is truly a masterpiece and it is a wonder how it was written before the 20th century (so many of its themes became mainstays in the literature of the last century). Listen and enjoy.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Connie on 04-06-08

classic satire- would make Jon Stewart laugh

I found this laugh-out-loud funny in places. I read the novel in the 80s and it was even better as an audiobook. My prof for a course in 19th century novel said about it, "No one born in this century can enjoy this humour." I disagreed with her then, and still do --as would the other reviewers! Like good wine, it got better with age.

This novel would appeal to fans of Anthony Trollope, with satire a bit more savage and prose less meandering than the Postmaster's.

The prose is at times dense, so it's perhaps not a novel for listeners new to audiobooks if they want to grasp all the satire which is often conveyed quickly and/or through understatement.

Davidson is one of my favourite narrators, but this is not a sample of his best work --with, for example, the audible breathing as mentioned by another reviewer.

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10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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