Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


by Voltaire
audiobook: 4.25 hours
narrated by Donal Donelly
originally published in 1759 in French

*** About the Book ***

This is a satire of the morals, opinions, class structure, etc. of Voltaire’s time. It follows the experiences of young Candide as he is kicked out of the castle where he worked as a servant and thrust out into the cruel world. Candide had been taught to believe that “everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds” but that belief is sorely strained as he arrested, beaten, robbed, and much more during his travels. Will he survive his ordeals? Will he be reunited with his love? Will he continue to be optimistic about the world?

*** Why I Read It ***

I was somewhat certain that I’d read this in college (now I’m thinking that I only read an excerpt of it) but I couldn’t recall anything about it. I figured it was one of those books that everyone seems to know about but few have actually read. And it is part of the 1,001 Books To Read Before You Die list and therefore counts for the 1% Well Read Challenge.

*** My Thoughts ***

Listening to this book has merely cemented my opinion that satires and me just don’t get along. I had that same thought before but I gave satire another shot anyway. Alas, to no avail; we are just not meant to be.

Not to say that I didn’t enjoy this book. There were parts where I laughed out loud at the sheer ridiculousness of it, and I definitely wasn’t bored or upset by the story. I just fail to appreciate satire for what it is.

*** About the Narrator ***

I've never heard Donal Donnelly narrate before, but I like him!  He did a wide variety of voices for this audiobook and gave it that "over-the-top" feeling that the book required.

*** Your Thoughts ***

If you’ve read this – either on your own or in school – what did you think of it? Do you like satirical works? Why or why not?


Allie said...

I read this a few years ago and I remember thinking it was rather silly and campy. I don't remember much of the story, but I do remember chuckling once in awhile. :)

GMR said...

Hmm..can honestly say I have never read this one, but KUDOS to you for giving it a chance! Too bad the styling didn't match, but the only way we discover that is by trying... ^_^

raych said...

ESPECIALLY historical/political satires, right? Because you have to be intimately acquainted with what they're satirizing, methinks, before the satire can be truly appreciated. Which is why I don't 'get' Gulliver's Travels

Aarti said...

Oh, I LOVED this book when I read it in high school! I thought it was so clever and witty. I also really loved the message about cultivating your own garden.

Heather J. said...

Allie - Campy is exactly the right word.

GMR - Yeah, I figured I'd give it a shot ... :)

raych - EXACTLY.

And as a side note, one of my Facebook Friends just posted that she read this in the original French. Now THAT is ambitious!

Heather J. said...

Aarti - The part about the garden WAS really good, I'll give it that!

Serena said...

I had no idea that they had this on audio! Fantastic. I've been wanting to reread I can listen to it instead!

Rebecca Reid said...

When I read it for fun when I was about 17 or 18, I don't think I knew what satire was. I loved it for the ridiculousness of it! I was thinking I really need to revisit it, since I can't remember the details anymore.

Heather J. said...

Serena - I enjoyed the narration - I'm sure you will as well. :)

Rebecca - It IS quite ridiculous, and entertaining in its way, but I just don't appreciate satire I guess ...

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