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The Vicar of Wakefield is a delightful book (from the late 18th or early 19th century), by Oliver Goldsmith (here narrated by Nicolas Farrell) that has held up as an engaging melodrama over a couple of centuries. The story concerns the Rev. Doctor Primrose and his family as they go from fortune to ruin, from living well to living precariously--typical of many stories of that time. If it seems a little predictable to us now, I suspect it was cherished by those who were reading it for the first time.
The story shows Rev. Primrose having to find ways to manage one crisis after another--whether losing his income, having his daughter fall into a bad situation, or people who are not what they seem. Throughout it all, he appears always to hold on to his optimism, indeed, others have likened him to (the Book of) Job in the Bible. Although less sophisticated than most of what we read these days, the story still is a good listen--and a reminder of what kind of stories used to excite an audience. (And by the way, there is much to take from it for our current times as well--certain human characteristics don't change that much). There is good tension among the characters, and certainly everything moves quickly--from one dilemma to the next. The Rev. Primrose and other characters are like the players in many novels of the time, in that they are, for the most part, rather two-dimensional.
Nicolas Farrell has done a very good job of bringing a fresh reading to us--and that is easily one of the best parts of this recording. If you are just yearning to have a fun read from the classics, this is quite good.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful
Not much if you compare it to a dickens or a Trollope And the reader was beyond tiresome
0 of 2 people found this review helpful
This is an unexpected treat. Was not too sure if I should buy it, now very glad I did. I like stories of the past, anything from 12th C to 19th C. They give you a sense of how people thought, morals, & society in general.
Too many areas of the story to pin down to one specific moment. So much of interest happening in this.
Nicholas Farrell's calm melodious narration is why this book works for me. He takes you through the story in a good clear voice , with enough variation in tone to smoothly keep you interested to the very end.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
BEWARE plot spoilers.
This book is at times very funny, and at others very sad. The titular Vicar and his family descend from good standing and wealth, to near poverty. They lose their children's reputations to wicked seducers, other children to death, nearly all perish when their house is burned to the ground, get swindled regularly by tricksters, and end up in a debtors prison. However at the end, all is restored, and more, with even a dead child coming back to life! The vicar 'narrates' the book, so all opinions are given via him, showing his thoughts about his wife, his situation etc with a slightly skewed but funny view point. One sentence which made me laugh out loud - when they want to get rid of a guest they don't like "I ever took care to lend him a riding coat, or a pair of boots, or sometimes an horse of small value, and I always had the satisfaction of finding he never came back to return them." It may be the way Nicholas Farrell narrates.