The Sot-Weed Factor

  • by John Barth
  • Narrated by Kevin Pariseau
  • 41 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Considered by critics to be Barth's most distinguished novel, The Sot-Weed Factor has acquired the status of a modern classic. Set in the late 1600s, it recounts the chaotic odyssey of the hapless, ungainly Ebeneezer Cooke. Cooke is sent to the New World to oversee his father's tobacco business and to record the struggles of the Maryland colony in an epic poem. On his mission, he is captured by pirates and Indians; loses his father's estate to roguish impostors; falls in love with a former prostitute; is nearly robbed of his virginity, which he is (almost) determined to protect; and meets a gallery of treacherous characters who continually switch identities.
The Sot-Weed Factor is a hilarious, bawdy tribute to all the most insidious human vices with lasting relevance for listeners of all times.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An adventure full of bawdy humour, wit and wonder

Though a lengthy work, John Barth's Sot-Weed Factor flows apace as the protagonist bumbles his way through myriad adventures in the late 1600's of England and America. Barth has a great turn of phrase, his wit magnified through his idealistic, hapless and often rather daft Ebinezer Cooke.

I am reminded of Voltaire's Candide, and would extend an extra recommendation to anyone who has appreciation for that work. The wit is two-fold in that much is humourous on the face of situation and yet the underbelly of issues related to colonialism, class structure, the struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism, as well as suffrage, to name a few, are raised by an ever changing cast of characters surrounding our main man Ebenezer. To boot there are a great many passages that toy and explore the notion of identity, and we witness a few switcheroos that play well in the adventure.

I was not surprised, though very pleased, to see that Kevin Pariseau is the narrator of choice for all of Barth's full length books, as he brings true character with his narration. Pariseau is a perfect match for this tale, and his phrasing, tone and pacing are pitch-perfect. He has done great justice to the spirit of the work and really has made it an audio book that engages and paints vivid scenarios in the mind.
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- Janice

One of my Favorite Titles

I was first exposed to The Sot Weed Factor in my first year English Lit class at university in 1972. I read this book at least once a year for many years until I lost my copy and found it difficult to find another. I have be hoping that it would be made as an audiobook, and now my hopes I come true.

Although the story can be a bit convoluted at times, it is always entertaining, usually funny and sometimes a bit ribald. Barth has managed to capture the life of the early 1600's in both England and the Americas, making it real to the reader on every level.

I just now downloaded it, and have not yet listened to it, but the story itself is incredible and I am sure the narrator will do it justice.
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- Brian B.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-07-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios