The Adventures of Roderick Random Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Tobias Smollett, in his creation of the Scot Roderick Random, exposes the sheer incompetence and injustice of the Royal Navy, as well as the snobbery and hypocrisy prevalent in English middle-class society at the time. Set in the mid-18th century, this picaresque novel follows the life and adventures of Roderick, the eponymous hero who has been shunned by his gentleman father's family on the basis of the lowliness of his mother's family. Expelled from school, Roderick falls back on his natural wit and the support of his maternal uncle. Embarking on a global voyage, hindered by his naivete and with only a few friends to help him, he pursues the rich ladies of the world in order to rise into the high society from which he was rudely ejected. He ends up twice serving on British ships, latterly a warship onto which he is press-ganged. Where will his travels take him?
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|Listening Length||17 hours and 50 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||January 15, 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #199,920 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#637 in Satire Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#6,595 in Classic Literature (Audible Books & Originals)
#11,249 in Fiction Satire
Top reviews from the United States
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Roderick Random is a rollicking tale of a bounder who believe he should be owed the estate of a gentleman. A vain glorious young man who is hoodwinked at very turn. As he says.... stupefied as I was ....I curse my simplicity.
""Without doubt, you have been guilty of numberless transgressions, to which youth is subject, as swearing, drunkenness, whoredom, and adultery; tell me therefore, without reserve, the particulars of each, especially the last, that I may be acquainted with the true state of your conscience...."
Roderick, a thoroughgoing, Scottish Ant-Papist will have none of it and soon recovers.
I am reminded of Joseph Conrad's short story "Youth" which I recommend to all who enjoy this book. - But, in the end, Conrad's story is the philosophically deeper and more true-to-life narrative than this one.-Again, the ending, for this reader, was just too pat and soppy. I am not trying to be a "spoiler" here and ruin the reading of the book and imperiling this review, by telling you potential readers what it is. You don't need me for that. You will have figured it out about a hundred pages before the end. And, for the record, I believe that this misguided idea of not being able to include the reviewer's analysis of a book's ending seriously handicaps the reviewer as well as insults the reader's intelligence. ---But, I have to abide by the rules in order that this review be posted. So be it.
Anyway, a delightful 18th century romp, until the predictable winding down.
Top reviews from other countries
This tale follows Roderick Random from his birth onwards. Born in Scotland his father was disinherited for marrying his mother. His mother dies shortly after his birth and his father disappears leaving him to be brought up by his grandfather. Abused at school, and having to make his own way in the world Roderick travels to London with a friend. Using his own experiences Smollett weaves a good story that is semi-autobiographical in parts. Meeting a multitude of people on his travels Random eventually joins the Royal Navy as a surgeon's mate. Smollett drew heavily on his own experiences to portray life as it was then in the navy, and in the battle that was fought that was part of that little known war, 'The War of Jenkin's Ear'.
After leaving the navy Random joins the French Army before coming into contact with his friend again. Setting himself up as a gentleman Random then tries to be a fortune hunter, looking for a rich wife to live off. Random finds friends, people who sponge off him, outright cads and a number of other people that bring this tale to life. Some complain that his female characters are one dimensional, but Smollett was writing for a predominately male audience, and they are there really as foils to the story.
With some great humour, including toilet humour, along with biting satire, especially how the navy and government worked in those days this book has a lot to offer anyone interested in the literautre of the 18th century, as well as what the world was like in those days.