Sunday, March 22, 2015

Book review: Gulliver's Travels

I recently finish Gulliver's Travels (using both the audiobook and the kindle version), and I must admit that I was more disappointed with it than I should have been.  I understand that Jonathan Swift was a political satirist, and the greatest prose satirist of his time (and perhaps ever).  With that said, I found Gulliver's Travels to repetitive at best.  He used four different stories to say the same thing -- human society is terrible, and we ought to be ashamed of it.  Note that the novel is set in 18th century England, and I think a lot of his criticisms are still valid.

The bit that perhaps drove me the battiest was that the main character's family was a complete afterthought.  Gulliver didn't seem to care about them at all, which is perhaps also part of the satire, but I think had more to do with the time period and setting.  It was something that I simply can't relate to at all, and made Gulliver extremely unsympathetic and non-endearing.

One technical note: the audiobook recording was very good.  It was the David Hyde Pierce-narrated version.  The kindle book, however, ended after the third section -- it did not include the story of the Houyhnhnm.  Inexplicable.

Story: 3 stars
Audiobook recording: 4 stars
Kindle version: 2 stars

Overall, 3 stars.  Again, I'm disappointed that I don't like it more, but not all classics align with every person's preferences...

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