Robinson Crusoe

Written by:
Daniel Defoe
Narrated by:
Simon Vance

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
June 2008
10 hours 30 minutes
Widely regarded as the first English novel, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe is one of the most popular and influential adventure stories of all time. This classic tale of shipwreck and survival on an uninhabited island was an instant success when first published in 1719, and it has inspired countless imitations.

In his own words, Robinson Crusoe tells of the terrible storm that drowned all his shipmates and left him marooned on a deserted island. Forced to overcome despair, doubt, and self-pity, he struggles to create a life for himself in the wilderness. From practically nothing, Crusoe painstakingly learns how to make pottery, grow crops, domesticate livestock, and build a house. His many adventures are recounted in vivid detail, including a fierce battle with cannibals and his rescue of Friday, the man who becomes his trusted companion.

Full of enchanting detail and daring heroics, Robinson Crusoe is a celebration of courage, patience, ingenuity, and hard work.
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Simon Vance is my favorite reader, but this title was marred be regular audio edits made with different acoustics, too distracting. The story is excellent, an old classic I wanted to "read" again. Audio is better than reading with a good reader like Vance, bringing the characters much more to life than actual reading would.

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Not having read the full text before, I was surprised at the depth of this narrative. In its religious pedagogy and in the moments where we see Crusoe’s interior life – meaning his anxious ruminations on the meaning of adversity and prospect of salvation – the narrative is halfhearted and pat. But when it comes to describing the world outside, there is an unselfconscious realism and eye for detail that is fuller and more disruptive. The density and moral ambiguity of this narrative defies Crusoe’s conclusory interpretations. Crusoe is a likable chronicler, though, and reveals things despite himself. He switches in and out of the epistolary format, telling us what he saw and then telling us how he wrote the same thing down in his journal – usually in a more distant and compact fashion. This has the effect of drawing the reader into greater confidence than the intended audience of his journal.

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