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The Good Soldier Svejk

Written by: Jaroslav Hasek
Narrated by: David Horovitch
Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Jaroslav Hasek's world-famous satirical farce The Good Soldier Svejk has been translated into over 60 languages, and is one of the best-known Czech works ever published.

A soldier in the First World War who never actually sees any combat, Josef Å vejk is the awkward protagonist - and none of the other characters can quite decide whether his bumbling efforts to get to the front are genuine or not. Often portrayed as one of the first anti-war novels, Hasek's classic satire is a tour-de-force of modernist writing, influencing later writers such as Hemingway, Faulkner and Joseph Heller.

©2008 Naxos Audiobooks (P)2008 Naxos Audiobooks

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 05-07-12

If you need a good laugh

What did you love best about The Good Soldier Svejk?

Svejk is the embodiment of Czech passive resistance to foreign domination, in this case Austro-Hungarian, and later, Russian Bolsheviks. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether he's really a "patent idiot" as he proudly proclaims, or a conniving saboteur who can wreck the simplest orders with creative application of cheerful obedience coupled with elastic morality.

But Svejk the idiot seems positively sensible when confronted with the Imperial war machine, which even without Svejk's help manages to sabotage its own greatness through equally imbecilic acts of obedience.

If you're feeling a bit oppressed by some misbegotten authority or asinine bureacracy, this book is for you. The Czechs have mastered the art of patient suffering, so the book is surprisingly lighthearted given the weight of its content. You'll feel a lot better afterwards.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Good Soldier Svejk?

Svejk helpfully offers to haul a load of books from brigade office and deliver them to the staff. When the train is called to leave midway through the task, Svejk commits a blunder so serious that even he is not authorized to know what he has done.

Who was the most memorable character of The Good Soldier Svejk and why?

Svejk of course is the centerpiece of the novel. Second after that is probably poor Lieutenant Lukaš, a career officer and lothario who fails on numerous occasions to rid himself of Svejk.

Any additional comments?

The audiobook is "abridged" from the original without serious loss. There is a certain amount of ribald activity and some really eloquent cursing (how many ways are there to call a soldier a "bastard"?), delivered in a British comedic style that would be at home in a Monty Python.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • igoriokas
  • 25-07-10

Too abridged

Brilliant narration.
Good book.
Would like it better in unabridged version.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Justin R.
  • 21-06-17

Beg to report sir!

Can't give story 5 stars because this is abridged which means you can't read along while listening because some parts are snipped. Otherwise this was great listenin.

Svejk would be an awesome person to meet in real life. I actually laughed out loud at least once hearing about one of his mishaps. The performance is brilliant and the characters felt animated.

This was recommended during a lecture in TGC: World War I: The Great War.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • H. M. Neely
  • 11-02-15

Great WWI Farce; Great reading

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The reader is terrific! I will look for his other work. Jaroslav Hasek's comic masterpiece, despite (unwelcome) abridgment, and the fact that the original novel was unfinished, is still an absolute delight from the very first paragraph.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Prabudh
  • 14-12-15

excellent narratiion of a brilliant book,

if you have a knack for satire, well this is one of the best pieces you will ever Come across. The narration is extraordinary.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Virginia Waldron
  • 21-10-13

Satirical and Amusing

This is a social commentary and uses humour and satire to make political points. It is well narrated and the story is entertaining. Not my favourite book but interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LopLop
  • 09-06-19

lives up to its reputation

I've been wanting to read this for decades. It's perfect in its humor, absurdism, and biting sarcasm with regard to war, modern life, and bureaucracy. I know this is only one translation and I've read that there is another that is supposed to be better. But I have only this to go on and I loved it. Hasek wrote more tales of The Good Soldier Svejk, but since his adventures could go on and on, starting with his first, shorter book, is perfectly fine and I'm glad I chose it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David Evan Glasser
  • 01-11-18

One of a kind satire

David Horovitch has done an extraordinary job of narration, adapting his voice for the various characters. I first read Schweik more than 50 years ago and found the audio version a wonderful reminder and delight at this rare satire.

David Evan Glasser

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • marek
  • 13-07-09

comedy clasics

It is one of the best comedy books ever written.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Russell Bernard
  • 22-07-18

Wickedly entertaining

The narration is fantastic and not to be missed the different characters come to life with David’s different voices.
The stories are entertaining and funny, well worth the time of this lighthearted classic of the war.
You never know if Svejk is an idiot or knows all the time what is going on and just trying to mess things up.
I found this book very entertaining.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-08-18

A remarkable and incredibly funny book

This book perfectly shows the absurdity of war and monarchies of the 20th century through an incredibly funny story.

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  • stefan redwood
  • 02-08-17

Great read

Great read. Hilarious story and main character. Exceptional performance. Overall, a very enjoyable book to listen to :) Wish it were longer