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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Narrated by: Nick Offerman
Length: 13 hrs and 25 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (49 ratings)

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Editor reviews

Editors Select, September 2017

I didn't think it was possible. Nick Offerman's reading of Tom Sawyer is one of my all-time favorites - a performance that made me fall in love with Twain's classic all over again. But I may actually love his performance here even more. The character of Hank Morgan - a bearish, no-nonsense adherent to practicality and pragmatism - could be seen as a natural predecessor to Ron Swanson (the character Offerman played in Parks and Recreation) as well as the very embodiment of the gumption the actor writes of in his own work. That is to say, this is a character tailor-made for Offerman. Even better is the fact that we get to hear him voice boastful knights and flittery damsels and a villainous Merlin. But mostly, I'm happy to see Offerman quickly becoming the go-to performer and interpreter of Twain's brilliant stories. —Doug, Audible Editor

Summary

Praise for Nick Offerman narrating Mark Twain:

“Offerman’s Illinois-raised voice and actor’s talent suit him ideally to channel Mark Twain.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“There’s something about his wry Midwestern merriment that aspires to Twainishness.” (Men’s Journal)

“It’s a melding of sardonic voices: Mark Twain, meet Nick Offerman.” (The Wall Street Journal)

With his trademark mirth and boundless charisma, actor Nick Offerman brought the loveable shenanigans of Twain's adolescent hero to life in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Now, in yet another virtuosic performance, the actor proves that despite being separated by a span of over a century, his connection to the author and his work is undeniable and that theirs is a timeless collaboration that should not be missed. Trading in the idyllic banks of Twain's Mississippi for medieval England, Offerman regales listeners with one of American literature's foremost satires and the author's most inventive and darkly funny pieces of fiction.

Hank Morgan is the archetype of modern man in 19th-century New England: adept at his trade as a mechanic, innovative, forward thinking. So when a blow to the head inexplicably sends him back in time 1300 years and places him in Camelot, instead of despair, he feels emboldened by the prospect placed before him and sets out to modernize and improve the lives of his fellow citizens. But, in order to do so, he'll need to contend with brash nobles, superstitious nincompoops, and a conniving, blowhard wizard.

While time travel has become a common trope in storytelling today, in Twain's time it was truly a novel idea; all the more imaginative when you consider how it's used for satirical effect. A thinly veiled critique of the political and social institutions that impede progress and a scathing condemnation of the naiveté that allows them to thrive, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court saw Twain's biting wit and sharp tongue honed to a fine point.

Told primarily through Hank's first-person perspective, Offerman effortlessly captures the Yankee's straightforward, matter-of-fact gruffness. Like Offerman - whose woodworking skills are the stuff of legend - Hank is a natural builder of things and his can-do, by-the-bootstraps spirit finds its vocal foil in Offerman's crisp delivery. But it's in Offerman's ability to convey the myriad characters and absurdities Hank faces that makes this an incomparable listening experience: the flowery embellishments and insane braggadocio of knights; the lilting, feathery sing-song of Clarence; the garrulous, long-winded pomp of the aristocracy; the old, dithering windbag pronouncements of Merlin. Offerman plays each of these with a humor and humanity that Twain himself would have enjoyed.

Public Domain (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Tedious and dispiriting

I thought I knew the story in essence but hadn't realised just how cynical Twain can be. This is not remotely the whimsical romp I had remembered from an old children's version and the Bing Grosby movie, but is rather a vehicle for the author's opinions on politics and especially established religion. He just goes on and on about it. There doesn't seem to be any aspect of the (mythical) Camelot that he likes. Everyone he meets is a fool, deluded by tradition and custom, in thrall to a perverse social system sustained by the Church. Even when you accept much of what he says at face value (the divine right of kings is an easy target), his monomania about it is wearing and there is very little humour to lighten the mood. The whole thing comes across like a pamphlet dressed up as a novel. It's like reading a 19th-century diatribe against cock-fighting.

The reading is extremely good, so the problem is with the material rather than the production.

3 people found this helpful

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A fantastic tale

A Fantasy of a time long ago.
Like a dream combining two worlds 1300 years apart.
Imaginative and creative unlike all the other stories of time travel you've ever heard. Lose yourself in the land of King Arthur and his knights with a twist of modern technology for added wonder.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book spoken in it's bygone tongue and utterly humourous insanity.
As it carries the listener to a land of make believe and fairytale landscapes, alongside the hardships and cruelty of the medieval realm.
It's a pleasure to be taken off in to a past that never really happened just and escape from the normality of every day life.
So allow the story to carry you far off to a world beyond this one and unlike any thing you've heard before.

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Such dull narration

I lasted an hour, praying it would improve, but sadly it didn’t. Quite archaic language, which can be brought to life by the right narrator. But this wasn’t the right narrator. The story was very slow. Maybe it would have been ok with a more exciting reader, but I’ll never know. I gave up.

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Twain at his best

The story may be nearly 200 years old, but it is as fresh and entertaining, humorous and challenging as it was when Twain penned it at the end of the 19th Century!

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No review can do this justice...

A story of Mark Twain narrated to such believable perfection I almost thought that Nick Offerman was in fact the lead character narrating a recount of his true to life story to me, a story that taught me more about life and society than I though possible, and in the end... broke my heart.

1 person found this helpful

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A fantastic voice and word combination

Mark Twain's words in Nick Offerman's tones make for a top quality audiobook. One of the most enjoyable I have experienced for a while.

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Brilliantly read

Nick Offerman is the perfect voice for Twain. He is a pleasure to listen to. The story itself is a pleasure too. Particularly if you are at all familiar with Thomas Malory's Morte D'Arthur or any of the King Arthur legends.

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Overcame a problem

Was able to finish the book and thoroughly enjoyed it, fantastic listen, well narrated and very funny.

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  • Philip M. Chute
  • 23-10-17

Mark Twain and Nick Offerman are a perfect match

The narration is perfect for the wit and sarcasm throughout this classic. The book is timeless and still great fun. I hope Nick Offerman reads more of Twain's novels.

58 people found this helpful

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  • james galvin
  • 22-11-17

I would give Nick Offerman 10 stars if I could

This book is Timeless. It is hard to believe that Mark Twain wrote this in 1889. It is all about capitalism, fraud, the effect of the church, and the ever present con artist. It may take place with the language and gallantry of the knights of the round table but it could be happening today. That is what makes him such a powerful writer. And to have it delivered by Nick Offerman just makes it MAGIC!

35 people found this helpful

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  • Mark T. Branden
  • 26-10-17

Mark Twain + Nick Offerman = Auditory Mirth

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is a literary treasure as it stands alone. When combined with Mr. Offerman's scotch-smooth rendition, its value only increases. It is as if Mark Twain used his protagonist's time traveling ability to pen a novel knowing the exact person for it to be read by 125 years later.

19 people found this helpful

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  • numex
  • 02-11-17

Never knew...

...anything about Mark Twain, except Tom and Huck. I laughed and laughed at the tremendous wit of Twain and narration of Mr. Offerman. What a treat.

45 people found this helpful

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  • David I. Williams
  • 08-01-18

Excellent Production

It has been over thirty years since I last read Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The story is just as I remembered, though I had forgotten some details. Of course a 43 year old sees things missed by his 13 year old self. This is a masterpiece by the great American master. How can you make Twain even better? Add Nick Offerman as the reader. Offerman is brilliant. I’m sad I can only give five stars.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Brittany Guarna
  • 22-08-18

Nick Offerman's performance is stellar!

I really liked this story; it might have been a little slow in some parts, but had great humor! Nick Offerman's performance took this to the next level. The combination of the dry humor and his performance had me laughing throughout this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it - and it's a very unique story. Loved!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jared G
  • 07-06-18

Very dry delivery

I like Mark Twain's writing as a rule, and this story is somewhat interesting in premise if very slow (might have been the delivery). From a story perspective I think it's that we only really know what the protagonist is thinking and most of the other characters are extremely one dimensional.
From a narration standpoint, maybe I should have known going in to an Offerman reading, but this ended up being just way too slow and dry for me. I forced my way through a few chapters but it just never picked up. I don't think this is how Hank would actually sound. I think he was a man with fire in him and this was the wrong direction to take the read. I couldn't finish.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Josh Carr Superstar
  • 29-09-17

So funny

Such a funny book, Nick Offerman was the perfect choice. Without a doubt he is the boss

19 people found this helpful

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  • Mitch Pillarick III
  • 02-10-17

Sir Nick Offerman is the Boss

It wasn’t long into this tale before I began imagining Nick Offerman himself as the main protagonist. In those intentional gaps in character development authors often leave for the reader to determine, such as unspoken mannerisms or physical characteristics, I unconsciously filled in with the mustachioed presence of the narrator. This complemented the work well. If this acting thing does not work out for the noted woodworker turned thespian, then he may just yet have a future in recounting the works of Mr. Twain.

13 people found this helpful

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  • unix_geek
  • 25-09-17

Nobody is better suited to reading this book

Nick Offerman is the perfect voice for this classic story. Wonderfully done. The best audio book I’ve listened to. The characters were well-performed, clear and distinct, and it was read in a comfortable and familiar way.

22 people found this helpful