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Animal Farm

Narrated by: Simon Callow
Length: 3 hrs and 11 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (4,964 ratings)

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Summary

Just as relevant today as it was when it was first published, this classic work of fiction is given a new lease of life through Simon Callow's imaginative narration. First-time listeners and Orwell veterans alike will delight in this audiobook version.

Animal Farm is George Orwell's great socio-political allegory set in a farmyard, where the animals decide to seize the farmer's land and create a co-operative that reaps the benefits of their combined labours.

However, as with all great political plans, some animals see a bigger share of the rewards than others, and the animals start to question their supposed utopia. They decide that working for humans is doing them no favours, so under the leadership of Napoleon, the only Berkshire Boar on the farm, and the other pigs, they drive out the farmer and his cohorts and set about structuring their own society.

Based on a list of supposedly animal-friendly rules such as "four legs good, two legs baaaaad", the animals work together to harvest their own food and run their own farm. However, little by little, the rules begin to mysteriously change, and the pigs seem to gain power little by little, making the animals question what society they were striving for in the first place and whether their new-found freedom is as liberating as they might have hoped.

With direct allusions to political figures such as Lenin, Marx, Trotsky, Stalin, and Molitov, to name but a few, Animal Farm is one of the greatest socio-political works of all time, and this UNABRIDGED audio does it absolute justice.

©1945 George Orwell Estate (P)2009 CSA Word

What listeners say about Animal Farm

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Brilliant classic, superbly read by Simon Callow

Great to be entertained by Simon Callow's performance while revisiting Orwell's classic, Animal Farm. I read this decades ago while still at school - and while dated in some respects it remains a classic and can be re-read now as a commentary on trust and government, on slogans rhetoric and spin, and on totalitarianism, democracy and accountability.

The plot is well known - animals on a farm (Manor Farm) overthrow the owner and rename it as Animal Farm. They institute a new governance system initially based on freedom, equity and rights, but it is not long before the self-proclaimed leaders (the pigs) use their power (including the ability to read) to enrich themselves, suppress others, twist and reinterpret values, and rewrite history.

The famous slogan "Four legs good, Two legs bad" plus other political promises and principles of "Animalism" are revised, rewritten, and brutally corrupted as time goes on. Core values are rewritten as a single slogan "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others" and the pig leaders become indistinguishable from the humans whose earlier exploitation of animals on the farm had led them to revolt.

In fewer than four hours this (not so) tall tale presents a recognisable dystopian future.

Lots to enjoy and think about... despite it being depressingly applicable to so many different contexts, both near and far...

32 people found this helpful

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More relevant now than ever!

If you could sum up Animal Farm in three words, what would they be?

It's politics today!

What did you like best about this story?

The humour

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Every scene was enjoyable, but I wanted to kill those bladdy sheep!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to it in one afternoon.

Any additional comments?

I have never liked Simon Callow, but he has won me around with this. His reading of this classic is just brilliant.

20 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

hilarious

A hilarious book with excellent narration - exactly how I had pictured it in my head when reading the print version.

6 people found this helpful

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Not to be missed

I've always wanted to read this book and had a vague idea what to expect. The reader is outstanding and has immense skill in bringing the story to life, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it really reminded me in many ways of a place I used to work! (all employees were equal there too, till it came to holidays, perks, breaks, sick leave, pay.... Let's leave it there, that's another ( far less interesting) story)
Callow is a warm, creative narrator and the brief musical interludes really work well, enjoy .

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

A classic

I first read this when I was at school. It is well worth 're-visiting this story which has a message that we could take away today.

It is well read and I really enjoyed the characters of the animals building and changing over time.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully read - adds to the enjoyment

I've not read this since school so this was a splendid listen. Simon Callow was a great choice as doesn't disappoint - he brings the characters to life brilliantly to this wonderful tale.

7 people found this helpful

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Gave me shivers

The reading is a work of theatre far from being flatly read, the book was read with different voices and intonation to show each character.
The parallels with reality revolt me from my very guts.
A classic, for a reason.

5 people found this helpful

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  • 28-05-15

...some narrators are more equal than others

Animal Farm is the classic allegorical novel that I can't believe I hadn't read before! It's a fascinating listen, but all the same a pretty negative reflection on humanity. There is humour and warmth, but there are several shocking scenes and I felt tearful at a couple of points in the story. Simon Callow's narration is absolutely brilliant - I believed in every character.

2 people found this helpful

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So much more to it!

I hadn't read Animal Farm since my schooldays. The story seems just as relevant today and The Farm is no longer the simple metaphor for Communism, as I was led to believe. I don't know whether the teachers had it wrong or it is due to my age/maturity or, perhaps, the global changes in both social and political life. At times, I was certain that many of our current politicians, across the board, had actually used some of the phrases the animals use (with slight modification of course). It really is a remarkable novel and it has to be said that Simon Callow really does it justice.

Well worth a listen!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A Clasic,and rightly so

Originally read this book 30 years ago when its relevence to the Communist/Western divide was in much starker contrast.Its simply a classic and worth reading by any "young" person who wants to see how power corrupts.I have taken an interest in George Orwell and his writings in recent times and it helps to see how he viewed the world of the 1930's and 40's.Animal Farm is recommended for its insight into how a state can control its citizens.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Avinash Ripla
  • 22-01-18

Great narrative

I loved the narrative. Mr Simon had me captivated with every voice tone to the characters

1 person found this helpful

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  • AS
  • 14-05-17

The perfect combination of story and reading!

I can only second the title here. The story itself is great, funny and yet about serious things. The reading performance is top notch, it would probably be impossible to do it better! Combining these two, it's hard to find a better way to spend your​ Audible credit!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 11-09-13

Essential

Everyone should buy this audiobook, whether you’ve read Animal Farm previously, or not.

For those familiar with the story, there is so much joy to be had from Simon Callow’s fantastic and fantastical reading. From the first sentence, I was mesmerized. His interpretation of Stalin… sorry… I mean Napoleon… is a delight. And at just over 3h, why not revisit the material?

For those who haven’t read the book before, what a great introduction. I’m not an expert on the Soviet revolution and the subsequent Stalin cult of personality, so Animal Farm – for me – remains the best and simplest allegory of this strange period of human history. Because the symbols have been boiled down to their most basic elements, I wouldn’t describe anything here as “dazzling”. But it’s this very simplicity that will keep you engaged. Strip away all the metaphor and dystopia, and you’ll see that Animal Farm is also a touching and charming story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jurgis
  • 01-01-20

Great short read on development of communism

Loved the book and how it reflects a journey of a fictional society that adopts communism as a ruling form. A great read with a simple explanation about how communism works in an isolated setting. Easy to listen, a relaxing story, very short.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-11-19

This was recommended and i liked it

Many people recommended this novel to me and after reading it I can see why. The story was very well written, there are many interesting characters and settings. The ways that it criticises not only commmunism and the countries who practiced it like the USSR, but the human nature itself, all through its animal characters. The narration was also done pretty well and the music between the chapters was very well done. Over all, I loved this book, and I'd definitely recommend it.

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  • Ana Monteiro
  • 19-07-19

+

Loved the book and the listening experience. Became a fan of audio books. Starting the next asap

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-03-19

Insightful and relevant to our day and age

The insight of Orwell into the mechanism with which leftism drives reason out... Truly brilliant.

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  • Gabriel
  • 18-01-19

Of course, a classic

I always find it frightening how populism currents seem to be poor copies of these amazing books, yet, the vast majority fails to notice the patterns and similarities. 4 legs good, 2 legs bad all over again

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  • Kathryn Dunn
  • 23-03-15

Thought Provoking

It's one of those stories I can't honestly say I liked due to the subject matter but am glad I listened to. Read excellently by Simon Cowell so much do I put off listening to certain portions of the book.

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  • Michael
  • 20-08-13

I don't think George was a fan of Stalin

Classic that is a good fable. We all know it is Communist Russia and Napoleon the pig is actually Stalin, sorry did I just do a spoiler alert? Well, it isn't as great as '1984' but Mr Orwell is a great author, just don't expect any 'OMG' moments or twists in the tale. Never trusted pigs anyway, but you have to give it to them, without opposable thumbs they certainly do run an efficient farm.