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The Diary of a Nobody

Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
Length: 4 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (138 ratings)

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Editor reviews

Martin Jarvis simply owns this comic novel about hapless London city clerk Charles Pooter, an endearing stuffed shirt whose life is a series of misunderstandings. Written in 1892 by two actor brothers, one of whom starred in Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas, this fictitious diary gives voice to the grandiose hopes, simple pleasures, near misses, and outright disasters that comprise most peoples' lives. Jarvis's Pooter speaks with orotund vowels and a bemused tone. As this is a diary, Pooter necessarily tells the story, but Jarvis gives such life to Pooter's comments about his companions that we imagine their voices clearly. The diary is interspersed with snippets of period classical music, which add to the all-around pleasure.

Summary

The Diary of Nobody (1892) created a cultural icon, an English archetype. Anxious, accident-prone, occasionally waspish, Charles Pooter has come to epitomize English suburban life. His diary chronicles encounters with difficult tradesmen, the delights of home improvements, small parties, minor embarrassments, and problems with his troublesome son. The suburban world he inhabits is hilariously and painfully familiar in its small-mindedness and its essential decency.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2005 Naxos Audiobooks (P)2005 Naxos Audiobooks

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An utter delight

Martin Jarvis is of course a master of the audiobook and this is a wonderfully uplifting showcase for his talents.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A classic of comedy

I can't begin to think how many times I've read 'The Diary of a Nobody', but this audio version still managed to bring out comic details I'd never noticed before! It's an enduring classic of quintessentially English humour.

Martin Jarvis reads brilliantly, and you can really picture Mr Pooter setting down his diary entries every night. This is a book not to be missed.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I love this audio book.

I have listened to this book so many times and it still makes me laugh. The narrator is fantastic and really adds to the story. I would def reccomend this book.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Still chuckling after many readings and listenings

I love this book , I have read it a good few times and listened to it similarly and still I chuckle at Mr. Pooter's tales of his life. A wonderful slice of life that has characters that are timeless and vivid in their portrayal. I have shamelessly pressed copies of the book on family.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Necessary medicine for all

Keep this one in your collection. A classic for everyone. Feeling low? 15 mins blast of this will sort you out. I'm not usually a fan of M Jarvis but by jove he owns this. Brilliant! Cracking stuff.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Delight

Always amusing Martin Jarvis' reading brings this brilliantly humourous book to life. Reccomended.

1 person found this helpful

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Great work and great performance

This is one of those timeless works whose meaning and excellence is brought out further by a first-rate reading. You get this here: Jarvis conveys a little, background note of amusement and a bigger,foreground, tone of empathy, just as required.

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A perfect book to have read to you

Martin Jarvis gets every character exactly right.

I've always loved The Diary of a Nobody, not just because of how very funny it is but for the sense it gives you of that sort of lower middle class society at that moment in time.

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Funny As Ever

I read this book many years ago and it is as amusing now, if not better as an audiobook. It contains many laugh out load moments. Martin Jarvis's narration does it justice.

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Wonderful!

I haven't enjoyed a story so much in years! I read it when I was at school, and realise again why I was so taken by it first time around. It's historically fascinating, although surprisingly contemporary in so many ways. It's also a wonderfully tender portrayal of the relationship between a husband and wife! ... and a father and son. Martin Jarvis does it great justice. Thank you!!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Virginia Waldron
  • 15-10-08

Hilarious and Suprebly Read

This is one of my favourite books. It is delightful and funny. Gentle humour pervades this endearing tale of an ordinary man, his family and friends of a past era. I laugh aloud with this book. The narrator is marvellous and does not let one joke or nuance slip. I have read this book many times and have listened to the audio book version many times too. Charming and uproariously amusing. Magnificent performance. A happy book!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • John S.
  • 24-04-10

The Original "Sad Sack"

What a roller coaster ride following the mundane life of Victorian clerk Charles Pooter - two setbacks for every break he catches, though that's often his own fault, given his petty, narrow outlook.
Jarvis' narration effectively highlights Pooter's pomposity, and general cluelessness.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Katherine
  • 27-11-18

A Classic Commentary

Beautifully performed portrait of London suburban life 130 years ago. Lovable narrator and short, punchy comedic turns. Sweet.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J. Mittler
  • 04-06-18

absolutely loved it

this is the second time I've listened to this book. I am sure I will listen again. It is a wonderful story if you like humorous British fiction. Absolutely fantastic.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathan
  • 09-07-12

English classic performed very well.

Where does The Diary of a Nobody rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Diary of a Nobody is in a class of its own and I do not rank my books. It is amusing and true to its original form, which I first read in the traditional way 30 years ago.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Diary of a Nobody?

The most memorable moment in Diary of a Nobody is when Pooter paints the bath red and gets into all kinds of subsequent trouble.
I also liked it when Willie changed his name to Lupin, consequently shocking his father.

Have you listened to any of Martin Jarvis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Never listened to Martin Jarvis before, but he does this book 'perfectly' in my opinion.

If you could rename The Diary of a Nobody, what would you call it?

It is impossible to rename this book. The name is perfect.

Any additional comments?

I recommend anyone who has not read or listened to this book to get it; curl up on the sofa on a wet and miserable day, with lots of snacks and a nice fire, and get some free laughter therapy.
This book belongs in the heart of 'everyman' (and woman).

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • beatrice
  • 08-07-10

a pleasant period piece

I think I would have enjoyed this more if I'd recognized Mr. Pooter. I wonder if he's too far away in time and place for me to "get" the humor in this nicely crafted work. While I recognized (and laughed at) my own obsessions, vanity, and naivite in Adrian Mole's and Bridget Jones's diaries, Mr. Pooter's adventures left me bemused. I wondered also if it would have been funnier if I'd read the actual book rather than listened to Martin Jarvis's excellent performance: part of the pleasure in reading a "diary" can be the disconnect between the flat delivery of the words on the page, and all they leave unsaid. Three stars for the story, five stars for Mr. Jarvis.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Robin Baker
  • 02-06-17

Mildly amusing

Mildly amusing. Nothing more. Just funny enough to keep me listening to it. Should have moved on sooner.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Philip
  • 30-08-07

Not my cup of tea

I bought this because it was on a list I found of the best 10 books with happy endings. It was not to my taste and I gave up after about 90 mins listening. The narrator, although annoying, is perfect because the book is supposed to be annoying. Too bad I couldn't make it to the end. Some may like this style, but I grew up with someone around who was too much in real life like the character being parodied in the book!

2 people found this helpful