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Download The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold Audiobook, by Evelyn Waugh Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 5 3.63 (41 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Evelyn Waugh Narrator: Simon Prebble Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2012 ISBN: 9781619693982
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Gilbert Pinfold is a reclusive Catholic novelist suffering from acute inertia. In an attempt to defeat insomnia, he has been imbibing an unappetizing cocktail of bromide, chloral, and creme de menthe. He books a passage on the SS Caliban and, as it cruises towards Ceylon, rapidly slips into madness.

Almost as soon as the gangplank lifts, Pinfold hears sounds coming out of the ceiling of his cabin: wild jazz bands, barking dogs, and loud revival meetings. He is convinced that an erratic public-address system is letting him hear everything that goes on aboard ship … until he hears voices instead of just sounds. And not just any voices. These voices are talking, in the most frighteningly intimate way, about him!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Waugh’s ‘portrait of the artist in middle age’...is a genuine gothic horror, a gargoyle to terrify anyone who has ever contemplated a literary career...The acid bath so often prepared for others has now found its way into his own tub...Waugh draws an intimate picture of a distinguished author at bay.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The very model of the modern paranoid novel.”

    New York Times

  • “Unblinking candor informs Waugh’s dark, comic vision.”

    Daily Telegraph (London)

  • “The hallucinogenic visions that novelist Gilbert Pinfold experiences are an ideal canvas for a skilled performer like Simon Prebble…Pinfold hears a vast range of sounds emanating from the ceiling of his cabin, including frighteningly belligerent and abusive dialogues that Prebble adroitly delivers…Waugh’s descriptive powers and dry wit glow in this dark, and sometimes funny, self-portrait.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sara | 1/31/2014

    " I really disliked this book. I read to the end because it was pretty short and I wanted to find out how the situation was resolved, but it was just weird and not entertaining at all. The writing is fine, but the story is just not interesting and I can't see why people like it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maggie | 1/29/2014

    " light reading. captivating in an old-fashioned way. well written, of course; it's eveyln waugh at his most relaxing and i like traveling by ship anyway. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Micha | 1/27/2014

    " This is a very different sort of book from Waugh's others. The most familiar elements are the unrelenting bits of racism and his usual mode of satire. The fact that it's based on real aspects of his life makes it somewhat terrifying, but the execution was great. How he knew and didn't know they were just voices, how he kept rationalizing things and how contradictions weren't a big issue. The back of my book contained a few short stories which I didn't have time to read, but which I intend to get to. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lydia | 1/25/2014

    " Anyone who has ever intelligently and cleverly hallucinated - and yes, such a thing is possible - will doubly appreciate this story. It is remarkable what crumbs of truth concerning social norms and condemnations emanate through the subconscious under the influence of alcohol, drugs, fever, and mental issues. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 1/24/2014

    " This is an interesting little book, more for what it reveals about Evelyn Waugh than for the actual story. It is an autobiographical account of Waugh's experience hearing voices during a trip to Ceylon. Waugh pokes fun at his "ordeal" in rather amusing ways, but it does not reach the level of comic genius achieved by Waugh's earlier satire. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shane | 1/22/2014

    " My first book by Waugh, and a good one to start with. Quite playful. I plan to read it again sometime soon, and when I do I will give it an updated and proper review. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 1/18/2014

    " Ok, I'm not going to go into some loquacious rant about how dope this semi-"autobiographical" novel is; and I would be remiss if I tried to give you a pithy summation of the plot. Instead, I will assume that you have read other Waugh novels and will understand when I say that this novel, at the suggestion of a shrink-head, was written as a cathartic prescription for his lunacy. Throw all of that in pot and stir it up and see what you get..."Duces" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rozanne | 1/13/2014

    " Hilarious, even though I listened to most of this when I was lying on the couch feeling completely ill and nauseated. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Sammis | 1/3/2014

    " I remember calling him "Penfold" in my head because of Danger Mouse. Weird, I know. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie | 12/31/2013

    " It felt like Right Ho Jeeves meets 1984. By turns, it had the lightness of a Wodehouse and the haunting feel of Orwell. Overall very funny. This was my first Waugh, definatley won't be my last. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 TrumanCoyote | 12/27/2013

    " Good for a number of snickers. I suppose you might say that the end proves it to be a bit of a hat trick, but there's a lot of fun to be had in the meantime. Fans of self-loathing will not be disappointed by this one. :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob Groves | 12/20/2013

    " What a great book book by a great writer. Waugh takes his own experiences with alcohol and drug-fed self-delusion as a starting point for this very entertaining saga. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robyn | 12/20/2013

    " Don't read this while on a cruise or while travelling alone. It will make you go insane. Otherwise, great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robyn | 12/7/2013

    " Don't read this while on a cruise or while travelling alone. It will make you go insane. Otherwise, great book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 12/2/2013

    " The would have been an excellent short story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Helen | 11/26/2013

    " Hilarious, fabulous, troubling, revealing and bonkers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 TrumanCoyote | 11/19/2013

    " Good for a number of snickers. I suppose you might say that the end proves it to be a bit of a hat trick, but there's a lot of fun to be had in the meantime. Fans of self-loathing will not be disappointed by this one. :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roussie | 11/9/2013

    " Funny, tongue-in-cheek ocean voyage into madness, supposedly the author's actual experience. Goes on a bit too long and of course is not the least bit believable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Don | 10/30/2013

    " Amusing and harrowing in almost equal measure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colby Bird | 10/29/2013

    " first Waugh I read "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sara | 10/16/2013

    " I really disliked this book. I read to the end because it was pretty short and I wanted to find out how the situation was resolved, but it was just weird and not entertaining at all. The writing is fine, but the story is just not interesting and I can't see why people like it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gregory | 8/9/2013

    " Some funny bits. Though mental illness is scary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob Groves | 7/6/2013

    " What a great book book by a great writer. Waugh takes his own experiences with alcohol and drug-fed self-delusion as a starting point for this very entertaining saga. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colby Bird | 6/5/2013

    " first Waugh I read "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 5/26/2013

    " The would have been an excellent short story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shane | 3/6/2013

    " My first book by Waugh, and a good one to start with. Quite playful. I plan to read it again sometime soon, and when I do I will give it an updated and proper review. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roussie | 1/13/2013

    " Funny, tongue-in-cheek ocean voyage into madness, supposedly the author's actual experience. Goes on a bit too long and of course is not the least bit believable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Don | 9/29/2012

    " Amusing and harrowing in almost equal measure. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gregory | 9/18/2012

    " Some funny bits. Though mental illness is scary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rozanne | 4/9/2012

    " Hilarious, even though I listened to most of this when I was lying on the couch feeling completely ill and nauseated. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Helen | 11/30/2011

    " Hilarious, fabulous, troubling, revealing and bonkers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie | 10/22/2011

    " It felt like Right Ho Jeeves meets 1984. By turns, it had the lightness of a Wodehouse and the haunting feel of Orwell. Overall very funny. This was my first Waugh, definatley won't be my last. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maggie | 8/10/2011

    " light reading. captivating in an old-fashioned way. well written, of course; it's eveyln waugh at his most relaxing and i like traveling by ship anyway. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maggie | 3/13/2011

    " light reading. captivating in an old-fashioned way. well written, of course; it's eveyln waugh at his most relaxing and i like traveling by ship anyway. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 2/8/2011

    " What a great book book by a great writer. Waugh takes his own experiences with alcohol and drug-fed self-delusion as a starting point for this very entertaining saga. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 4/29/2009

    " The would have been an excellent short story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rozanne | 2/11/2009

    " Hilarious, even though I listened to most of this when I was lying on the couch feeling completely ill and nauseated. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tricia | 10/14/2008

    " very odd little book, but brilliantly executed "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shane | 5/5/2008

    " My first book by Waugh, and a good one to start with. Quite playful. I plan to read it again sometime soon, and when I do I will give it an updated and proper review. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 raskolnik | 3/2/2008

    " bizarre little novel which uses stream-of-consciousness and an untrustworthy narrator to poke fun of an egocentric. it was fun at times, though difficult – to watch the bug squirm – even if the bug had bitten first. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robyn | 7/29/2007

    " Don't read this while on a cruise or while travelling alone. It will make you go insane. Otherwise, great book. "

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About the Author
Author Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966) was born October 28, 1903 in London, England. After short periods as an art student and schoolmaster, he devoted himself to travel and to the writing of novels. His novels are unusually highly wrought and precisely written. Those written before 1939 may be described as satirical. During World War II his writing took a more serious and ambitious turn. Waugh also wrote travel books. 

About the Narrator

Simon Prebble, a British-born performer, is a stage and television actor and veteran narrator of some three hundred audiobooks. As one of AudioFile’s Golden Voices, he has received over twenty Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie in 2010. He lives in New York.