All Creatures Great and Small (Anglais) Poche – 15 avril 1998
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Set in the late thirties onwards, these hilarious anecdotes (loosely based on real-life events) relate the adventures and misadventures of a city-bred, newly-qualified vet who settles down to his first paying job in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales, where life is tough, men are tougher, money is short, and animals are mostly viewed as commodities and crops. James Herriot gets properly stuck in and finds that being a good vet is only part of the job. Siegfried Farnon, his jovial but mercurially unpredictable boss, requires careful handling, the local farmers would test the patience of a saint, and when Siegfried's younger brother Tristan comes home to help with the practice, tensions between the brothers soon escalate until James is unwittingly caught in the middle of some pretty serious domestic warfare. As if his life weren't already full, romance beckons but the path of true love is, as always, strewn with difficulties. The narrative is delightful, a perfect mix of humour and moving realism as the young vet's initially diffident and hostile clients gradually begin to accept the outsider (and a Scot to boot) and his difficult and often uncomfortable work starts to bring its own rewards. A heart-warming book suitable for absolutely everyone.
De bons moments de franches rigolades et d'autres très émouvants.
Un bon livre sans prétention
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"After the night of the Daffodil Ball I just seemed to drift naturally into the habit of dropping in to see Helen on an occasional evening."
However in the omnibus edition we have:
"After the night at the cinema with Helen I just seemed to drift naturally into the habit of dropping in to see Helen on an occasional evening"
How dare they do this? I am extremely annoyed to have spent my money on these omnibus editions. I will now have to go to all lengths to get the original books which Amazon will not ship to New Zealand.
The American publishers think they know better than James Herriot how his stories should unfold. They are wrong.
The book opens (after a brief chapter taking place several months later) with James arriving in Yorkshire, to be the assistant to the eccentric but kindly Siegfried Farnon (yes, that is his name). He becomes accustomed to Siegfried, Siegfried's mischievous younger brother Tristan (yes, that is his name), and the gruff, kindly farmers who eke out a living in the Yorkshire Dales. Pampered pooches who are spoiled rotten, savage pigs who chase Tristan around the farm, a nightmarishly strict secretary who drives Siegfried up the wall, James's car-with-no-brakes, cows running on three cylinders, a sadistic vet who makes James wear a rubber bodysuit, and an elderly, immensely wealthy widow who adopts a pig. And through this, James falls in love with the beautiful Helen Alderson and worms his way into the trust of the farmers.
James Herriot (real name, James Wight) was truly a one-of-a-kind man. He let readers into his head throughout the book, where the cows kick him across the yard, farmers often treat him as an interloper or a nuisance, and his boss gives contradicting orders from one day to the next. But he never loses his drive or his love of animals. (Okay, he hates some animals, but only as individuals) He even lets the readers see him at his worst, when he's humiliated by some recalcitrant livestock, and one horrible scene where he and his date show up drunk and mud-smeared in front of the girl he adores. (Not to mention when Tristan got him to use very feminine-smelling bath salts) But don't think that all of these stories are funny or romantic -- quite a few are aggravating or outright sad. James didn't soften the blows at all.
The people around James are just as fantastic: Siegfried, his weird but genial boss who can kick Tristan out of the house and forget about it overnight; Tristan, the mischievous anti-scholar who usually manages to keep out of trouble; and Helen, who seems a little too saintly at times (which isn't surprising, since James married her). There are a lot of details about surgery and stuff like that that will gross out the squeamish, but at least you'll learn a lot of medical trivia. (For example, what is a torsion?)
It's sweet, sad, funny, romantic, dramatic. "All Creatures Great And Small" (and its four sequels) is a fantastic read for all ages.
I can't believe these stories are 30 years old, and Dr. Herriot has passed on. Thankfully he left this legacy behind for us to savor. These are books to re-read on dreary days with a cup of tea or just when you really need something to lift your spirits.
Follow the true adventures of Yorkshire veterinarian James Herriott and his charming comrades as he traverses the Yorkshire dales in the 1930's attending to the ailing animals that he loved so dearly. You'll feel every mile as he bumps along over the fells and moors. You'll see all the wild beauty of the extraordinary Yorkshire territory of England. But most importantly, you'll feel all the emotions tugging at your heart from the hardened Yorkshire farmers to the humorous and warmhearted denizens of Darrowby. You'll meet the inimitable Seigfried Farnon, James's veterinary partner, whose constant contradictions nevertheless fail to conceal a heart truly without malice of any kind and filled with love and generosity. You'll meet Seigfried's brother, Tristan, with his, shall we say, overly relaxed view of life. There's also Helen, the woman who captures James's heart and the hysterically funny Granville Bennett whose eating and drinking prowess is not to be outdone by anyone. Yes, there are these lively characters and more that pepper the pages of this work of literary genius.
But most of all, this novel will leave you with the warmest and coziest of feelings. From the blazing fires in the drawing rooms to the shivering winter nights spent delivering precious new animal lives, you'll be drawn into this world of delight and joy. Don't miss the opportunity of a lifetime to own this enchanting marvel!