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The Life Of Lazarillo De Tormes: His Fortunes And Adversities

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  17,422 ratings  ·  738 reviews
Lázaro es un muchacho desarrapado a quien la miseria obliga a emplearse como sirviente. Las inocentes y a veces justificadas burlas con las que Lázaro se defiende de sus amos son castigadas con una crueldad brutal. Así, garrotazo a garrotazo, la simpleza y credulidad del Lázaro de las primeras páginas ceden paso a la sagacidad y a la astucia propias del más clásico y ...more
Paperback, 134 pages
Published September 10th 2010 by Kessinger Publishing, LLC (first published 1554)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  17,422 ratings  ·  738 reviews


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Bill Kerwin
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This first picaresque "novel"--more of a novella really--is an excellent introduction to the genre and a good book on its own merits. It is also funny (I laughed out loud more than a few times, and I don't do that for anybody but Wodehouse), the atmosphere is realistic and gritty, filled with memorable character portraits (the down-at-heels gentleman who would rather starve than reveal his shameful poverty is a particularly notable--and characteristically Spanish--example), and the overall tone
...more
Lisa


Rubens' painting of "Democritus and Heraclitus" was before my inner eye, and Juvenal's following words rang in my head while reading this hilarious, picaresque road trip through 16th century Spain:

"The first of prayers, best known at all the temples, is mostly for riches... Seeing this then do you not commend the one sage Democritus for laughing... and the master of the other school Heraclitus for his tears?"

What can a philosopher do, but laugh - and cry - at the state of the world shown in
...more
Mike Puma
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spanish-author, 2012, nyrb

This one came recommended by Ol Soiled Slacksa neighbor, of sorts, just a short drive from here, a pleasant afternoonswait, no one voluntarily goes to Indiana, anywhere in Indiana. There are scads of Republicans there, fundamentalists aplenty, and a surprising number of nudist camps. The place is scary, and the contents of the water there is suspect at best. In any case.

So here I was, casually making my way through some pretty incredible Latin American authors, occasionally dipping into the

...more
David
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where reading is concerned, I'm more LOTI than LOL. That's right. I'm admittedly frugal with my outwardly expressed laughterunlike the normative social behavior these days wherein giggling becomes a nervous tic to punctuate every banal and unfunny comment. Maybe we want life to be funny so we laugh at it whether it is or not. We inflict an impoverished semblance of humor upon the world. And if we don't happen to mirror the laughter of our neighbors when they read one of those dumb jokey chain ...more
Fabian
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uhh... not what I expected. That this book was found in the Spanish Queen's bureau as well as in any peasants' dingy quarters means little. Perhaps I am angry that the Spanish was verrrry difficult to read? It was old school Spanish, & although I try to get back into the groove, it seemed archaic and mundane. I noticed a profusion of hunger & a constant mention of food. I felt the same way: hungry for more (at least something akin to the royal feast that is the Quixote).

Hey, guess what.
...more
Simona Bartolotta
When I rate my books, I take into account several factors, and unsurprisingly one of these is my enjoyment. Lazarillo de Tormes is easy and quick to read, and while not being the most original story out there (the synopsis being: Lazaro finds some funny ways to steal food from his masters. The end), it certainly has a great literary importance.
In spite of this importance, however, I don't think this is a book that can be read "for pleasure" today; it had a meaning in the time it was written,
...more
Tony
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truly remarkable that this work was first published in 1554. Remarkable also that it became an immediate international success. What that should tell us is that human foibles have not changed since, well, we started recording human foibles.

A small boy, a prostitute's bastard son, makes the best of a brutal existence, mooring to one master after another, doing what it takes to survive. He faces greed and naïveté, pretentiousness and self-loathing, cruelty, and always hunger. He learns well
...more
Paul
Apr 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Written in the 1550s in Spain before Don Quixote it is a classic picaresque novel and satire. It is anonymous and there is no doubt much scholarly debate about who wrote it.
It is about a boy, Lazaro who is abandoned and has to find work with a series of masters. He is abused and ill-treated and learns to adapt, beg and steal to survive. It is a very clever satire on those in authority, especially the church. The book reminded me of Erasmus and his attack on simony and
...more
K.D. Absolutely
May 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
If Horace Walpoles 1764 novel, The Castle of Otranto started the gothic genre, in 1554 Lazarillo de Tormes started the picaresque genre. This is the genre where the likes of Don Quixote by Cervantes, Tom Jones by Henry Fielding and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain belong. Oh I have not read any of them yet (shame on me) but aha I have already read The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow!

In picaresque novels, there is a picaro or a rascal exposing the injustices in his society
...more
Roy Lotz
One can imagine the anonymous author of Lazarillo de Tormes sitting down to write in a mood similar to that of Erasmus when he penned In Praise of Folly, or of Voltaire when he composed Candide: full of the wry amusement of one engaged in a learned, witty, and irreverent literary exercise. And yet this book, like those other two, quickly became something far more than an elegant diversion. For with Lazarillo the author spawned an entire literary genre, the picaresque, creating a character and a ...more
Mikki
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novellas, spain
In the prologue, the author makes mention of fortune and those that are born into it -- rightly stating that little credit is due since luck of the gene pool was partial to them from the start. But what of those Fortune was against?

"Who had nothing to thank but their own labor and skill at the oars for bringing them into a safe harbor?"

What about the Lazaros of life? Born in (yes, in) the Tormes River; son to a morally unrestrained mother and swindler for a father, poor Lazaro was furiously
...more
Marc
Picaresque novel dating from the middle of the 16th century. The humor is boisterous and funny; Lazarillo is a real anti-hero. The episodic structure of the story is strongly reminiscent of the Roman author Apuleius and his classic The Golden Ass. Especially women and ecclesiastical figures play a naïve role.
Eh?Eh!
The past few months have been craptastacular in the life department, a yo-yo of highs and lows that sort of swung out of control and clocked me in the head at concussive force. Duck? Too late. Then at the beginning of the holiday vacation week, I started to get sick and sicker. I watched Forrest Gump through sneezing and mucous and ended up bawling out even more mucous. I tried to watch the Matrix movies but those made me cry, too! Every scene where two people met eyes meaningfully would set me ...more
jeremy
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translation, fiction
despite being nearly half a millennium old, the life of lazarillo de tormes: his fortunes and adversities remains eminently readable, charming, and more than a little funny. published anonymously in 1554 (the authorship debate rages ever on), the novella was banned and later censored as part of the spanish inquisition for its allegedly heretical content. the life of lazarillo de tormes, credited as being the first picaresque work of fiction, follows the (mis)fortunes of young lázaro, a poor ...more
Matthew
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: laugh-riots
This, my friends, is the very first picaresque, a favorite genre of mine (character wanders about the countryside, taking up with various characters and occupations and learning the cold, hard facts of life). Why don't I read more of these? I'm glad to say the first of its breed is just as fresh and lively as 'Candide' or 'A Confederacy of Dunces'. One thing that is always made clear in these types of stories is that human behavior hasn't changed much over the centuries, and even though the ...more
Nathaniel
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't think of anything else written during the 1500's (or probably in any year up to this novella's publication and perhaps a century after) that rolls along in such a delightful, accessible, irreverent and hilarious way. It would be tempting to think that the book was written by a time traveler if it didn't display such an acute awareness of peon-level Europe in the grimy era of indulgences, squires, etc.

A few tastes of our hero's voice:

"Rather than throw the rope after the bucket, the poor
...more
Miquel Reina
Maybe to English speakers "El Lazarillo de Tormes" isn't a famous novel, but for Spanish speakers is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious novels in its literary history. Lazarillo is a classic of the Spanish language and it is a great reading for anyone who wants to understand the society of Spanish sixteenth century.

Spanish version:
Puede que para el mundo anglosajón el Lazarillo de Tormes no sea una novela muy conocida, pero para los hispano hablantes es sin duda una de las novelas más
...more
Cate
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5/5 stars.
Just read it for Literature class
Labijose
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: default
One of my 5 top rated books ever! Read several times, and never got tired of doing it again!
Simply wonderful and funny!. Pity we will never know who wrote it!
Evan
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyrb
NOTE: Because I read this in an edition that paired it with another Spanish picaresque novella, my review from that edition has not shown up for the main single edition. My inelegant solution is to copy and paste my review from there to here. So now I basically have two reviews for the same book, but that's one of the flaws of having multiple editions that do not combine well on the website.
----
Review:

Lazarillo de Tormes, published in 1554, is a book about today.

It's about political, religious
...more
Sunny
Apr 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1001 Book List
Shelves: 1315-read
Thank you, Project Gutenberg!

I have some very well-read GR friends, and yet, not one of them has read this short little book yet. To each of you I say "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?"

To describe this book as hysterical is understating it. Laugh out loud ridiculousness might be a little closer to accurate. Misfortune LOVES Lazarillo, from the moment his mother sells him to a blind man and he learns to beg, to his marriage to a less than faithful wife, to his becoming rich, then poor, then rich
...more
Daniel Polansky
As I gather this is one of the first truly satirical novels in the history of fiction, about a poor peasant's quest to find a decent master. A series of vignettes poking fun at his social superiors and, in a deeper way, calling into question the morality of the entire system of Imperial Spain. Is it funny? Not really, most things aren't funny half a millennium after they've been written. More interesting as a historical curiosity than on its own merits (to most current readers, or so I suspect) ...more
Sarah
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A funny and relatively easy read amongst all the classics I've been reading, so it's fair to say I enjoyed Lazarillo for its playfulness with the character protagonist and its straightforward messages.
Crito
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A funny and clever little gem that strips the glory out of the odyssean hero to leave a scrappy scoundrel in a world populated with the same types. If you imagine two thieves who inadvertantly keep stealing the same gold piece from each other, that's the kind of world Lazaro lives in. The shame is that there is a ton of potential but it never got fleshed out beyond this small novella. Seeing as it was banned by the inquisition I don't doubt the wisdom of writing little and publishing ...more
Kimberly Silva Ortiz
I enrolled in a Spanish literature class and this book was a must read for the course, and I really enjoyed the book.

I must admit that it was hard reading the book because I thought about Lazarillo who was 8 years old and everything that he was suffering. Just the thought that so many kids in that time and some in our time suffer tremendously in the hands of people that should take care of them.

Anyways, I enjoyed the book and I really do recommend it to anyone.

The only thing is that I did read
...more
Nicole
This is a quick little read primarily concerned with class distinctions in Spain in the 1500s. It is critical of clergy and the sale of indulgences (primarily in regard to hypocrisy) as well as the aristocracy's focus on image regardless of actual circumstances.

I read an English-language version on kindle that I was unable to find the correct edition for, not the Spanish language edition here.

It was interesting enough, but not really my style of literature. Of course it only took a little over
...more
Silvia Cachia
Read in high-school, I still remember this book and our discussions. The life of this boy at a time when it was either to smarten up or die, never ceases to amuse the reader. All the dirty laundry of the human soul is seen through the eyes of "el lazarillo" (the lad who guides a blind man, his master), and the humor is the redeeming force that helps us look at each other and moves us to compassion and love, that picaresque makes the human humane. Tender memories for a must read book.
Christopher
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This novella is supposedly the first picaresque: a boy works with master after master, enduring hardships under them, observing their corrupt behaviors, learning moral flexibility himself, and eventually settling down in dubious circumstances. It's a readable first-person narrative, sometimes leaving things unsaid in a reasonably sophisticated way, and its consistent focus on the scams and other kinds of roguishness the boy becomes involved in must have been pretty compelling at the time if it ...more
Jaden Farley
☆ read for school☆
Eddie Watkins
A snappy vigorous read populated with earthy scoundrels and barbed with outrageous, thoroughly justified cynicism. Though short and lively it is repetitive and predictable. Parry lifes shit with humor. ...more
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