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The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  15,657 ratings  ·  655 reviews
Spain has produced two books that changed world literature: Don Quixote and Lazarillo de Tormes, the first picaresque novel ever written and the inspired precursor to works as various as Vanity Fair and Huckleberry Finn. Banned by the Spanish Inquisition after publication in 1554, Lazarillo was soon translated throughout Europe, where it was widely copied. The book is a fa ...more
Paperback, 118 pages
Published 2004 by New York Review of Books (first published 1554)
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3.50  · 
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 ·  15,657 ratings  ·  655 reviews

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May 01, 2017 rated it really liked it

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 th
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
Mike Puma
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nyrb, spanish-author, 2012

This one came recommended by Ol’ Soiled Slacks—a neighbor, of sorts, just a short drive from here, a pleasant afternoon’s…wait, 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

Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Where reading is concerned, I'm more LOTI than LOL. That's right. I'm admittedly frugal with my outwardly expressed laughter—unlike 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 e ...more
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.
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, bu
Alexis Ayala

Un historia muy corta y que llega a disfrutarse y sufrirse en muchas partes. Con personajes egoístas y pobres que reflejan la realidad de la época en la que se escribió.

El libro inicio bastante bien, los primeros tres "tractados" eran muy divertidos y bastante cómicos, sin embargo el libro fue decayendo conforme avanzamos en la historia.

Lazarillo es un personaje inolvidable, su amor por la comida y el vino son características que se quedan grabadas en los lectores, sus conductas tan gracio
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 enoug
João Reis
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Origem do exemplar: Coleção pessoal.
Língua da edição lida: Português.
Tradução: Boa.
Género: Ficção; literatura; novela pícara.
Avaliação: Muito bom.
Um ótimo livro. Divertido e crítico, lê-se muito bem, embora tenha quase 500 anos. Só é pena que o autor (anónimo até hoje) se tenha precipitado após os três primeiros capítulos e claramente «despachado» o final.
Esta edição contém também a «Segunda Parte de Lazarilho de Tormes», escrita por H. de Luna (Juan de Luna).
Apr 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 indulge
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
Mas cuando la desdicha ha de venir, por demás es diligencia.
K.D. Absolutely
May 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
If Horace Walpole’s 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 societ
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europea, classica
“Quanti ce ne devono essere a questo mondo che fuggono gli altri, solo perché non vedono se stessi”

Messo all’indice dall’Inquisizione, Il Lazarillo è un’opera a cui comunemente si attribuisce l’avvio del romanzo picaresco. Tuttavia, come Manuel Vázquez Montalbán spiega nell’interessante introduzione, questo conferimento si è modificato nel tempo riconoscendo nel testo un pregio letterario più realista che cavalleresco.
Non si conosce l’esatta data della composizione né l’autore ma di sicuro
Alaide Mo
Ay, la vida de Lázaro es tan trágica. :(
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 tre
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
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: iberici
Racconto che rientra perfettamente nella tradizione picaresca, narra le vicende del piccolo Lazaro, vagabondo per necessità a servizio di volta in volta da un padrone diverso e della sfortuna che lo perseguita rendendolo sempre più misero di quanto non sia. Ironico, divertente, a tratti mi ha ricordato la pasta del don Chisciotte, il suo essere spavaldo e non arrendersi mai. Una lettura breve ma piacevole.
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O Lazarilho de Tormes foi publicado, em Espanha, pela primeira vez em 1554. O seu autor é desconhecido (embora nas livrarias portuguesas esteja arquivado na letra T de Tormes em vez de na A de Anónimo). É um romance do género picaresco, narrado na primeira pessoa e em forma epistolar, que relata as aventuras de um miúdo - que tem de sobreviver por sua conta e risco - e das suas tropelias para matar a fome que, permanentemente, o atormenta. Ao longo do seu crescimento, vai-se "ajustando" com vári ...more
Oziel Bispo
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um texto de autor anônimo, espanhol, do século 16, (1554) considerado um retrato debochado e ácido da sociedade medieval, que conta uma história mirabolante sobre um personagem, Lazarillo de Tormes ,que apronta todas, para sobreviver sendo amo de 9 senhores entre eles um cego que lhe espancava , um clérigo miserável que trancava os pães em um cofre para Lazarillo não comer,um escudeiro muito pobre que era perseguido por seus credores,um falso vendedor de indulgências e um último que lhe roubou a ...more
Kora (Shellan)
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comencé el mes de noviembre haciendo relectura de un gran clásico como es "La vida del Lazarillo de Tormes". En esta ocasión lo he disfrutado muchísimo más que hace doce años (puff como pasa el tiempo). Novela picaresca que te muestra la sociedad de la época con crítica directa a la iglesia (por algo estuvo prohibido). La verdad que te hace de reír a pesar de las penurias que está pasando el pobre Lázaro...
Una de las cosas que más me gustan de esta novela es que se sitúa, gran parte de la histor
Aug 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bib-p
Foi como regressar à infância e voltar a ficar pasmada a ouvir os avôs contarem as "historias do antigamente". Nunca me cansava de as ouvir e eram muito semelhantes a esta, um ror de misérias e astúcias para conseguir um pedaço de pão. Uma tragicomédia deliciosa.
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Essential reading
Fran Ivani
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nuno Simões
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
o género de livro que adoro ler. jocoso, mordaz, verdadeiro. uma pequena maravilha!
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spagna, mediterraneo
Primo romanzo picaresco, divertente soprattutto perché irriverente. Il giovane e poverissimo Lazaro cerca di sopravvivere offrendo i suoi servizi ai padroni più diversi e rappresentativi di diversi ambiti sociali: un cieco, un prete, uno scudiero, un venditore di bolle papali e altri, che l'autore sfrutta per costruire un'ottima satira sulla società spagnola dell'epoca. Né Lazaro né i suoi padroni potrebbero mai essere citati come esempi di virtù; il protagonista, che racconta le sue avventure i ...more
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biblioteca
Me gustó más de lo que esperaba, es divertido, entretenido y corto. Leed una edición con anotaciones para entender mejor el castellano antiguo y será una historia perfecta para empezar con los clásicos.
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, translation
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 span ...more
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 repr ...more
María Shall
Antes de empezar a leer El lazarillo de Tormes, tenía unas expectativas muy bajas pero, a decir verdad, ha sido una lectura entretenida. No me ha apasionado, pero si es verdad que te haces un poco a la idea de la vida que llevaban los niños de orígenes humildes de la España del siglo XVI. Es interesante cómo evoluciona la forma de ser de Lázaro y cómo paso a paso va a adquiriendo esa picardía que le permite sobrevivir. Lo más llamativo de la novela yo creo que es el final, el pueblo descubre que ...more
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Books can be attributed to "Anonymous" for several reasons:

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“Cuántos debe de haber en el mundo que huyen de otros porque no se ven a sí mismos!” 5 likes
“-¡Oh, señor -dije yo-, acuda aquí, que nos traen acá un muerto!
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