"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
A clever Christian allegory filled with fantastic dialogue and Chesterton's wonderful inversions and paradoxes. I might not always agree with how Chesterton sees the world, but I think my vision is improved by looking through his literary lens.
The Good Samaritan was indeed a bad economist. Without becoming overly didactical, Dickens was able to explore in 'Hard Times' the contest between the oppositional conversations of Christian altruism (Louisa and Sissy) and market-driven, utilitarian self-interest (Bounderby and Bitzer), the novel takes its ethical position from the famous parable's narrative of redemptive love.
You probably don't need to guess which side of this argument Dickens favors. The story was simple but deep. The characters were rich and dynamic. I was a tad let down by the soft ending, but still carried away by the full measure of Dickens' message of redemption, love and fancy.
Tull's narration while absolutely true to the heavy Hand of Dickens' dialogue often approached the weight of unintelligibility. Warning, this is not a book to be listened to above 1.5 speed.
It is hard to exit the original worlds created by Dickens. I usually manage it crying like a baby. Oliver Twist is top shelf storytelling. The characters are amazing. The setting is perfect. The plot manages to throw out hundreds of threads and ties them all together at the end, while never losing or boring the reader.
Weakness? This is probably nit picking, but the story seems to work out too well in the end. Don't get me wrong, I know this is a social novel and FICTION, but I guess I just have a little bit of an issue with the whole melodramatic end, with every shoe finding a foot and every evil getting a noose. Other than that, Dickens shows with 'Oliver Twist' why is/was the master and the giant of the social novel.
Simon Vance, as always, delivers a solid narration.