Listen again, again.
Pickwick Papers is Dickens reveling in the human comedy minus the agenda of social reform found his other novels. IMHO comedy is far and away the most difficult of genres, and this novel, being a comedy from start to finish, showcases Dickens extraordinary skill as a writer and imaginative creator of character. I read Pickwick Papers when I was in my teens, and it turned me into a lifetime Dickens' fan. Patrick Tull, was THE narrator for this novel; he cannot be equaled for highlighting every comic moment in this book.
All the Christmas scenes
Laughed out loud until tears came into my eyes
Patrick Tull is a perfect narrator for this book: his bluff, blustery, energetic style matches Dickens' comic prose to a T. It's an episodic book, with a very thin overarching framework: travels and adventures (mostly misadventures) of Mr Pickwick, his fellow club members, and the manservant to end all manservants, Sam Weller (or Veller as he would say). Every so often Dickens adds a tale, usually a ghost story or some other macabre event, related verbally or on paper by one of the participants. It's Dickens at his absolute comic best: high spirits, wacky characters, impossible misunderstandings all around; and it all ends well in this best of all possible worlds. Tull's many voices, giving brisk life to every character, are astonishing.
Maybe something was wrong with my audio format, but the sound quality made it impossible for me to enjoy the book. This is the first time I am disappointed with audible. I strongly recommend listening to the sample before you make the purchase.
As good as Tull's reading and characterizations are, at the highest format available (2), this recording makes Tull sound like he is talking through 3 pairs of socks! To the point of its being unintelligble.
To add insult to injury, this title is split in 2. I don't know what deal Audio struck with Recorded Books for this recording but charging twice as much as most of the other similar length (~30hr) Dickens titles at half the audio quality is, at least by my reckoning, extortionate. At the very least you should consider this only one title.
If you like Dickens, you're gonna love this reading by Patrick Tull, who gives every character his/her own identity with a multitude of lively voices, making this rendition a wonderfully funny 'read'.
I am a real lover of Dickens and looked forward to listening to this book. Unfortuanately the sound quality is so poor it is often hard to understand, at least for me. The reader sounds as if he is underwater.
After thoroughly enjoying Patrick Tull's readings of the Aubrey-Maturin series, I decided to listen to his rendition of Dickens' most humorous novel. Tull is superb, breathing life and wit into the naively pretentious members of the Pickwick Club. His sixth sense for the timing and enunciation of Victorian prose is such that one will not regret subscribing to every 19th century British classic he reads.
A few words of technical caution. The conversion of this reading from Format 1 to Format 2, while understandable, has the tonal quality of listening to a Winston Churchill WWII speech recorded from an old tubular RCA home radio.