trying to see the world with my ears
I listened when I REALLY needed to be cheered up and diverted--and this was just the medicine. Nicholas, even in his naive youthfulness is too good to be true, of course, and the bad guys are one dimensional but such fun caricatures. Contemporary light fiction just can't draw in the listener like Dickens, especially through Whitfield's superb narration.
If you like 19th century fiction, you'll probably love this. If you haven't yet tried 19th century fiction or were turned off it in school, this would be a great entry point into that diverting world of wonderful prose and sharp social insight that still resonates today. Dickens wrote to be shared in reading aloud, so audiobooks give his fiction new life.
The story is both very funny and heart-wrenching. The writing is superb and plenty accessible to today's audience. But the quality of the narration is beyond words. Simon Vance's ability to convey the nuances of the characters, the humor, the pathos, Dickens's tongue-in-cheek prose . . . it's simply stunning. Dickens used to do readings of his work that were hugely popular; I imagine he would have sounded much like this. This book is so much fun and so touching. Between Dickens's descriptions and dialogue, and Simon Vance's vocal characterizations, the book is brought completely alive. It's a joy.
Say something about yourself!
NN is just what we expect from Dickens and probably most of us have read it at some time before listening to it. Often, listening to a classic is just like spending time with an old friend, and that is the case here. Simon Vance makes the characters jump off the page. I find myself listening to his voice and being amazed by the range of characters he creates. Sometimes I purchase books that I might not have considered because he is the narrator.
May be not as well constructed as David Copperfield, which I listened to before, but very enjoyable even so and the reading first class.
This book is highly entertaining and touching. It draws out all the bad characteristics of an era to be examined and laughed at without dismissing how serious they were. A great read and an entertaining listen.
I love Charles Dickens! His insight into human nature is remarkable, and his ability to create unique characters unmatched. So much has been said about Dickens, I don't need to add more here. As for the story, it was written early on in his career, and is consequently has a youthful swagger about it. It is most definitely a romance, all ends up well in the end. Not as good as some of his more mature writing, but better than Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend.
Simon Vance is an amazing narrator. The amount of different voices he comes up with is remarkable. The only voice I didn't like was Smyke's, but that may have been intentional on his part. Amazing narrator, best one I've heard on Audible besides Grover Gardner.
While Simon Vance is wonderful and brings the characters alive, I find I dread what comes next in the story. I enjoyed David Copperfield, but I cannot get in to NN.
Accepting the needs of Dickens' audience and serial publication, there is too much padding here. Scenes and characters that detract rather than add to the dramatic flow and tension. I was also disappointed in the narrator. Not enough spirit and energy for the Crummles interlude. The voice for Ralph Nickleby is much too wimpish, even nerdish. No cruelty or vigor. I can accept the interpretation given to Kate and Nicholas, but both voices were too old and mature sounding. This novel should chart Nicholas's growth into manhood and responsibility. Worse for me, Kate sounds like an aging woman, not a young woman of charm, exploration of life and growing discovery and self-confidence. Even audiobook performances need direction! I will likely listen again to another's interpretation.
I've listened to many Dickens novels, and this is one of the best. My favorite (so far) is _David Copperfield_ (Frederick Davidson narrating), and this has many of the same qualities. A young man's adventures through life, a cast of interesting characters, wonderful narration. _Nickelby_ takes longer to capture your attention, but you do come to love Nicholas and the family, to curse the villains and rejoice with the lovers. It's a very good listen.