This is an incredible story made into a number of movies. It is my favorite Dickens novel. The narration was incredible. It was like being in a play. He moves between Characters Sikes, Fagan, and the Dodger with ease. It is better to hear this book then to read it. It is a must hear!
The narration of the incomparable Simon Vance of a work by the matchless Charles Dickens is an arrangement made as if by both, in concert, yet across a span of more than a century and a half. It is pure, transcendent magic.
I wanted to listen to a Dickens book other than the familiar Christmas Carol. There are lots of opinions out there on which is his best book but Oliver Twist seemed to garnish a lot of praise as a good starting point for first time Dickens readers and it didn't require a huge time investment of some of the other Dickens books. After listening, I would have to agree this is a good one.
While I had heard about it, I didn't really know it other than the famous line "...please sir, I want some more." I found the writing to be very engaging. I can see why this one is a classic. My only complaint is that I thought the story was a little disjointed in some parts not to mention the silly references to Master Bates. This line chapter 18 had me cracking up "...Master Bates caught up an end of his neckerchief; and, holding it erect in the air, dropped his head on his shoulder, and jerked ..." Seriously? :-) Maybe Dickens was pushing the envelope for double entendres. Anyway, the ending pulled everything together really well.
The absolute high point was the narrator, Simon Vance. He did a masterful job at the voices. I thought it similar to Jim Dale's performance in the Harry Potter books. I'll be looking for more books narrated by Simon Vance and certainly more Dickens as well.
I'm a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of 3 and a childbirth educator.
This was a really enjoyable listen. Dickens is a master at creating memorable characters. I remember being made to read his works in high school and hating them! But with a little more maturity and experience, under my belt, they are quite enjoyable.
I think most have read this, but it was one I'd neglected, and am so glad that audiobooks allow me to "catch up" on the things I've missed, but don't have time to sit down and enjoy.
Simon Vance is a stellar narrator, bringing stories to life w/ his flawless transitions between characters. What a pro! His narration made this story for me.
I absolutely love Simon Vance as a reader. After listening to his reading of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, I decided to try something a bit more classic, and went with Oliver Twist, since, despite being an English major, I had only ever read one Dickens novel (Great Expectations) and then with a looming exam deadline so it wasn't fun at all.
Simon Vance made the book come alive, made the humor in Dickens' descriptions and dialog funny, made it easy to keep track of a wide cast of characters in all of his different voices.
Any flaws in the book are more a weakness of Dickens...it gets off to a good start and has a riproaring set of climaxes, but there is a pretty badly sagging middle where not a lot is going on, some mawkish sentimentality and a few needless episodes that I chalk up to the book's origin as a serial and a need to have some sort of "cliffhanger" to lead to the next segment. Also, as many others have noted, Oliver is such a paragon of meek and grateful innocence that he pales in comparison (as do all of the "good guys", pretty much, except for the surgeon and the friend of Mr. Brownlow who constantly threatens to "eat his own head") to the vivid villains and lowlifes who oppose him.
But trust me, even with these weaknesses, Vance makes it worthwhile. I have added all of his Dickens books to my wishlist and plan to start on Nicolas Nickleby as soon as my next credits arrive!