I listened to 'David Copperfield' while driving to and from work. At stressful times during my shift, I found myself anticipating my escape into this compelling story at the end of the day.
Simon Vance's audio depiction of the multitude of characters in this book is superb. Old or young, male or female, city or country, his capture of the character’s voice is impeccable. Dickens’ prose can be quite wordy and I doubt I would have finished the book if I was actually reading it, but having such a good audio presentation made it easy to enter David Copperfield’s world and travel with him through his fascinating, and sometimes sad, life. If you have never read Dickens, I recommend you meet David Copperfield, Betsey Trotswood, Mr Dick, Mr and Mrs Micawber, Peggotty, Mr Barkis, Thomas Traddles, and of course, the most ‘umble and slimy Uriah Heep.
This book ranks as my second favorite Dickens novel (behind A Tale of Two Cities). The reader is outstanding, truly flawless in his interpretation of the ironic, the poignant, the humorous, the tongue-in-cheek, the tragic, the hopeful -- everything that makes Dickens one of the greatest writers of all time. The story is long but worth every minute invested. I was sad to have to say goodbye to the characters when it all came to an end.
Reading is one of life's greatest pleasures...and, now that I've found audiobooks, I can read even while performing mundane tasks!
While it is of obvious importance that one be exposed to great literary classics in one's youth, I have found that I get so much more out of rereading the classics later in life, as I can now relate more directly to the trials and tribulations, the words of wisdom, and the expositions of reality. I remember reading David Copperfield in middle school and being impressed mostly with the Pegotty's boat house. Now, after living my life to the point of David's at the end of the novel, I have been so touched by so many of David's realizations, particularly about his personal relationships. Simon Vance's narration of this harsh and, at the same time, tender gem of a book is amazing. Every character has his or her own voice, so that the story really comes to heartbreaking, and also joyous, life. Do yourself a favor and read this again for the first time.
I just finished listening to this . . . although I've read several of Dickens' novels in the past, some for school, some on my own . . . this was by far the most powerful, engrossing and satisfying "read" of any of his works I have experienced. Simon Vance gives an oustanding interpretation of both the widely differing voices of the characters, and of all the range of emotion from almost farcical comedy to sentimentality to tragedy. He reads so beautifully that I often thought I was listening to Dickens' own interpretation. This is an absolute feast of a novel, and I'm so glad my introduction to it came through this Audible edition.
Wow. Just wow.
One of the best readings I have heard. What sets it apart is the narrator's ability provide different voices for each of the characters that are truly spot-on. This is huge in adding to the enjoyment of listening to a story that relies so much on what it's characters say and do.
This is also probably my favoriter Dickens novel.
Sure - It's Dickens
Vance is absolutely fantastic. Dickens generally juggles a whole raft of characters and Vance did a wonderful job of bringing each to life.
I shall definitely be on the look out for other works read by this man.
I am continually stunned by this authors ability to make words truly delicious! His analogies, insights into human nature, and humor is completely enjoyable for me. I've never really enjoyed watching movies based on Dickens work but his books are incredible. Strong characters, delightful conversation, and very human. Sigh. I just really really loved this book.
Simon Vance did an excellent job of reading. It is like listening to a one man play.
Thank you Mr. Vance. It was lovely to spend so many hours with you. The pictures you and Mr. Dickens have put in my head are as welcome as a good friend.
"I was born." Dickens has the most iconic first sentences of any author because they are perfect. Any novel by Dickens is an undertaking and commitment. A pleasurable one. Having the combo of kindle edition with the audible is the way to go. You need to get busy with chores, don't stop reading; just start listening. This is also a great choice for long commutes.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
I read some Charles Dickens during my school days, but I’m not sure that really counts. When one has a 16-year-old’s limited experience of the world, it’s hard to understand what’s so great about the “great” literature our teachers make us read. Approaching David Copperfield as an adult, though, I’m much more able to perceive Dickens’s gifts as an observer of the world, a social critic, a humorist, and a storyteller.
This novel was, of course, originally serialized entertainment, meant to have the same effect on audiences as Mad Men or Downton Abbey do now -- i.e. readers would get hooked and eagerly await the next installment. Being from Victorian times, the content is a lot tamer than what we’re used to on Netflix, but there’s some serious drama, as well as observations of human nature that are as astute as ever.
This tale follows the coming-of-age of young David Copperfield, who endures the loss of his parents, a cold stepfather, a poorly-run boarding school, and the workhouse, but gets by with a little help from friends, such as the generous family servant, Peggotty, his eccentric aunt, Betsey Trotwood, and the ever-grandiose, ever-indebted Mr. Micawber. As he comes up in the world, David falls in love (with varying degrees of good judgment), finds employment, faces some schemers with bad intentions, and becomes a writer.
Dickens’s cast of quirky characters is written with imagination and flourish, with such colorfully distinct mannerisms and proclivities that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter denizens feel like cheap imitations. It was impossible for me not to enjoy the absurdly melodramatic and irresponsible Micawber, the opinionated Ms. Trotwood, or the addled-brained Mr. Dick, who has trouble keeping Charles the First (died 1649) out of his personal memoirs. The villains are vividly drawn and memorable, as well, such as the obsequious, creepy Uriah Heep, or the affable, manipulative golden boy, James Steerforth, the template for a character that’s seems to have appeared in every prep school story since.
Also notable are Dickens's liberal views (for the time) of society. The trials of the destitute and downcast are examined, with most of the good-hearted, honest characters coming from the working class, while the colder, more duplicitous ones are those that grasp at wealth, power, and social standing. Dickens makes no secret of his feelings on the ineffectiveness of tyrannical schoolteachers, or towards those that seduce young women and leave them to unjustly face the slut-shaming mindset of Victorian society.
Dickens also gets his share of bashing from modern readers, and I don’t totally disagree. Yes, he can be long-winded and maudlin, and tends to lead his readers by the hand towards how he wants them to feel. For me, the book lost steam in the second half, after it became obvious where the different threads in the story were headed, and the charm of the caricatures that are the supporting characters began to wear off. And David himself becomes a bit grating, having little to do in the latter part of the novel besides receive adoration from others, be in love, and write novels -- it felt transparently self-serving on the part of the author.
Still, I can't find too much fault with this novel for being what it was, a work of popular entertainment. The writing is so immersive that I have little doubt its scenes and characters will leave an impression on my memory for years to come. Dickens's droll sense of humor and his attention to the world around him are still a pleasure. For a trip back into mid-19th century England, it may be difficult to do better.
Lastly, I have to commend audiobook voice actor Simon Vance for nailing the narration. From Mr. Peggotty’s salty accent to Uriah Heep’s groveling, he really brings out the characters.