Dickens' first pass at a romantic novel and a fine romance it is too, centred on a young hero of conspicuous gallantry and peopled with pantomime villains and damsels in distress by the seeming coachful. Simon Vance handles it all with wit and dexterity, relishing the various dialects and stages of youth or decrepitude in the array of characters. I can't resist mentioning in this context the preposterous provincial thespian Vincent Crummles, and wishing that Dickens had found more for him, through Vance, to say. Amid all the swashbuckling exploits, though, Dickens finds time to depict in Ralph Nickleby one of his most chilling portrayals of evil, a man as close to purely malicious as ever was committed to paper, but withal restrained, subdued, sardonic, and wholly believable. Some critics have found fault with the characterisation, and one can concede that point, particularly in relation to the impossibly cheery Cheeruble brothers and their almost transparent ward Madeline Bray. There is also a drawn out side story involving the fawning relatives of a petty government official with little connection to the main plot that would clearly be a candidate for "abridgment". However to make too much of these points would be carp unduly at what in the end is intended as, and succeeds extravagantly as, no more than a ripping yarn.
A Fun Book
When Nicholas is talking with Smyke as he is nearing deat.
Really captured the spirit of each character.
The narrator's skill and representing the dozens of distinct characters in this book was admirable.
The story was captivating, keeping my interest until the last few pages.
This was my first Simon Vance audiobook.
No, given its astronomical length! It was very engaging, though.
Dickens is an interesting writer. This was my first Dickens book, and I noticed that he makes choices that would be frowned upon today (repeating words frequently, using adverbs after quotes). His storytelling, however, is very good, and it is easy to see why he is counted among the great novelists of his time.
I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry.
But still worth a listen. The narrator does well and you really dislike the villains and love the heroes. Some of the women come across as a bit sappy but that's Dickens fault too.
The best of Charles Dickens--a story I hadn't heard before, read beautiful with all of the accents and humor shining through. The villains are very bad and the heros are very good, and all of the plot strings come together in a happy ending. The timeliness of Dickens's stories is icing on the cake--yes, there are morals here for our times, and advice for how we face the "fiscal cliff".
If you love Charles Dickens, you might also try the Bronte sisters. Wuthering Heights, for instance.
many voices and accents. I love the characters!
A moment, not so much, but a character--I love Newman Noggs.
I'm now on a roll with Dickens through the Holiday season, and perhaps with all things British and
19th century. Dark times spawn great literature.