Tampa, FL, United States | Member Since 2006
I'm pretty sure this is the most well-known Dickens work besides "A Christmas Carol" (which is, I believe, technically a novelette?) Probably because it's been made into countless movies, series, and at least one musical.
And for good reason--it's a sweet story with a happy ending, but not without plenty of colorful villains mucking things up on the way.
The suspense hinges entirely on circumstance--will the heroes unite before the villains intervene?--rather than character development (heroes don't evolve into villains or visa versa), but we get so attached to all of the players, both good and bad, that it doesn't really matter.
This is junk melodrama at it's best--no real-life little boy could possibly be as sweet and adorable as Oliver--but the character was also Dickens's way of illuminating what he perceived as social ills, and it would be a mistake to think his portrayal of the institutions of the day were just exaggerated and/or fictional constructs.
Oliver Twist is essential Dickens, and you won't find any better narration than this.
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