A complex plot of love and inheritance is set against the English legal system of the mid-19th century. As the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce drags on, it becomes an obsession to everyone involved. And the issue on an inheritance ultimately becomes a question of murder.
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Esther Summerson is my favorite character from any of Dickens' novels. She is uncommonly good, but there's enough vinegar in her descriptions of the people she comes across to make her seem like a real person. Sean Barrett's depiction of the older Mr. Smallweed was also a highlight - he could never be a favorite character, but Mr. Barrett's characterization of him was priceless.
It's Dickens - so you have to cry, for example at the fate of Joe, and laugh, for example at the ridiculous Mrs Guppy or old Mr. Turveydrop. Don't be fooled by the name - Bleak House is a very happy book in many ways.
The book is "written" by two people, the narrator, whose "voice" is taken by Mr. Barrett, and Esther, whose diary or memoir is read by Ms. Gallagher. This works really well, as it's a long book and the changes in reader keep the listening experience fresh. The only downside is that when characters appear in both narrations, they can have different voices: Mr Guppy survived the process, but Mr. Snagsby was unrecognizable. A minor quibble on an otherwise exceptional audiobook.
Lawyer, reader, writer, performer. Just love listening to books and talking about it!
If you want to read something slightly depressingly foggy and bleak, with some sides of very interesting people and their stories, with some death and even a surprising murder with a cool detective story built in, and some really funny moments,but also mingled with the oppression and misunderstanding of the law, and debt, and misery, and crooks, and lawyers, and those people who cause lawyers to exist in the first place, then please, be my guest and read Bleak House, but do it with a book, with the original illustrations. It will be so much more fun. I usually say classics are better encountered in audio as we haven't changed the way we talk that much. But with Dickens, something is just over the top with the audio word. So, I say skip this audio (nothing against the narrator either) and just read it.
One of the best stories and commentaries on law, poverty, and a life well-lived I have ever read.
Either Mr. Tulkinghorn, Joe, or Esther (all for different reasons).
They're both great. They bring the characters to life.
Laugh, cry, all of the above.
Absolutely terrific. Not only is it a great story but the narration with dozens of different voices is like listening to a play. Except the play goes on for days, so by the end the characters are unforgettable and will stay in memory for a lifetime. Bravo to the actors!
Intricate plot, the way people put together such complex sentences back then.
Grandpa Smallweed was a complete hoot.
The voice of George was perfect.
A young man named Guppy was also spot on.
After listening to it for the three weeks, I went right back to the beginning and listened all over again. What a classic.
Not better, but the good performances certainly enhanced and provided an excellent reading of a fantastic story.
Teresa Gallagher's performance was lovely. Her voice is so melodic and her children's voices are just lovely. I especially loved Charley. And Sean Barrett was a perfect counterpoint to Ms Gallagher's voice. His dour British accent was exquistely, well, Dickenisian.
There are so many plot lines that you are bound to miss something the first time through. I would definitely listen again.
To be honest the story lines are great but what I like best is simply how Dickens writes. The turn of phrase and the easy descriptions -- detailed but never tedious. Dickens is definitely on my top 5 of people I would want to sit down with and just know -- how did you do it?
I haven't listened to these two before, but they were perfect for the parts.
Do yourself a favor and listen to this book. It has it all -- murder mystery, romance, crime, and social commentary. Well worth the listen.
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