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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This audiobook was unbelievable. I got it on the recommendation of another Audible patron who wrote about the two people reading the book. They didn't just read, they created at least 30 characters with accents and personality quirks. It was great!
No way I could do that!
Moved to Utah , beautiful state.
not first, but I'm a Dickens fan, so it's up there. I don't buy book I don't like!
Love their voices and gravity of the content.
Sad commentary on the legal system, then and now.
I am a big Dickens fan but not of this one. It started out okay but soon became very tedious and I found myself bored and my mind wandering. I think Dickens' strength is writing about the underclass from a male point of view. This was neither and though the writing itself is always good, this story failed.
Bleak House is one of my all-time favorite books. I think it should be required reading for everyone. I've read it multiple times and have just now completed my second full listen. Having listened to an excellent audio version by Simon Vance, whose narration is superb, I am of the opinion that this one surpasses even his mastery. Both voices are immaculate. The narrator who does Esther is my favorite--she's utterly perfect for the role. Dickens broke new grounds of creativity in dividing his masterwork into two narrative strands that weave intricately together to form one tale in its entirety. Both narratives are so intentionally distinctive, a necessary facet of the novel (I won't say more so I don't give anything away), that having two narrators read them is nothing short of brilliance. Listen to this version of Bleak House with my wholehearted recommendation!
The versatility of the narrators is incredible. They do so many different voices and accents it often fells like there is a full cast. It is probably the best audiobook I've ever heard. The story itself was good, but it was too long and sometimes confusing. I am a Dickens fan, but this novel wasn't as engaging as his others.
Lover of fiction and beautiful, powerful prose ...
Bleak House ranks close to the top of all the audio-books I have listened to. However, being a lengthy 19th century English novel by Charles Dickens, it required a lot of personal listening commitment by me. At times I struggled but I knew that it would be worth it in the end to persevere and to allow the story to come to its completion.
I loved the psychological realism of the characters, especially Miss Flyte who keeps her birds in cages until "Judgement Day" and Richard Carstone, who is addicted to his belief that he will get something out of the hopeless Jarndyce and Jarndyce lawsuit. Dickens had such a thorough understanding of what makes us mortals tick. How typical Carstone's behaviour is of many people. And Miss Flyte reminds one of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. Poor, wretched individuals actually driven quite mad by a fatal combination of circumstances and character traits.
I think the range of voices employed by each artist was nothing short of phenomenal. They were both quite exceptional. Mrs Guppy's ridiculous and hysterical outburst towards the end of the novel was a real highlight which Gallagher rendered with great aplomb. And the "drunken cousin" in the Dedlock household (with his slurring speech) and poor Joe (from Tom All Alones) were really colourful, thanks to Barrett.
A Victorian motley crew
The relationship between Esther Summerson and Ada Clare is rather sickly sweet. I would be interested in reading some critical works on Dickens and his portrayal of women.
Dickens longest novel is not only his most impressive, literarily-speaking, but also one of his most unforgettable.
Here read by the marvelous actors Sean Barrett and Teresa Gallagher, you are given a heightened experience of the full text of Dickens ' great masterpiece.
Not a Dickens fan?
Get this, listen to the end.
You will be!
I am a live storyteller who devours huge amounts of audio books to study classics and new books so I can tell new stories.
Bleak House is one of the best and most complex audiobooks I have listened to so far. Dickens is in top form here.
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, strangely enough. The Jarndyce and Jarndyce chancery suit has a corrupting influence on everybody. Nobody, particularly Richard, escapes unscathed. Every time a character said, "My precious," I thought of Gollum and wondered if Tolkien read this book
Inspector Bucket is the first investigator in English literature. He cast a long shadow over Sherlock Holmes and other detectives that followed in his wake. I thrilled at his juicy dialogue and keen intellect. He made the later half of the book.
The only extreme reaction I had was over how good it was. I kept saying, "I can't believe Dickens wrote that." His writing reached its peak in this book.
A long book, but well worth it. I can see why critics state that Bleak House is Dickens best book. This is a must read if you hope to appreciate his writings beyond Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. He adds a few twists to this novel and made them work. You will be rewarded if you read this.
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.
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.
"The Ultimate Dickens Audiobook"
I struggle to imagine a better audiobook. Firstly, it's a great novel by Dickens and has two fantastic narrators. I don't see how Bleak House can be satisfactorily read by one reader now I've heard this version. Sean Barrett and Teresa Gallagher reading Esther Summerson's narrative are both superb. I looked forward to my daily commute eagerly and felt rather bereft when it was over. Sean Barrett is a master of characterisation, not putting a foot wrong throughout the story. His Joe the Crossing Sweeper is a particular highlight!
"One of the finest versions of any Dickens novels"
This version of Bleak House is undoubtedly one of the best Dickens or for that matter any audio books I have listened to, the two narrators pace the book and give the characters a depth that is so often missed in lesser adaptions, if you have wondered what all the fuss is about Dickens then this is the place to start,
"Now I know what the reviews were talking about...."
I was looking for reviews of dickens's work to help me to decide what to listen to. The reviews spoke of how good the narrators are, which was the selling point for me. I could not be more delighted. Seriously, I thought it was going to be hard-going, but Teresa Gallagher in particular has drawn me right in. If you are thinking about this, just don't hesitate. Seriously, I can't recommend it enough.
"Very fine readings"
Sean Barrett is never less than brilliant but Teresa Gallagher's performance here needs real praise too. Esther's character and her part of the narrative can seem precious to some, but the way in which Gallagher matches Barret's vigour as a caricaturist and yet keeps us anchored in Esther's world view is a challenge that is much harder to achieve or sustain; Gallagher manages to do both, and you end up realising just how rich and subversive Dickens use of this narrator is.
"A literary delight."
It is a brilliant expose of Victorian social life which touches raw human emotions.
The death of Jo.
A masterpiece of narration. Sean and Teresa complement each other and give added depth to the story. They both excel themselves. The range of voices used by both is amazing, bringing the characters to life.
The death of Jo. Sean's reading combined with Dickens's empathetic narration was a very emotional experience which moved me to tears.
An outstanding rendition of this monumental drama. High praise to Sean and Teresa!
This is the first time I have "read" Dickens, having seen oh so many adaptations, and it was a revelation. I was so surprised by how funny his writing is and all the little touches that truly bring the story and charaters to life. As for this adaptation, it is, quite simply, spellbinding. The use of two narrators really brought the story to life and both were exceptional. I have eulogised about this to my wife who now wants to listen and I would be very happy to listen to this time and again. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
I'm a fan of classics and, in most cases, know what I'm in for when I begin a book. Nevertheless, I almost always enjoy them, and this was the case with Bleak House. Among other things it's always interesting to compare TV versions of the stories with the books, and in this case the TV version is pretty true to the book. When buying a book I consider listening to the samples important because the narrators can make a huge difference to the listening experience. In this case, they were excellent. I always listen to the classics in their unabridged form even though some authors, particulary Dickens, can be a bit long-winded - this is something anyone considering this book should take into account.
Sean Barrett's reading of little Joe's demise had me weeping so much I couldn't listen again until 24 hours had passed!
Sean was incredible, Teresa was fine, and Dicken's prose was incomparable!
Can't recommend it more highly.
"Completely draws you in."
I love Dickens however with Bleak House I had struggled to get into it.... but with the amazing voices of Sean Barrett and Teresa Gallaghher I found I was right there...in the foggy streets of London feeling angry with the court system. As usual the Dicken's characters are diverse and vivid. They make you laugh, move you, anger you or inspire you alternately.
(One warning though...if you don't like 'too good' characters and get annoyed by that then you may find Esther, the heroine, hard to swallow. If you have read ' Little Dorrit' and found Amy irritating then it may be a similar scenario for you here. Personally I really like Esther and, if she is too good to be true, I don't mind...it is a story after all. )
I enjoyed this audiobook so much I'm listening to it again even though I only just finished it....there is so much detail, so much sly humour that I keep finding things I missed the first time around.
A very good buy.
"Well worth listening to"
This was my first purchase from audible and it was certainly value for money. Brilliantly read and thoroughly compelling. For any Dickens fan this is well worth a listen.
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