Dombey and Son is vintage Dickens and explores the classic themes of betrayal, cruelty and deceit. Dombey's dysfunctional relationships are painted against a backdrop of social unrest in industrialized London, which is populated by a host of fascinating and memorable secondary characters. The complete and unabridged novel is brought spectacularly to life by veteran reader David Timson.
Public Domain (P)2009 Naxos Audiobooks
I have never read the print version of Dombey and Son and had never even heard of it until I did a Dickens search in Audible.
I thought that David Timson did a fanctastic job of bringing Dicken's characters to life. One benefit (and sometimes drawback) of listening to a book, is that you can be pulled into a character's life by the narrators voice. David Timson did an excellent job of differentiating one character from another. He has a very pleasant voice to listen to. Dickens has tendency to go on and on about a subject, but in David Timson's voice, it was not only pleasant but helped me understand the beauty of Dicken's narrative.
It is difficult to state that this is my favorite Dickens because I enjoy them all. I can state though that David Timson is my favorite narrator. I also enjoy Sean Barrett, but Timson's distinctive variety of voices gives him the edge. I just listened to Dombey and Son and Barnaby Rudge - both novels are so full of life (and death), so much color and true Dickensian stories - right overcomes wrong and justice over evil in the end. I also read many of Dickens' novels, but I now believe that Dickens is to be listened to and not read. Although this book has two males (father and son) in the title, the most powerful and endearing character is Florence, Dombey's neglected daughter. Further, Dickens may have created one of the most obnoxious and evil characters in English literature in the person of Mr Dombey's manager, James Carker. Fortunately, and in true Dickens style, Carker gets his just desserts in the end.
The book is read brilliantly. Dickens' subtle (and not-so-subtle) sarcasm is delivered in the most natural way. This one is simply hours of fun.
Dombey and Son is a book that contains a lot of touching moments alongside of great comical passages. Somehow, David Timson is able to read and bring to life all of Dickens' characters and hit all the punchlines while also being able to perfectly set the mood for the emotional situations. This was a really, really well done narration!
First of all, Dickens is a master of the English language, using it like an artist painting a vivid portrait of Victorian England, his characters, and the world they live in. Second, he is deeply cognizant of human psychology,( of the passion of pride and jealousy in particular in Dombey and Son) and makes the motives believable. He is also a master of building up the suspense to make stories a real "page-turner".
To top it all, the reading is fantastic, persuasive, and better than any print edition. I am out to read all of Dickens on audiobooks, now that I have so deeply enjoyed the first two (this one and the equally great Bleak House).
I love all things Dickens, so it's no wonder I enjoyed this. This narrator is just gorgeous. He absolutely brought this book to life. Captain Cuttle became a most beloved and alive human with Timson's voice. Wonderful, wonderful job.
About the book itself. This is a very underrated Dickens novel that probably deserves some modern eyes to see & modern ears to hear. Of course, as is characteristic of Dickens, this book rounds itself out and works all the bits and pieces to a satisfactory ending, but not always in the way we thought we wanted or in the timeframe we expected. It is a gorgeous story full of heart and timeless themes.
Better than reading the book? Yes- the narration is so good, it really brings the story alive. This is not one of Dickens great novels, but well worth the listen. Many of the social themes that Dickens typically examines are here, but the central themes are "Papa, what's money," and pride goeth before the fall. The main characters can be a bit tiresome (not Timson but rather Dickens). But there are some truly memorable and wonderful characters in Domby and Son, and Timson does a great job of inhabiting them. The novel's really bad guy, James Carker, has just the right resonance of condescension and swarm. Captain Cuttle is masterfully inarticulate, and Major J.B. Bagstock is equally masterfully a conceited windbag. You will much enjoy!!!
Hopelessly lost but making good time.
There's little I can add to what other commentators have already said: David Timson is masterful. He's able to manage many different voices for the novel's characters and is one of the few male narrators I've listened to who's female voices are believable. But what most surprised me about this book was just how captivating it was. I hadn't been expecting that since it's not one of Dickens' better known novels and I'd assumed this was because the plot or characters were less compelling than in his other books. Not the case! I've listened to about half of Dickens' novels now and this is my favorite, along with Bleak House. This has partially to do with the narrator, who can truly make or break a book, but greatly to do with the story itself. Like other novels, those of Dickens can be either plot-driven or character-driven. Dombey is character-driven and the characters here are colorful and captivating from the very beginning. This was the only novel that didn't take a few chapters or more to "get into". He had me from the very first lines and his description of the newborn Dombey in swaddling clothes by the fire, "as if his constitution were analogous to that of a muffin."
This is one of the darkest Dickens I've listened to. Fewer funny or lovable characters than in many of his stories and much time spent in very sad situations with too little love and too much greed and selfishness. Narration is brilliant -- all voices are distinct and unique, women's voices are natural, and Captain Cuttle, Mr. Toots, and Sally are absolutely delightful. Despite the dark mood that prevails, this is still worth a listen because the writing is so beautiful and, as with all Dickens, his observations of human nature are spot-on. My favorite Dickens novels are still (1) Our Mutual Friend and (2) David Copperfield. Each have the perfect balance of characters, depth of story, humor and pathos in the right proportions.
"Excellent Range of Voices"
This is the first review which I have submitted to Audible, but I felt that I had to comment on the excellence of the narration. Each character's voice is distinctive and appropriate and the narrative sections are paced beautifully. Dickens wrote rather better books than "Dombey and Son" and the last few chapters are weak, but for David Timson's reading of it fully merits the four stars.
There are some wonderful aspects to this book, and some great writing. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of cloying sentimentality - and the attitudes to the duties of children (especially daughters) to parents are dated and often distasteful. I also felt it ran out of steam for quite a while in the last quarter.
I give it 4 stars because it has great moments, but it also needs a lot of leniency of the 'it was written a long time ago' sort.
Dombey and Son is not fast-paced so needs an ebullient performance from it's reader to bring it to life.
David Timson manages that admirably and I would highly recommend this audiobook.
"A more subtle Dickens"
Whilst not lacking the usual Dickens characters, always good for a laugh, the greatest satisfaction I got from this novel was from the rich and thoughtful narration. Many of his novels are somewhat predictable, but I found that Dickens pursues a very open plotline. There are some detours which are perhaps over long, but the net result is an excellent yarn
If I could give this 6 stars, I would! Beautifully read, David Timson brings Dicken's world alive... every character is true and deep... simply wonderful.
It has been my companion this last fortnight, and I now feel bereft...worth every penny...
"Enthralling Illuminating and Entertaining"
Audiobooks do not come better than this engrossing rendering of one of Dickens' darker novels. There are echoes of King Lear in this story about a father who cannot bring himself to love, or even acknowledge, his daughter. Child abuse and neglect are dominant themes, as well as domestic abuse, with the author's sympathies, as always, with the victims. The reading is flawless; I could hardly bring myself to turn it off, and lamented when I reached the end.
"Classic Dickens in an industrial setting."
I would place this book very near to the top of my list for enjoyment.
The characters, the narration and the mix of history, intrigue and of course the storyline.
The scene where the mob are on the march, very well written setting the narrator a task to portray the action.
Once into the book it is the type of book that does draw you on and on to discover the next twist in the plot.
This is not just Dickens for the devotees but a classic novel of Industrial struggle and the ensuing complex situations that arise from the interaction of the various characters. Excellently narrated by David Timpson.
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