One of the most revered works in English literature, Great Expectations traces the coming of age of a young orphan, Pip, from a boy of shallow aspirations into a man of maturity. From the chilling opening confrontation with an escaped convict to the grand but eerily disheveled estate of bitter old Miss Havisham, all is not what it seems in Dickens’ dark tale of false illusions and thwarted desire.
Raised by a humble blacksmith, Pip is recruited by the wealthy Miss Havisham to be a companion to her ward, the cold but beautiful Estella. There, Pip learns to despise his rough origins as Estella torments him about his low prospects. When Pip is informed that an unknown benefactor expects to make him his heir, he sets off to London to realize his “great expectations.” But true gentleman stature, he will find, is a matter of character, not fortune.
Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Observe how finely the narrative is kept in one key. It begins with a mournful impression—the foggy marshes spreading drearily by the seaward Thames—and throughout recurs this effect of cold and damp and dreariness; in that kind Dickens never did anything so good…No story in the first person was ever better told.” (George Gissing, English novelist)
This was my first time reading Great Expectations and I really liked the story. But I have to say the narrator, Simon Prebble, did such an amazing job with this story and these characters that I'm now going to look up his other audiobooks.
I would definitely recommend giving this one a try.
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
I sometimes find high-brow victorian literature to be a little to slow and heavy, including Dickens, but 'Expectations' is a clear exception. I loved it. Simon Prebble's performance was captivating.
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
There are many parts of Dickens' writing that I love and few pieces of his that fall short of complete adoration. 'Great Expectations' is one more of Dickens' absolute masterpieces. I love how with 100 pages left you can almost feel the universe shift as Dickens grabs the crazy, once loose strings of his moral narrative and begins to pull it all together.
I think a significant part of the magic, for me, of 'Great Expectations' is found in the minor characters. Everyone from Uncle Pumblechook, Miss Havisham, & Mr Jaggers, to Mr. Wemmick and the Aged Parent (the Aged P.) could be the center of their own Dickens novel; each life is given a warmth (or where there lacks warmth, a round coldness) that keeps the novel propelled on.
You can't have a Dickens novel without a little bit of melodrama and a bit of Victorian moralizing. However, with 'Great Expectations', Dickens does this with a soft touch. He isn't as confrontational about social ills as he is in 'Hard Times' or 'Oliver Twist' and he isn't as melodramatic as he was in 'Tale of Two Cities', but even so, I completely enjoyed this gentle, more muted Dickens.
I loved this book! The writing was so beautiful and so beautifully read by the narrator. I had no previous knowledge of this story but wanted to read a Dicken's. My heart is still full with love of the story and some sadness at the ending. Great Expectations has enriched my life.
You can learn as much from a terrible book as a brilliantly written one.
First up, this is a must read. If you are debating if you should read this, you don't need to debate longer. This is a brilliant one.
Dickens is one of the best story tellers I've ever read. The characterization is fantastic, especially because it captures human nature so well. What happens when you sudden turn from a kid with nothing much to a gentleman? Well, I won't spoil the story for you. The first person narrative is especially effective for this one, because we constantly get what PPip is thinking and as he is misled as to the situation around him and the changing character of himself, so are we the reader. I loved the technique to. You get a character who you think is gone for ever and then what does Dickens do? He brings him back suddenly, and it turns out he is crucial to the story. Anyway, I will stop talking now, but seriously, this is a must read. Maybe you can learn something about yourself in the process too... like me. So sit back and enjoy it!
Enthralling, intelligent, riveting, engaging, while still quaint and amusing, and sill amazingly relevant. This is thought to be Dickens' most readable book and with Simon Prebble performing it certainly is. I recently heard an English actress claim that Dickens' must be read aloud and she used Great Expectations as an example. Having listened to this I would have to agree with her and Prebble's performance is impeccable. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
I was educated into oblivion but have overcome and am having a wonderful life
Pip is so much like me, like any of us. He gets caught in his obsessions, ignores what is beautiful in his life, and then misses every great opportunity for love and fulfillment.
Joe, his adopted fater. It's hard to fathom that such a humble and humbled character should be able to embody such profound self dignity, such forgiveness, and such sweetness over every other character in the book
Magwich. His voice would be difficult to speak in the same way that the character would have done. It probably would have been unintelligible so I'm glad the narrator made it easy to understand -- yet at the same time it conveyed the gruff character etc
Joe told Pip he wouldn't be coming back to dinner and immediately afterward Pip experiences repentance and then "self-swindling". At that point Pip gives an elaborate description of his obsession with Estella and decides that his "devotion" or obsession with Estella is his greatness. Fortunately, the mature writer notes that this "devotion" was actually the young Pip's smallness and meanness.
Dickens's ability to describe the nature of obsession is frighteningly real and I think that reading Dickens could substitute for a therapeutic relationship. Obsession is so real in so many peoples' lives and Pip's character shows how it can suck the life out of a person.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
The story of Pip and his great expectations is a classic that I had never read before. Somehow, my class never read it in school. I have read a great many of Dicken’s works and love his writing. I decided to read it because the Literary Classics book club chose it for their May-June read.
The characters in this book are well drawn and very believable. I loved Pip and identified with him as he tries to do what he thinks is right but makes several wrong turns in his life as I think we all do. I felt sorry for Estella and Miss Havisham. She destroyed her own life in her quest for revenge and nearly destroyed Estella’s. My favorite character was Joe the blacksmith, the kindest and truest character ever written by Charles Dickens. I was so happy he came to wonderful end.
I listened to both endings of the book, and I have to say I prefer his original as it finishes everyone’s story but Pip’s and could have been made into a sequel. I understand his friend Edward Bulwer-Lytton asked him to write a happier ending and that is the one most people know. In this version we were treated to both.
Simon Prebble did a wonderful job with his characterizations on the different people in this story.
If you love Dickens than I would highly recommend you read this for the first time or again as a welcoming friend.
"A Great Expectations achieved."
A beautiful work about wanting what you have not, and ignoring what you have. A great story of love in all it’s forms and friendship, the healing of time, and the lessons time deals by a master of the English language. You can get lost in the story the period and all the nuances of that society.
I like the first edition ending but most good editions will make both available to the reader
and so it is in this first class narration.
"A tragic and lovely story about growing up"
How supportive the blacksmith was to Pip, he did everything and a little more just like any great father would.
I dont think that would work since you would need 4-5 different actors to play some of the characters.
A great story about a boy growing up, realizing that if you are given everything the drive to improve is easily lost. About love, heartbreak and friendship
Overall a great book and a great story
"really enjoyable classic"
entertaining, brilliantly narrated
I've never read this book, as I thought it would be long and boring, but I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook and found it funny, brilliantly observed and expertly narrated. Would highly recommend
"Difficult to stop listening to it"
Cannot remember if I've read the book, but the narrator enhanced the enjoyment.
Joe, because he was a really nice, dependable chap.
More than one. Caused tears when finished listening to the whole book.
Narrator got into the soul of each character.
Wonderful Dickens story. Well read and great just to listen to. Just close your eyes and imagine...
I love Dickens ever since once of my English Literature teachers at school made his characters jump out of the page before my very eyes. Great Expectations however has always held a soft spot for me. So it was after reading one of the reviews on this rendition I decided to pick this one. I am so glad I did. Simon Prebble's performance is stellar. His rendition is beyond amazing, his characterisation brings out every facet of each of the characters so completely; that I had to listen to this book again and again so much did I enjoy it and find something I had not discovered before in every round of listening. I would imagine that if Charles Dickens were alive and able to hear this man reading this book with that warmth, characterisation and gentle emotion in his voice, I am sure he would eyes would well up in tears of pride more than a few times.
--Well worth the listen if you like Dickens and you will be listening to this programme many more times over the years if you appreciate the style of this most consummate performer.
"Better than the TV version"
Great Expectations were met on the whole.
Easy listening. Easier than trying to read the book.
Great story, the narrator really brings the characters to life. Got lost in it for hours out on Dartmoor on my bike
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