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.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
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.
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.
"I can't go out today. Really sorry." translation, "I just found a book that I can't pass by."
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 enjoyed listening to this story. The narrator was good and of course Dickens tells stories well. I felt like I was back in time.
Simon is a genius. He made each character come alive. Very well done!
A memorable moment was when Pip discovered who Estella's birth mother and father were.
All the different tones of the characters. Wonderful drama!
You know them, or DO YOU?
I love the way Dickens writes. I enjoyed Great Expectations "far, far" more than I expected to. It made me eager to read more of his works.
I was educated into oblivion but have overcome it 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.
So I'm in the minority. I was forced to read this in high school (very abridged), didn't remember much of it, then I "discovered" Dickens recently and have been on a tear reading (listening to, more accurately) everything I can get my hands on. Maybe I don't like this one because it's the first first-person-narrative book of his I've read, but I feel like Dickens is less observant, or I guess the character is. In books like Dombey & Son, Pickwick Papers, Bleak House, Martin Chuzzlewit, and others, Dickens fills every pocket of a room with color--every character with minute behaviors. I didn't get as much of that in this one. (I thought the beginning chapters were strongest and most enjoyable, and I love Joe Gargery!)
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