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Great Expectations | [Charles Dickens]

Great Expectations

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (601 )
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  •  
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 08-18-13
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 08-18-13 Member Since 2014

    Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.

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    "Great Performance of a classic!"

    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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana New Haven, CT 06-13-13
    Dana New Haven, CT 06-13-13 Member Since 2015

    Professional appreciator.

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    "The narrator!!"

    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.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-11-13
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-11-13

    "... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^

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    "A soft, muted Victorian Melodrama"

    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.

    29 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elisa Hong Kong, Hong Kong 07-09-13
    Elisa Hong Kong, Hong Kong 07-09-13 Member Since 2007

    I'll give everything a try

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    "One of my Fav. Classics!!"
    Any additional comments?

    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!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pita North Shore City, New Zealand 09-12-12
    Pita North Shore City, New Zealand 09-12-12
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    "Loved it. A fantastic introduction to Dicken's"

    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.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Clay, MI, United States 02-14-14
    Julie Clay, MI, United States 02-14-14
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    "Greatly read!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Great Expectations to be better than the print version?

    Simon is a genius. He made each character come alive. Very well done!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Great Expectations?

    A memorable moment was when Pip discovered who Estella's birth mother and father were.


    What does Simon Prebble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    All the different tones of the characters. Wonderful drama!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    You know them, or DO YOU?


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    edris jama 01-15-15
    edris jama 01-15-15 Member Since 2014
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    "awesome,"

    have read the book over 20 years ago but listening the audio aster all this time had made me enjoy and appreciate the great AUTHOR even more .
    thanks

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn E. Walsh 12-30-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Wonderful narration!"

    The narrator really is spectacular. He does an amazing job at bringing the characters to life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Somerset, Kentucky, United States 07-10-14
    Joseph Somerset, Kentucky, United States 07-10-14 Member Since 2011

    Tell us about yourself! Lifelong reader and passionate pursuer of knowledge. I love Audible because I never have to stop reading.

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    "The Best Dickens"

    Dickens best, about unrequited love, deep friendship, and the importance of integrity. Irony abounds, as it always does. Enjoy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra 12-07-13
    Sandra 12-07-13 Member Since 2012

    I was educated into oblivion but have overcome it and am having a wonderful life

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    "A Character Renewed"
    What made the experience of listening to Great Expectations the most enjoyable?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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


    Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

    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


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Wras
    Kildonan
    2/20/15
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    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • GenKan
    11/8/14
    Overall
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    "A tragic and lovely story about growing up"
    What did you like best about this story?

    How supportive the blacksmith was to Pip, he did everything and a little more just like any great father would.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I dont think that would work since you would need 4-5 different actors to play some of the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • anon
    10/17/14
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    "really enjoyable classic"
    If you could sum up Great Expectations in three words, what would they be?

    entertaining, brilliantly narrated


    Any additional comments?

    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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Barbara
    8/8/14
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    "Difficult to stop listening to it"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Great Expectations to be better than the print version?

    Cannot remember if I've read the book, but the narrator enhanced the enjoyment.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Joe, because he was a really nice, dependable chap.


    What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

    Excellent!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    More than one. Caused tears when finished listening to the whole book.


    Any additional comments?

    Narrator got into the soul of each character.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Frederick
    5/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Captivating"

    Great story, the narrator really brings the characters to life. Got lost in it for hours out on Dartmoor on my bike

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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