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Hard Times | [Charles Dickens]

Hard Times

Hard Times is Dickens's most political novel. Set in the industrial north of England, in Coketown, he examines the lives of working people, who are taught by the capitalists Gradgrind and Bounderby to think only of the facts of life and not to indulge in imagination. Gradgrind’s own children have been so educated and as a result are dysfunctional and disconnected from their feelings. Only the travelling circus company of Sleary seems to offer any hope of humanity in Coketown.
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Publisher's Summary

Hard Times is Dickens's most political novel. Set in the industrial north of England, in Coketown, he examines the lives of working people, who are taught by the capitalists Gradgrind and Bounderby to think only of the facts of life and not to indulge in imagination. Gradgrind’s own children have been so educated and as a result are dysfunctional and disconnected from their feelings. Only the travelling circus company of Sleary seems to offer any hope of humanity in Coketown. Hard Times is a deeply moving story written in anger to strike a blow for the victims of the dehumanising processes of industry.

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(P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks

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  • stephen
    Tewkesbury, United Kingdom
    12/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The least typical Dickens novel"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would definitely recommend this to a friend - it is short so that even if you aren't a regular Dickens reader you will get through it and see if you like his style.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is a fascinating story and quite unlike most of Dickens novels (all of which I like very much). It is the least melodramatic and has the least emotional stereotypes. It has a crisp punchy message that feels very relevant even now. As always Dickens is very concerned about social problems. In this novel, while there are some great character portraits, it is the social message about the gulf between mill workers and mill owners that comes clearly across. For any one who likes Lowry paintings (and especially anyone who went to the recent Lowry exhibition in London) it transports you straight into the world of his paintings - an experience not to be missed. It is also one of Dickens best attempts to portray an accent other than that of London or his beloved Kent. He has clearly researched the Lancashire accent very well and it adds another great dimension to the book.


    What does Anton Lesser bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Anton Lesser is a superb reader. Each character is distinct in a very appropriate way and the pace of the various parts is beautifully pitched. He clearly understands what he is reading. He enriches the whole experience of the novel.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both laughed and almost cried. Great moments of pathos and bathos, also spiced with comedy. Perhaps one of Dickens most emotionally balanced books, without too much melodrama.


    Any additional comments?

    For any Dickens fan who does not know this title it is a must read book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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