Some of the memorable characters in this, the last completed Dickens novel, include Bella who, unlike other Dickens heroines, cannot be accused of unnatural virtue; the insolent barrister Eugene Wrayburn; the amiable Boffin; and the rascal Silas Wegg.
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"With a cast of characters that covers the whole spectrum of London life, Dickens weaves a tapestry of tales that are by turn funny, moving and tragic." (School Library Journal)
The usual Dickens, which is to say, wonderful.
Some people may object to the fact that the reader is not British but I liked that. I find British accents, although creating a certain authenticity, draw too much attention to themselves and distract me from the meaning. I know many feel the opposite about this but, to each his own. If in doubt, listen to the sample first.
I have been enjoying many of Audible's offerings of the novels of Charles Dickens, but Our Mutual Friend is my favorite to date. The variety of human life and striving depicted in this novel is fascinating, and the unspoken moral commentary on class, wealth, and the treatment of the poor is relevant even today. This is Dickens at his finest, and teeming, crowded, hypocritical Victorian London at its most vivid. The narrator annoyed me at first, sounding somewhat robotic, but either he grows on the listener or he improved as he went along, because by Part 2 he is doing wonderful character voices and making me laugh out loud at some of the intonations and expressions of Londoners like Miss Jenny Wren, the dolls' dressmaker; Mr. Eugene Wrayburn, bored barrister; Noddy Boffin, "rhinocerous-skinned" old dustman; Mr. Venus, the mournful taxidermist who has been gravely disappointed in love; and Silas Wegg, a scheming "literary man with a wooden leg." There are so many quotable lines and memorable descriptions in this novel, which is rich in irony and humor. I hope I can remember a few to intersperse into my own conversation. The characters' quests for money, and the Boffins' attempts to "atone" for their inheritance of money, are convoluted and make for wonderful listening. I thought, based on the other readings of Dickens that I have heard on Audible, that I preferred the British accents of other narrators, which seemed to make Dickens' absurd characters, witty observations, and complicated plot developments even funnier, but after my initial irritation with this American narrator (who demonstrates perhaps a hint of a Boston accent now and then), I grew to appreciate and admire his interpretation of the fascinating and curious characters of Our Mutual Friend. If you like classic novels, or Dickens in particular, you will enjoy this reading.
I remember reading Great Expectations and David Copperfield when I was in school many years ago and being totally caught up in the Dickens world but...just got too busy to read more terrific but very long Dickens novels. Thank you Audible!!
Not only have I discovered more of Dickens wonderful characters but, for a few weeks at least, I actually looked forward to my long daily commute. Wonderful book and very well read.
My title doesn't suggest such a high rating, but the fact is, the book is wonderful. There are some great plots and sub-plots, and I love how they all interact - classic Dickens. And I think John is a good man, all in all. However, one of my favorite Dickens characters, Bella, does one thing slightly wrong - she really did need to at least punch John or scratch his eyes out a little or something when the "truth" is revealed to her. Seriously, like you want to hug and shake your kid when you find them after having lost them for awhile - I find this a very unrealistic reaction, not only for people in general, but for the character of Bella. But still, a great read, a wonderfully entertaining book!
I love Charles Dickens, but the narration was so bad in this reading that I could not get through it. I'm really disappointed, but I just couldn't listen any more. My advice: before you buy, listen to a bit of the narration first to see if you can stand it.
This is a very unfortunate recording. The narrator's american accent is almost comically unsuited for Dickens, and makes it nearly impossible to enjoy an otherwise classic novel. I'm going to try to exchange this for the same title with a different narrator. Do yourself a favor, and do the same.
After downloading and listening for a while, I searched to see what else the narrator had done. It turns out this was read years ago, I guess before narrators really became accomplished actors.
I'm afraid to say I did not even finish the first volume. Maybe I'll give Dickens another chance with a more modern reader.
Another reviewer related this to the Count of Monte Cristo. There are some similarities in the basic premise of the two stories. However, I personally found that the characters in Monte Cristo and the story itself were far more interesting than those in My Mutual Friend. There are many readings of the Count of Monte Cristo. The one I listened to was the three-part unabridged version from Blackstone Audiobooks (2001) and read by Fred Williams.
Couldn't agree more with everything that Keith says. Well, it's taught me to listen every time to the samples. I just can't listen to this- so am going to pay again for another version.
The story is ruined by the narrator. Totally wrong for Dickens. I had to give up listening.
This ebook has turned out to be a very disappointing experience. The voice of Jim Killavey comes across as electronic as if being read by a computer - possibly because it was originally produced 20 years ago.
In addition Jim Killavey does not have the breadth of characterisation that one gets from, say, Martin Jarvis or Gerald Dickens. This is further complicated by the fact that it is read in American english and therefore the London accents, or for that matter pronunciations, do not come across. In some sections it gives the impression of taking place in the wild west.
Having said that the diction is clear and after a while I stopped trying to translate back into cockney.
With the benefit of hindsight I would have been better off with one of the other ebook presentations of Our Mutual Friend.
The characterisations are excellent and gripping. T
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