Death, innocence, sacrifice and corruption - The Old Curiosity Shop is vintage Dickens. Provoking an unprecedented outpouring of public grief when it was first published, it follows the story of Little Nell and her feckless grandfather. Forced to leave their magical shop of curiosities in London, they are pursued across the English countryside by the grotesquely evil dwarf Quilp. They escape - but at what cost?
Part tragedy, part allegory, this is Dickens at his most intense; drawing on his own experiences, he weaves a story of extraordinary emotional power.
Public Domain ©2009 Naxos Audiobooks; (P)2009 Naxos Audiobooks
After listening to Mr Lesser's narration, I was reminded how enjoyable the book was the first time I read it. Mr Lesser using his acting skills to the fullest, and his understanding of the characters comes through in his narration. It felt as if Quilp was actually narrating the script himself. I listened to the book in only a week, and I couldn't recommend a better book to listen to.
The story itself was pieced together by Dickens and was never meant to become a novel. However, the narration makes it sound as if the continuity flowed---something I could not manage when reading it myself.
This novel lacks some of the drama of stories such as Oliver Twist, but Dickens nevertheless takes the reader on a colourful and often touching journey into the best and worst of human nature. Anton Lesser's somewhat softer voice seems to do more justice to the feminine and younger characters of this story than some of the other narrators I have heard. I thoroughly recommend this audiobook, but do caution the listener to be prepared for an unexpected ending.
Anton Lesser does a fabulous job of reading Dickens. And the book is just as touching and interesting now as it was when crowds gathered to find out if Little Nell had died. Listening to Dickens read by someone who knows all the different dialects contributes immensely to appreciating the worlds D. creates.
The story is a bit disjointed and sentimental for my taste but Anton Lesser's performance makes it a classic
"There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
In this third Dickens novel (1841), one can see Dickens stropping his sharp sabre of social satire with the tale of "little" Nell Trent (almost 14) and her grandfather going on the run from the monstrously malevolent Daniel Quilp, a grotesque, hunchbacked dwarf usurer, once gramps runs up a huge debt to Quilp after becoming addicted to gambling. Quilp has his evil eye on Nell as Mrs. Quilp #2, and tells her so.
I think it's so well known that it's no longer a spoiler to point out that this is the only Dickens novel in which the protagonist dies. It was a good story, but I found Nell a mawkish character and the last tenth of the novel saccharine.
Of the eight Dickens novels I've finished-- this, Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, The Pickwick Papers, Bleak House and Oliver Twist-- this is the only one I've not thought worthy of four or five stars. I recently started and put on hold Barnaby Rudge, and I intend to read Dombey and Son, which some have said is most underrated.
Primarily pudding for Dickens Sweet Tooths
Charming, emotional, and polished.
Either Mr. Swiveller because of his humor or Kit Nubbles for his genuine honesty.
When Mr. Swiveller falls ill and finds himself waking weeks later in the care of the servant girl, whom he affectionately and ironically named the Marchionesse. His fair treatment of her when she was the lowest of servants was repaid by her taking care of him, perhaps even saving his life.
The performance of the narrator, Anton Lesser, is second to none. With a variety of voices easily recognized throughout the story and with such emotion in a believable manner, this has to be one of the best narrators I've ever heard on Audible.
Sentimental, loquacious, improbable -- but always supremely entertaining. Anton Lesser is the perfect reader and wonderfully expands the text and captures Dickens's theatricality. Get the linked-in text and discover the full pleasure ...
I love Dickens, and I don't regret listening to this book, but The Old Curiosity Shop just isn't one of my favorites. Anton Lesser is a wonderful narrator, however, who made this an enjoyable read nonetheless.
What a fabulous reading of Dickens this is. Mr. Lesser is a brilliant narrator. His voice characterizations are highly evocative of the hearts, class and breeding of these Victorians. I was completely taken in from the get-go.
Delightful rendering of a classic. The narrator does an excellent job of bringing to life Dickens' keen characterizations. I plan to download Lesser performing works by Dickens and others as well.
"The Curiosity of Time"
This is a book that I returned to approximately 35 years after reading it at school ? and very fond and vivid memories of the opening scenes being read out loud to the class with the homework to fill in the bits and then read it to its conclusion. The opening chapters still burn very bright in the memory ? based on the brightly drawn characters of Daniel Quilp, Kit Nubbles and the onomatopoeic Dick Swiveller. Each leaps back into the imagination untouched by time and ready to entertain.
The domestic scene where Quilp returns unexpectedly to disrupt his wife and her mother sitting around with their cronies is one of the funniest scenes in literature ? and there are so many common-place references that stand this book at the centre of London life.
A welcome stroll down memory lane ? sometimes a little winding and slow ? and, paradoxically a little too quick in parcelling up the ending. But, nonetheless the Dickens cannon is at the centre of the English novel and a welcome return to times gone by brought freshly into mind.
"Good old Charlie!"
No. It was beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it should be enjoyed for what it is. Don't delve too deep.
The opening scene, the walk, the encounter, the intriguing revelations. Gorgeous.
Mr Lesser is an extraordinarily talented narrator. He manages to evoke so many larger than life characters who are working within a long and complex plot, he is funny,sad, sympathetic and downright horrible, Brilliant!
I laughed a lot!
"Hooked very early on!"
Fantastic book, I was nervous about the style of writing but I understood it all and enjoyed it! Waffles a bit in places but very enjoyable.
"And so things pass away, like a tale that is told"
This was an excellent book, the characters were brilliant.
It is Very well read
Entertaining and funny and emotional.
"Another Dickens classic"
I have somehow managed to avoid reading this Dickens' novel until now and I don't know why. From the opening page Dickens draws you in with characters so rich in character that you want to loathe, pity or follow them with intrigue.
Just when you think that things cannot get any worse for the poor long-suffering characters, Dickens sticks the boot in. The storyline is however, lifted throughout with charming, witty and eccentric characters that keep you 'turning the page' - metaphorically as I listened on Audible!
The narrator on this occasion was perfect for the tale, making the characters come to life.
A heart-warming experience.
Beautifully read and acted, a great story. It is a wonderful way to "read" the classics because the narrator conveys such understanding that actual reading would perhaps not reveal.
It is for anyone who wishes to be easily familiar with a great novel.
Thank you Anton Lesser.
"Great Story and Brilliantly Narrated!"
A great story with polarized characters. Daniel Quilp is just brilliantly conceived and very malevolent, though hugely entertaining. The main story of the Grandfather and little Nell is tragic and heart-rending, but there's a lot more besides which brings about some great twists and surprises along the way. Anton Lesser is brilliant throughout, particularly his Quilp
"Pulled me away from my Playstation--Sacrilegious"
Just finished listening to it. A beautifully written book, with vividly described scenes and characters that are brought to life by the remarkable vocal talents of the narrator who for me not only reads at just the right pace but also interprets the book just as I imagine Charlie D would have wanted it to be. Outstanding job this story is one you may never forget. I am just gonna have to buy another Dickens/Lesser combination and ‘Little Dorrit’ looks quite tasty (not literally of course).
Spoiler following: damn that ending. As the Audible descriptions says the book caused an outcry when first published and I can see why. Isn’t there enough misery in the world? I so badly wanted the book to have a happy ending that it was almost painful to listen to the last few chapters again. Loses half star for that Mr. Dickens!!!
Once again Dickens proves that he is the greatest writers of all time. A classic that everyone should hear.
"Great reader but not my favourite Dickens"
The reader was brilliant, especially his portrayal of Quilp. However, this was not my favourite Dickens. I can usually put aside minor irritations as conventions of the era but I found the saintliness of Nell began to grate after a while. Also, the fact that she was always referred to as 'the child'.
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