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The Old Curiosity Shop | [Charles Dickens]

The Old Curiosity Shop

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?
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

Public Domain ©2009 Naxos Audiobooks; (P)2009 Naxos Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (135 )
5 star
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4.4 (79 )
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Story
4.7 (84 )
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  •  
    Rosemary Malden, MA, USA 12-10-09
    Rosemary Malden, MA, USA 12-10-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    18
    5
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    "Outstanding Narration"

    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.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David JohannesburgSouth Africa 11-25-09
    David JohannesburgSouth Africa 11-25-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A wonderful journey through Dicken's England."

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine 05-07-10
    Katherine 05-07-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Dickens and Lesser"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Hill Minneapolis, MN USA 10-14-11
    Larry Hill Minneapolis, MN USA 10-14-11 Member Since 2009
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    4
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    10
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    "Anton Lesser is great."

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bergljot Mosfellsbaer, Iceland 06-12-14
    Bergljot Mosfellsbaer, Iceland 06-12-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Good but not the best of Dickens"

    The story is a bit disjointed and sentimental for my taste but Anton Lesser's performance makes it a classic

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Dallas, TX, USA 01-20-10
    Kim Dallas, TX, USA 01-20-10
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    "Exceptional and enjoyable"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Micki Brooklyn, NY, United States 10-05-14
    Micki Brooklyn, NY, United States 10-05-14 Member Since 2010
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    "My Favorite Dickens Novel, Brilliantly Narrated"
    What made the experience of listening to The Old Curiosity Shop the most enjoyable?

    The humor, especially as captured by Anton Lesser's narration. Also the characters and settings are so varied and baroque.


    What other book might you compare The Old Curiosity Shop to and why?

    As compared to other Dickens novels, this is one of the darkest. But the characters are really all so surreal and colorful. I think it's the most interesting.


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

    He's a great narrator all around, but his humor especially might be his strong suit. His grasp of many different British speech patterns, many of them antiquated, were richer than I could have imagined because of my limited knowledge in regard to these.


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

    Basically everything involving Kit. His relationship with his family and his affection for his masters the Gardeners especially.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela 09-24-14
    Pamela 09-24-14
    ratings
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    "Anton Lesser is amazing"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It is a classic tale and the reader is so gifted


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character was Richard Swiveller; he is very comic


    Which character – as performed by Anton Lesser – was your favorite?

    Daniel Quilp, the villain. Anton Lesser does an outstanding job with every voice, male or female but he truly outdid himself as Quilp.


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

    I loved the scenes when Richard "rescues" the little maid.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a very rambling story, as most of Dickens' are but his writing is so outstanding and Anton Lesser is so gifted, the journey is mostly a real pleasure

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Killian 11-09-13
    Bob Killian 11-09-13
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    "Brilliant narration. Splendid acting."

    This is Dickens at his storytelling best, with loads of colorful characters. But that opens the door for a great actor's tour de force. This is a compelling listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sibyl Aiken, SC, United States 07-05-12
    Sibyl Aiken, SC, United States 07-05-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful narrator, not my favorite Dickens story"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 12 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Stephen
    Rowlands Gill,, United Kingdom
    12/28/09
    Overall
    "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.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • doomwaffle2000
    Surrey, UK
    8/17/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good old Charlie!"
    Would you listen to The Old Curiosity Shop again? Why?

    No. It was beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it should be enjoyed for what it is. Don't delve too deep.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Old Curiosity Shop?

    The opening scene, the walk, the encounter, the intriguing revelations. Gorgeous.


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

    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!


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

    I laughed a lot!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Laura
    Woking, United Kingdom
    8/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    LEICESTER, United Kingdom
    4/9/13
    Overall
    "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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Maziar
    NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, United Kingdom
    2/4/13
    Overall
    "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!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • kerrymay
    Emsworth
    3/4/12
    Overall
    "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'.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results

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