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.
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.
With this novel, Dickens afionados will be glad to discover yet another one of his works. As may be expected, the plot is at once thin, convoluted, completely implausible and yet quite enjoyable. As usual, the characters are strikingly one-dimensional: for instance, Nell is beautiful and utterly good and Quilp is grotesquely deformed and perfectly evil. The author???s characteristic tongue in cheek humour is pleasantly present throughout the book.
Somehow, things are not quite as polished as in better known works. For instance, narration switches in chapter 3 from the first person to the third, with a rather awkward explanation. A major character abruptly disappears about a third of the way into the novel and the reader is only briefly told what has become of him in the last pages of the book.
Thus, those unfamiliar with Dickens would benefit in reading first one of his more famous novels such as Oliver Twist or Great Expectations.
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.
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.
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.
If you are a fan of the sentimental Dickens, the twee Dickens, the droll Dickens, this book has it all in abundance. If your preference is for the poetic Dickens, the mysterious Dickens, the psychologically dark Dickens--if you admire _Our Mutual Friend_among all his works--you will NOT enjoy this novel. The only thing that kept me going through the last third of the audiobook was Anton Lesser's extraordinary performance (he is SO good), and a curiosity as to whether I agreed with Oscar Wilde regarding the novel's denouement. (For the record, I didn't laugh, but I did gag a little.)
"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.
"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!!!
"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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