The Pickwick Papers, Dickens’s first novel, is a delightful romp through the pre-Reform Bill England of 1827. Samuel Pickwick and the rest of the Pickwickians are some of the most memorable of all Dickens’s creations, and it is a joy to hear of their adventures in search of "interesting scenes and characters", and the repeated efforts of the quick-witted Sam Weller to rescue them all from disaster.
Public Domain (P)2012 Naxos AudioBooks
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
This book morphed a couple times in my brain. It started off a bit uneven, filled with vignettes and sketches that seemed to anticipate the later genius of Dickens and even presented several shadows of future books and stories. After 100 pages I figured I would have another 700 pages of various Pickwick club digressions. There would be interesting characters (Sam Weller, Alfred Jingle, etc).
The narrative started to bog down, however, during the next couple hundred pages. The book had little velocity and the digressions seemed to have stalled, but then something happened. Dickens absolutely found his genius. It is interesting to behold a great author find his voice. I'm not just talking about any author or any voice. It is amazing to see Dickens find that genius balance between characters, plot, social commentary/satire, and humor. It was like watching a bird hatch, a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis. More than the story, which ended very well, the book is worth the effort for what it shows about Dickens. This isn't the first Dickens I'd read, but after you've read a bunch of Dickens, I'd definitely read this just to soak in Dickens growth and his views on friendship, marriage, lawyers, and debt.
Lovable, endearing, joyous.
Dickens' marvelous stream of inventive genius.
I have listened to another audible version of Pickwick Papers--in addition to reading it when I was young. But David Timson's performance is simply incomparable. I am thankful to have it, and look forward to listening to it again.
Yes--but it would require me to go without sleep for several days.
I don't normally write reviews, but I was so shocked by the first review to be posted that I felt I had to respond. To condemn Charles Dickens on the charges of racism and sexism displays a sad failure to understand the purpose of great literature, which is to open our minds to the full richness of life, and certainly not to re-enforce our current notions of political correctness. Few books display the richness of life more radiantly than The Pickwick Papers and I urge anyone who wants to enjoy a romp through early nineteenth England to download David Timson's enthralling version of Dickens first masterpiece. It is cheaper than a trip to England, and a lot more fun.
Though I always enjoy Dicken's novels, The Pickwick Papers was not an all-time favorite. For the first while I was confused and thought the tale was somewhat pointless. However, David Timson's marvelous narration made every minute of listening worth while. I don't believe I've ever heard a reader so adept at capturing a variety of Dickension characters and moods with precise accuracy and no overdone dramatics. Thanks to Timson, I was able to forgive the first hour or so of confusion and get on with really enjoying this collection of tales that comprise a somewhat plotless novel. Highly entertaining, laugh-out-loud humor, beautiful description, and profound insights that sill apply today.
This is a wonderful introduction to Dickens. It's sort of a collection of separate stories, each very funny and detailed. They tie together wonderfully through the character of Pickwick.
Audible has given me the chance to fall in love with Dickens. I have now listened to all the great novels, my favorites being Our Mutual Friend and David Copperfield, but I have loved them all. I hesitated to download The Pickwick Papers, fearing that it would be too silly and tarnish my admiration for his wit and wisdom. But I didn't have many more Dickens titles left, and I love David Timson as a narrator, so I took a chance. It took me a long time to settle into the book -- indeed there are many silly characters and events and many digressions, and it took a while for Dickens to develop those characters that I always fall in love with -- the truly good people who are kind and generous in a selfish and often grim world. Dickens tries out lots of themes that dominate his later, great, novels -- ghost stories (including a Christmas tale), debtor's prison, the legal profession (scoundrels almost all), alcoholism, tight-fisted businessmen who treat their progeny badly, political battles, the gullability and venality of humankind, and so much more. There are some truly joyous moments and characters -- the wedding banquet followed by the Christmas eve celebration was marvelous, Sam Weller (Veller) and his hysterical father, and of course Mr. Pickwick himself. Stick with the early chapters and you'll be well-rewarded.
Funny, thoughtful, timeless.
The wonderfully realized Dickensian characters.
He depicted each character distinctly.
I loved it for its sympathetic view of human foibles. I have listened twice and will listen again in the future.
This is a feel good book for when you want something that is intelligent and well written, but not dark and sad.
Fabulous stories and so beautifully read. One of Dickens very best.
Mr. pickwick, of course
Could not choose, he was the best reader I have heard. All the characters came to life. i could not wait to go to the gym or ride my bike so I could get back to hear him. It was just like listening to a play.
Way too long for a single sitting, but totally engrossing
I will look for more books read by David Timson, i wrote his name down on my notes to help me remember when I was halfway thru this reading.
This of all Dickens' novels is perfectly suited to the audiobook format. With its picaresque, episodic style, it can be consumed in reasonably-sized bites without fear of losing the thread of a complicated plot. Dickens' framing device of an editor presenting a series of recollections by Pickwick club members, with occasional editorial interpolations, is abandoned fairly early in favour of a straight narrative style, to this listener's mild relief. David Timson strikes the perfect light comic tone for the narrator and creates the huge gallery of characters with unfailing invention and variety. Woven into the narrative of the main characters are tales told by incidental raconteurs from all walks of Victorian life - lawyers, actors, vicars, travelling adventurers, and landed gentry. The language is full of Victorian delights - characters asking each other to "Have the goodness to ...", endlessly fussing about what is "respectable", calling each other "My dear sir...", and all the while getting through snuff by the boxful, particularly my favourite, the diminutive lawyer Mr Perker. Timson's greatest comic heights come in the arguments between Sam Weller and his irascible father, with their idiosyncratic dialects that must read very oddly on the page but sparkle with humour in Timson's sure hands. Thirty-two hours have never passed so pleasantly.
In my childhood I did like Dickens. Revisiting as a adult has been a big disappointment. He is so tedious and verbose. ALL his characters are unlikeable - stupid, racist, and sexist - but mostly stupid. Pickwich Papers is more like many short stories with a loose link so there is no sense of an overall plot. I have to read this book for book group so I'm listening to it at every opportunity just to "get it done". The performance is good but even that can't redeem a BAD book.
"Dickens at his most picaresque"
The Pickwick Papers have some of the richest prose and most tangential narratives of any of Dickens' work. As a consequence the stories have been neglected by Film makers who seek the simpler character and story arcs of 'Great Expectations' and the like. This audiobook is an excellent evocation of the novel in it's full charming complexity. Even more than his other novels this book was designed for serialization and so the audio is great for dipping in and out of.
"Excellent except for East Anglian accents"
This is an excellent reading. I was not familiar with the story but now it is one of my firm Dickens favourites. However (and isn't there always an however?) as good as David Timson is at reading it and bringing the characters beautifully to life, the accents of the characters in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich is the usual "mummerset". Please, when narrators are preparing to read, can they not at least listen to a genuine accent?
East Anglians speak with flat vowels and no rolled Rs.
"An upbeat romp"
This was one of Dicken's earliest publications, originally serialised for a sporting magazine. Personally I prefer his earlier works as they are more cheerful, and the Pickwick Papers is no exception. Wonderful characters include big hearted and eternally adventurous Mr Pickwick, his faithful sharp-witted servant Sam Weller and Mr Winkle, ineptly aspiring sportsman not averse to a white lie or two. The large cast of characters can be confusing in book form, but in audio format with a fabulous reader like David Timson you can simply sit back and enjoy the ride. Very entertaining.
"The Masters first book bought vividly to life."
The book is long and episodic, but NEVER dull. I first read it when I was a young boy, (I'm now 56) and I have read it many times since. This Audio version, read by the wonderful David Timson, brings not only Dickens world, but also his many characters to life. I have no doubt that I will be listening to this title again.
The book is populated by some of Dicken's greatest creations. From Jolly Mr Pickwick himself, to the amiable Mr Wardle, and the unutterable bounder Mr Jingle and many others. But my favourite has to be Pickwicks servant Sam Weller, for his home -spun philosophy, and fund of story's, to his ability to get Mr Pickwick out of the many scrapes he finds himself in.
I have listened to other Dickens books read by David Timson, and ALL of them are terrific. He doesn't so much read them, He gives a PERFORMANCE
The Christmas at Dingly Dell is always a delight to read. It always makes me want to be there. With David Timson's narration You can almost feel the heat from the roaring fire, and hear the laughter from the guests.
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