The Chuzzlewits are a family divided by money and selfishness; even young Martin, the eponymous hero, is arrogant and self-centred. He offends his grandfather by falling in love with the latter’s ward, Mary, and sets out to make his own fortune in life, travelling as far as America - which produces from Dickens a savage satire on a new world tainted with the vices of the old. Martin’s nature slowly changes through his bitter experience of life and his enduring love for Mary. Martin Chuzzlewit is one of Dickens’s most humorous and satirical novels, and it contains two great comic creations: the hypocrite Pecksniff and the drunken nurse Sarah Gamp.
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I confess I waded through the first hours getting hopelessly confused, but being a Dickens' fan I persevered. Then It occurred to me I could find the manuscript on line and straighten all the characters out in my mind. From then on I was hooked. It's a delicious satire that I enjoyed as long as it was based in England, cringed when it moved to America and smiled as Dickens resolves it all with full appropriate recompense.
Sean Barrett's performance was masterful sorting out the many characters.
The first few chapters of this delightful story center around one nasty character after another. Don't give up because there are dear friends to get to know -- Tom & Ruth, John, Mark Tapley (the best of all), young Martin at last, and more. I didn't want the story to end. The narrator is brilliant, with perhaps the best characterization of all being that of Sarah Gamp, whose fracturing of the English language is outrageously funny. I can't imagine reading her lines -- they must be unintelligible. Hearing them made me laugh out loud. And Dickens' satire of America is broad but true -- where every man has the title of "Major" or "General", befouls every surface with copious quantities of spat tobacco juice, brags about himself and his nation, swindles, and is cock-sure and greedy. He certainly nailed the worst of our faults, and, once again, presents the flaws and beauties of human nature. Enjoy!
This is a wonderful novel with some especially colorful imagery at various points. The narrator is a little bland when speaking as the narrator, but his character voices are rich and varied, and leave nothing wanting.
Written in 1843, this is an excellent Dickens novel that deserves to be as well known as say Oliver Twist or Great Expectations. The author???s typical tongue-in-cheek humour is very present throughout the work. The number of characters is reasonable, they are relatively fleshed out and it is easy for the reader to sympathize with many. Surprisingly in a Dickens work, some live through phases of introspection and evolve significantly.
The plot is characteristically implausible and includes completely improbable coincidences. It does however entail quite a bit of suspense. In fact, the novel may be perceived in some chapters as a prototype to murder mysteries (which of course had not yet been invented when it was written). Accordingly, despite the length of the book, the reader is constantly enticed to read on.
It is quite fascinating to follow major characters as they emigrate to the United States. The narrator???s comments on America are marked certainly by the author???s own British prejudices. The absence of interest towards culture in the New World and the general obsession with money are developed without subtlety. The narrator???s observations are also coloured by the times. So, New York is described as a ???vast, flat city???. Much more seriously, the paradox of slavery in a nation so proud to be founded on liberty is strongly underscored.
Overall, this fascinating, well-written work is strongly recommended to all.
This is the first book I have listened to that was narrated by Sean Barrett. He is an excellent voice actor and brings each character to life. It is very easy to follow even though the plot can be quite complex. A very enjoyable audio book.
This is a long novel, skilfully written, as all of Dickens tales are. It is his theme that puts a little fog and storm throughout: human selfishness. As always, he introduces us to many carefully drawn characters -- and, in this case, many kinds of self-centered behavior. There are a few very good characters, of course-- and those are not the sort of folks the "great ones" even notice. Also there is a gradual but very satisfying growth in the title character throughout his tale.
Another feature of this Dickens novel is the part of it set in America and his critique of the attitudes of many Americans of the time. The author did not make himself popular with them by this open criticism, but, to be fair, the selfish rascals in Britain were painted just as vividly.
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