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"With a cast of characters that covers the whole spectrum of London life, Dickens weaves a tapestry of tales that are by turn funny, moving and tragic." (School Library Journal)
"David Timson makes the cavalcade of contemporary types compellingly real." (The Times, London)
"The fact that Dickens is always thought of as a caricaturist, although he was constantly trying to be something else, is perhaps the surest mark of his genius." (George Orwell)
I have "read" many excellent Audible books, and this is hands down the best one so far. Dickens' beautiful language, intricately woven story lines, insightful observations and vivdly unique characters are tremendously enhanced by David Timson's masterful narration. His pacing is impeccable; never once did I feel he was going too fast or slow. His nuanced interpretation brought the printed words to life. In addition, the sound quality was excellent and consistent throughout the entire 36 hours.
Be aware that some of Dickens' Victorian-era idioms and expressions can be obscure. I found it impossible to fully comprehend them all. In some instances, his descriptions of scenes and/or thoughts are not completely understandable -- but if you just keep listening and let the narrative wash over you, a fascinating picture of the scene develops in your mind.
If you hang in there to the end, you will be rewarded with deep, touching scenes, subtle but enjoyably comedic vignettes, unforgettable characters, a multi-level struggle of good vs evil, and an eminently satisfying ending. A masterpiece on several levels.
Minor quibble: Near the end of Part 5, there is a place in the recording where the equivalent of about two pages of text is abruptly and obviously cut off. I re-downloaded the file and still encountered the issue. After looking up and reading the missing text on Amazon's "Search the Book" feature, I picked up the story again with no harm done.
They're all here: schemers and scoundrels, benefactors and ne'er-do-wells, innocents and criminals, in a rich pageant of colorful Victorian characters and complicated, intertwined plots. Our Mutual Friend is wonderfully well written -- much better than Oliver Twist or A Tale of Two Cities. Here, Dickens' social satire is at it's very best. His criticism of the abysmal conditions of the poor in 19th century England, contrasted with the ease and luxury of the rich, is delivered in a touching and entertaining way, and never feels heavy-handed or didactic.
I usually detest dramatic readings of novels. They mostly fail. This is the exception, a real gem. A superb actor, David Timson creates a different voice for each character and makes the book shimmer. Dickens himself gave readings of his work and Our Mutual Friend seems made for performance.
Drift off occasionally and lose track of the plot? No matter. Dickens' marvelous language and Timson's amazing performance make it a pleasure to repeat a passage. And it doesn't really matter. This is a Victorian novel. You know what's going to happen: there will be a happy ending, one or two sad deaths, and you are not listening so much to learn who out-foxed whom, but to spend time in Dickens world, his amazing re-creation of Victorian London.
Also, Dickens rights his wrong of having created Fagin, the offensively drawn Jew of Oliver Twist. Apparently, he knew no Jews at all until he happened to sell his house to a Jewish banker, whose wife complained to him about Fagin. Taking her criticism to heart, he created Mr. Riah for Our Mutual Friend, a wise and kindly Jewish humanitarian.
This audiobook of Our Mutual Friend is terrific.
Narrator: David Timson makes this Charles Dickens Novel Live
This is the most enjoyable novel I've listened to yet on Audible.com. David makes all 58 characters come to life with such clarity that you are transported to the 1800's. I'm sure if Charles Dickens were to listen to David's narration he would laugh and cry just like I have. A big thank you to David and Charles.
interested in history, science, and pulp fiction
Frankly, I had not heard of Our Mutual Friend before whimsically browsing Audible for the longest Dickens audiobook. (I believe this is it.)
What a wonderful surprise! OMF has elements of both the classic noir DOA and The Prince and the Pauper - which create some amusement and suspense. The main character is a charming, self effacing fellow, typical of Dickens but less heavy handedly created. Interesting characters in sometimes hilarious situations (Wegg and Venus negotiating over Wegg's "property," or conspiring at Boffin's together...unforgettable!), as well as two romantic trajectories - one of which I found unlikely and kind of hot, for Dickens.
The best element for me, though, was the historic detail. No surprise that there is historic detail, but in this case, it's about the riverfront, the locks, and the "dust pile". It was fascinating, and new information to me. The opening chapter is startling in its "mise en scene," so to speak.
The reader, David Timson, is fantastic. Just fantastic. Great range, excellent timing, a real performer.
None of my (admittedly casual) fellow readers had heard of this Dickens book, and I don't know exactly why. I suppose it is not the best crafted, technically, but it is a very satisfying "read."
Dickens at his best - rich characters who are funny, heart-wrenchingly sad, evil, delightful, intersecting plots with twists and turns, social commentary on wealth and class and false piety and pride. David Timson is a brilliant narrator. He is equally convincing as the sweet young heroine and the gruff old man and the dozens of characters in between. Some very funny voices that bring Dickens' story to life. Stick with the beginning, as Dickens introduces the large cast of characters. Once you get to know them all, you won't want the story to end, even though it's a very long audio book.
Our Mutual Friend is quintessential Dickens: memorable, sometimes over the top characters; decent plot; some fine descriptive writing; quite a bit of tedious sentimentality; biting satire directed against the ignorant, pompous rich on behalf of he honest poor. I found it a much more satisfying novel than Dombey and Son, and except for a few of the stretched out mawkish passages, pretty engaging.
David Timson's narration is simply brilliant. I cannot imagine it being bettered. He gives each character a distinctive voice that is wonderfully well matched to the personality, sex, age, and social station of each individual. To do this so well obviously takes a great deal of preparation. insight, and theatrical ability. He should receive an award for this reading. It's that good.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
The last novel completed by Charles Dickens, it is one of his most sophisticated works, combining psychological insight with social analysis. It is about human values, money and the effect the latter on the former. Some of the characters, the book in general and the plot specifically are complex. Most of the characters are deep and richly portrayed others are well portrayed but more, quite simple in their basic nature of goodness or evil. For its time and male author, the book is notable for its strong female characters The plot focuses class, education and, was it mentioned, money.
The book is incredibly clever, tragic and funny. Like all of the rest of Dickens, it is a pure masterpiece and work of genius. It is a period piece that might not appeal to all but, if one has ever read the author, it is in the same tradition as earlier works.
Speaking of genius, David Timson miraculously keeps track of all the 50+ characters and renders them individually as though a cast of separate star actors were delivering the work. I do not believe this book on its own is always easily approachable. However, Mr. Timson makes it much more easy going and enjoyable to the max. The reading by this great actor alone is worth the price of admission.
The best dickens story I have listened to by far.
This should be a movie. A hint of Mystery and a great twist and set upon a wholesome and beneficial moral compass.
Superlative narration acting monotony and imbibed with Beautiful presence and consciousness of great acting.
The book is pure Dickens, but it requires some patience to get into, especially for first time readers of this genre. The first fourth or fifth of the book will be slow going for some, but perseverance will be rewarded.
I can't say enough about the terrific, spot on narration. I wish this reader would do more Dickens. He was fantastic.
I didn't realize until this book was finished that I had heard this narrator before in the Meaning of Night. Amazing voices and attitudes for ALL the characters, I can't imagine how he keeps them all straight while making these. I hope David Timson will be making more audiobooks like this one. As for the actual book, also fabulous. I love how social standing, wealth and friendships are all the same then as now. I found myself laughing outloud at points during the story. Enjoy!
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