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Publisher's Summary

In this, perhaps Dickens' most profound and personal novel, we are invited to share in the sentimental education of Pip, the poor boy from the village forge who risks losing himself in snobbery and selfishness when he mysteriously inherits a fortune. The story moves from the bleak Kentish marshes of Pip's childhood to a thrilling climax that mingles tragedy and triumph.

Public Domain (P)1996 Naxos AudioBooks Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"We take great joy in recording our conviction that Great Expectations is a masterpiece." (The Atlantic Monthly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Complex characters and beautiful narration

I started and abandoned another audiobook of Great Expectations a while back. While I found the narration excellent, the beginning of the book, with Pip's terrorizing by the convict and then the abuse by his sister, was just too bleak and intense, and I gave it up. However, I am running out of Dickens, and decided to try Anton Lesser's recording. I am familiar with his acting work on Wolf Hall and Endeavour but had never listened to his narration. It is exquisite. His portrayal of Pip is straightforward, gentle, almost minimalist, very moving, and his voicing of the other characters is varied and marvelous. It was utterly engrossing.

Great Expectations does not contain the comic relief that Dickens used in so many novels. There is so much horror and sadness: Mrs. Joe, the convicts, Orlick, Miss Havisham, but there is also love and tenderness: Joe Gargery, Wemmick and his Aged Parent, Biddy. It's a rich and beautifully-written story, and well worth your time.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • keahi
  • las vegas, NV, United States
  • 04-25-12

Dickens paints wonderful imagery with his words.

What made the experience of listening to Great Expectations the most enjoyable?

Anton Lesser is a master of voices and characters.

What did you like best about this story?

Pip's life lessons parallel many of our own youthful misguidance that only straightens itself out as he actually lives life.

Have you listened to any of Anton Lesser’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

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

no

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bonnie
  • Sequim, WA, United States
  • 04-22-12

A superb narration for this classic.

What did you love best about Great Expectations?

Dickens has always provided characters that are memorable; the narration here has managed to truly bring them to life.

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

I can't choose a favorite character in this performance--Mr. Lesser caught them all so very well indeed.

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

I was moved as Pip realized just how much his mysterious benefactor had suffered unduly, and as we watch him fully change his attitudes and turn around his expectations both of other and of himself.

Any additional comments?

A rendition I most firmly recommend by a superb narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautifully performed

Anton Lesser reads this late novel by Dickens beautifully. He excels in his range of voices and accents. Warmly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Love the narration, disliked the book

I just love Anton Lesser as a narrator. He is an amazing reader, with an incredible knack for creating rich characters with just his voice.

On the other hand, I've never cared for Dickens, and his popularity has always been puzzling. This seemed like a good opportunity to see if Mr. Lesser could open the door of Dicken's magic.

As always, Mr. Lesser made magic with his voice. These characters will remain with me as rich individuals. But I still don't understand Dickens' popularity, because the story was not engaging in the least - at least, not for me. Instead, I was simply annoyed by the passive and discontented Pip, who is never happy no matter what life gives him.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin
  • Rochester, Australia
  • 03-02-13

A Worthy Favourite

There's nothing much that Anton Lesser can't do -- from Hamlet to Homer, his performances are always superlative. So he's the ideal narrator for Dickens' best novel, the wide range of vivid characters drawing out all the actor's virtuosity. Three minutes in, the convict appears out of nowhere, the listener is gripped by the neck, and this eerie and enthralling story begins to unfold in lifelike colour.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Anton Lesser's narration is amazing

Would you consider the audio edition of Great Expectations to be better than the print version?

Yes... the narration is that good.

What about Anton Lesser’s performance did you like?

His talent for various voices and accents makes the story come alive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing narration performance

I love Anton Lesser’s narrations. I will look for other books read by him (this is my second). His characterizations are amazing and consistent throughout. The realistic and varied voicings flesh out the character whether they be male, female or young,old or poor, privileged. And don’t forget how great this story is. This was my third time reading it. Good job Charles. Good job Anton.

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Anton Lesser is the best

I felt instantly connected with the time and place and the feel of the England portrayed in GE through the wonderful acting/narration of Anton Lesser. Dickens can be really funny I realized, like laugh out loud funny. Who knew? I would never have been able to flesh out the author’s intentions as well by reading this on my own as I was able to by experiencing Lesser’s interpretation of the characters.

Such a pleasure to have access to a narrator the caliber of Lesser, as well as so many others. We are very fortunate.

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Superb narration of a great novel

I can't believe it took me so long to discover the glories of Charles Dickens! This novel deserves its place in the canon -- and the reading by Anton Lesser is outstanding. I listened to several samples of different narrations before choosing one and thought the lightness of Lesser's voice seemed appropriate for what I knew of the character of Pip. I didn't realise quite how versatile a performer he is and my expectations were massively exceeded. This was a beautifully paced, engaged, sensitive reading with just enough dramatic touches and accents to make the characters come alive, without ever becoming distracting, overdone or annoying. One of the most pleasing narrations I've encountered in all my years as an Audible listener.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Val Waite
  • 06-02-11

Dickens brought to life.

The last time I encountered Dickens was at school (some 40 odd years ago) when our English teacher read Oliver Twist to us and made it come alive. In order to relive this experience I downloaded Great Expectations and was not disappointed. Anton Lesser is an inspired choice as narrator...along with Dickens descriptive talent he made this a magical experience and I want to move on to more of the same.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Derek Thorburn
  • 09-11-15

Best Reading Ever

Where does Great Expectations rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Definitely in my top five.

What about Anton Lesser’s performance did you like?

The beginning where Magwitch leaps out at Pip - he yells.

Any additional comments?

For anyone who wants to start on Dickens, I recommend you choose this book. It's a sudden beginning and you've just got to read until you reach the end. You feel for Pip right the way through, especially in his love for Estella.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Roderic
  • 01-23-14

Dickens and Lesser are a Perfect Combination

Where does Great Expectations rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Equal top with other Dickens/Lesser collaborations and some Virginia Woolf / Juliet Stevenson works.

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

Wemmick, or rather the home and story of Wemmick and the Aged P, is a wonderfully endearing construct.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. T. Whittaker
  • 07-03-12

Great Expectations Fulfilled

Anton Lesser is brilliant at creating the characters Dickens portrays in this wonderful story – he never falters in bring the imagination to life, making me laugh out loud or shed a tear whilst listening to him on the bus - I will listen to this story over and over again. My great expectation was fulfilled. Thank you Mr Lesser.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • PMQ
  • 08-11-17

Excellent

A classic Dickens' novel; the narration by Mr Lesser is especially good (as are all his narrations) with a very good range of voices for the different characters. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DamLou
  • 08-18-18

Brilliant

Tremendous reading. Amazing array of character voices and read with perfect pacing. Fully enjoyed it

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  • Jo Cresswell
  • 12-23-17

Sublime!!

I’ve read Great Expectations a couple of times, however this reading has brought a whole new dimension to the story. I hadn’t quite appreciated the beauty of Dickens’ language, the sheer depth of his story telling, and the subtle (and not so subtle) humour. I have got so much more from this audiobook than I thought possible when I chose it as my next ‘listen’.

Anton Lesser was outstanding in the way he brought this book to life. He acted, rather than narrated, and each character had its own distinctive presence. He has a wonderful voice which is a pleasure to listen to.

A sublime listen, which has led me to immediately download another Dickens / Anton Lesser combination!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-01-17

Slow story

Though a thought-provoking and morally valuable tale, full of rich language and at times entertaining, the story is a little slow. The ending is almost worth it! Nonetheless, a superb vocal performance

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  • L. Douet
  • 12-20-16

Simply perfect

Having listened to quite a bit of modern fiction recently, I am astonished at the quality of the story, characterisation and language in this wonderful reading.
Anton Lesser is simply perfect. His voice as Pip could almost *be* that of John Mills playing Pip in the excellent (and most memorable) David Lean film. Throughout, his ability to bring to life every character, with perfect diction, emotion and timing added so much to the book.
I enthusiastically recommend this to anyone.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bob
  • 12-10-16

Expectations met

If you could sum up Great Expectations in three words, what would they be?

Touching, human, exhilarating

What was one of the most memorable moments of Great Expectations?

The opening scene in the churchyard when Pip meets Magwich sets the scene where the dark side of life meets the innocent. Also the scene on the Thames where Pip tries to get his benefactor to the safety of the ship.

What about Anton Lesser’s performance did you like?

Anton Lesser is a superb performer who brings vitality and life to any reading. He brings it all to life and makes it real.

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

Typical Dickens in that it takes you on an emotional ride. All emotions shown and felt on a deeply personal level.

Any additional comments?

An excellent introduction to Dickens with his most accessible novel.

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  • Monica O'Brien
  • 12-05-15

Wonderful Narration

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I had great expectations of the story and it met them all ;)