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Hard Times  By  cover art

Hard Times

By: Charles Dickens
Narrated by: Anton Lesser
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Publisher's summary

Hard Times is Dickens's most political novel. Set in the industrial north of England, in Coketown, he examines the lives of working people, who are taught by the capitalists Gradgrind and Bounderby to think only of the facts of life and not to indulge in imagination. Gradgrind’s own children have been so educated and as a result are dysfunctional and disconnected from their feelings. Only the travelling circus company of Sleary seems to offer any hope of humanity in Coketown. Hard Times is a deeply moving story written in anger to strike a blow for the victims of the dehumanising processes of industry.

Public Domain (P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about Hard Times

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    4 out of 5 stars

Very glad I kept going!

Is there a Dickens narrator who can surpass Anton Lesser? Equal, yes, a very few, but surpass? I think this is my last Dickens novel to listen to (I'm going to have to go back and start again, otherwise it's just too depressing to contemplate), and I nearly didn't finish it. One of the qualities of audiobooks is that the writing (often dialogue, but not always) can be more difficult to listen to than to read. The beginning of the book, with its focus on Gradgrind's educational philosophy, was hard for me to listen to, and I left it for a few months. Thank heavens I came back to it. Lesser is a consummate actor, and his voicing of the characters is intense and immediate. He is excellent at voicing characters of all sexes; some otherwise wonderful male narrators have women characters who don't possess the fullness and breadth of their male characters, but not Lesser. His reading of Louisa's appeal to her father toward the end of the book nearly brought me to tears, it was so full of real and heartfelt emotion, but never overdone.

This is an interesting Dickens because it's so much shorter than most of his books. Only 10+ hours. At times I felt that the story and some of the characters weren't as fully fleshed out as usual, but who cares, it's Dickens, the writing is exquisite, and you simply cannot find better narration.

I also hadn't expected, from my first outing with the book, to be laughing out loud as much as I did. Mr. Bounderby's quality of constantly bringing up his rags-to-riches life story gets more and more hilarious as the book goes on.

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11 people found this helpful

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Magnificent Book! Imminently Practical!

This is my first time reading/listening to a Charles Dickens book and I was not disappointed. There is so much symbology, imagery, and metaphors to glean from this. I love all the characters and feel for the main characters, and the trials they endure in these hard times. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good read that will give you something to think about.

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2 people found this helpful

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A Dickens Classic

Wonderful story of the human nature while at the same time capturing the essence of what it means to love! The narrator is excellent!

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Story improves about 1/3 way

Charles Dickens is an extraordinary writer! I just love his books. Great Expectations is my favorite, and I have read it many times.

This was my first time listening to Hard Times. It took me quite a while to warm up to the book. It’s not like his other novels that draw you in immediately. I did come to love the characters in the story, but it was not until about 1/3 of the way into the novel.

I am very glad I read it and gave it a chance!

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Wonderful narrator

Thoroughly enjoyed the narrator and the story. Eight more words are required so I typed that.

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Great story! Loved the narrator!

Anton Lessor is the best narrator ever! Hope to listen to more books narrated by him.

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Entertaining voice acting!

Narrator was simply incredible. Characters are so humorous. The story really makes you pause and reflect on how we choose to build the various relationships in our lives and whether we believe ourselves, or others, can truly change for the better.

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  • BG
  • 05-08-23

Wonderful

wonderful story and well done narration - love Dickens - highly recommend to anyone

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The weaver

So fine are his books. You want for nothing with his carefully woven scenarios, and are looking forward to the downfall and exposure of the villain, which he takes great care in creating. You lose yourself. The language is stunning. I can’t get enough. Very very well narrated by Anton Lesser, the man’s a genius. Makes the characters individual, and they completely come alive. Thank yoy Anton, thank you audible, and RIP Charles Dickens.

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Great narrator

Difficult to follow at first but finally gets easier. Not the best Dickens novel but the reader was incredible.

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