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Publisher's Summary

Death, innocence, sacrifice and corruption  - The Old Curiosity Shop is vintage Dickens. Provoking an unprecedented outpouring of public grief when it was first published, it follows the story of Little Nell and her feckless grandfather. Forced to leave their magical shop of curiosities in London, they are pursued across the English countryside by the grotesquely evil dwarf Quilp. They escape  - but at what cost?

Part tragedy, part allegory, this is Dickens at his most intense; drawing on his own experiences, he weaves a story of extraordinary emotional power.

Public Domain (P)2009 Naxos Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ro
  • 12-10-09

Outstanding Narration

After listening to Mr Lesser's narration, I was reminded how enjoyable the book was the first time I read it. Mr Lesser using his acting skills to the fullest, and his understanding of the characters comes through in his narration. It felt as if Quilp was actually narrating the script himself. I listened to the book in only a week, and I couldn't recommend a better book to listen to.
The story itself was pieced together by Dickens and was never meant to become a novel. However, the narration makes it sound as if the continuity flowed---something I could not manage when reading it myself.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Balarka
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 11-25-09

A wonderful journey through Dicken's England.

This novel lacks some of the drama of stories such as Oliver Twist, but Dickens nevertheless takes the reader on a colourful and often touching journey into the best and worst of human nature. Anton Lesser's somewhat softer voice seems to do more justice to the feminine and younger characters of this story than some of the other narrators I have heard. I thoroughly recommend this audiobook, but do caution the listener to be prepared for an unexpected ending.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Dickens and Lesser

Anton Lesser does a fabulous job of reading Dickens. And the book is just as touching and interesting now as it was when crowds gathered to find out if Little Nell had died. Listening to Dickens read by someone who knows all the different dialects contributes immensely to appreciating the worlds D. creates.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

GREAT performance!

If you could sum up The Old Curiosity Shop in three words, what would they be?

Charming, emotional, and polished.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Either Mr. Swiveller because of his humor or Kit Nubbles for his genuine honesty.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Mr. Swiveller falls ill and finds himself waking weeks later in the care of the servant girl, whom he affectionately and ironically named the Marchionesse. His fair treatment of her when she was the lowest of servants was repaid by her taking care of him, perhaps even saving his life.

Any additional comments?

The performance of the narrator, Anton Lesser, is second to none. With a variety of voices easily recognized throughout the story and with such emotion in a believable manner, this has to be one of the best narrators I've ever heard on Audible.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Bergljot
  • Mosfellsbaer, Iceland
  • 06-12-14

Good but not the best of Dickens

The story is a bit disjointed and sentimental for my taste but Anton Lesser's performance makes it a classic

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sibyl
  • Aiken, SC, United States
  • 07-05-12

Wonderful narrator, not my favorite Dickens story

I love Dickens, and I don't regret listening to this book, but The Old Curiosity Shop just isn't one of my favorites. Anton Lesser is a wonderful narrator, however, who made this an enjoyable read nonetheless.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not my favorite

I found The Old Curiosity Shop to be a bit slow and a bit too melodramatic for my tastes. With that said, I always enjoy Charles Dickens, and consider his books to be time well spent.
The narration was outstanding, and the production excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Dickens Still the Best Page Turner!

Sentimental, loquacious, improbable -- but always supremely entertaining. Anton Lesser is the perfect reader and wonderfully expands the text and captures Dickens's theatricality. Get the linked-in text and discover the full pleasure ...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Anton Lesser is great.

What a fabulous reading of Dickens this is. Mr. Lesser is a brilliant narrator. His voice characterizations are highly evocative of the hearts, class and breeding of these Victorians. I was completely taken in from the get-go.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Truly Dickensian but not a Masterpiece!

With this novel, Dickens afionados will be glad to discover yet another one of his works. As may be expected, the plot is at once thin, convoluted, completely implausible and yet quite enjoyable. As usual, the characters are strikingly one-dimensional: for instance, Nell is beautiful and utterly good and Quilp is grotesquely deformed and perfectly evil. The author???s characteristic tongue in cheek humour is pleasantly present throughout the book.

Somehow, things are not quite as polished as in better known works. For instance, narration switches in chapter 3 from the first person to the third, with a rather awkward explanation. A major character abruptly disappears about a third of the way into the novel and the reader is only briefly told what has become of him in the last pages of the book.

Thus, those unfamiliar with Dickens would benefit in reading first one of his more famous novels such as Oliver Twist or Great Expectations.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Moominmamma
  • 08-17-13

Good old Charlie!

Would you listen to The Old Curiosity Shop again? Why?

No. It was beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it should be enjoyed for what it is. Don't delve too deep.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Old Curiosity Shop?

The opening scene, the walk, the encounter, the intriguing revelations. Gorgeous.

What does Anton Lesser bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Mr Lesser is an extraordinarily talented narrator. He manages to evoke so many larger than life characters who are working within a long and complex plot, he is funny,sad, sympathetic and downright horrible, Brilliant!

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

I laughed a lot!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Laura
  • 08-02-13

Hooked very early on!

Fantastic book, I was nervous about the style of writing but I understood it all and enjoyed it! Waffles a bit in places but very enjoyable.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • francois
  • 05-01-16

And so things pass away, like a tale that is told

This was an excellent book, the characters were brilliant.
It is Very well read
Entertaining and funny and emotional.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • linda
  • 02-29-16

Another Dickens classic

I have somehow managed to avoid reading this Dickens' novel until now and I don't know why. From the opening page Dickens draws you in with characters so rich in character that you want to loathe, pity or follow them with intrigue.

Just when you think that things cannot get any worse for the poor long-suffering characters, Dickens sticks the boot in. The storyline is however, lifted throughout with charming, witty and eccentric characters that keep you 'turning the page' - metaphorically as I listened on Audible!

The narrator on this occasion was perfect for the tale, making the characters come to life.

A heart-warming experience.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sandy Gee
  • 02-13-16

Fantastically moving

Beautifully read and acted, a great story. It is a wonderful way to "read" the classics because the narrator conveys such understanding that actual reading would perhaps not reveal.
It is for anyone who wishes to be easily familiar with a great novel.
Thank you Anton Lesser.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 04-09-13

Great Story and Brilliantly Narrated!

A great story with polarized characters. Daniel Quilp is just brilliantly conceived and very malevolent, though hugely entertaining. The main story of the Grandfather and little Nell is tragic and heart-rending, but there's a lot more besides which brings about some great twists and surprises along the way. Anton Lesser is brilliant throughout, particularly his Quilp

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maziar
  • 02-04-13

Pulled me away from my Playstation--Sacrilegious

Just finished listening to it. A beautifully written book, with vividly described scenes and characters that are brought to life by the remarkable vocal talents of the narrator who for me not only reads at just the right pace but also interprets the book just as I imagine Charlie D would have wanted it to be. Outstanding job this story is one you may never forget. I am just gonna have to buy another Dickens/Lesser combination and ‘Little Dorrit’ looks quite tasty (not literally of course).



Spoiler following: damn that ending. As the Audible descriptions says the book caused an outcry when first published and I can see why. Isn’t there enough misery in the world? I so badly wanted the book to have a happy ending that it was almost painful to listen to the last few chapters again. Loses half star for that Mr. Dickens!!!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bobbi-jo wallace
  • 06-10-15

Masterpiece

Once again Dickens proves that he is the greatest writers of all time. A classic that everyone should hear.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • kerrymay
  • 03-04-12

Great reader but not my favourite Dickens

The reader was brilliant, especially his portrayal of Quilp. However, this was not my favourite Dickens. I can usually put aside minor irritations as conventions of the era but I found the saintliness of Nell began to grate after a while. Also, the fact that she was always referred to as 'the child'.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Welsh Mafia
  • 12-28-09

The Curiosity of Time

This is a book that I returned to approximately 35 years after reading it at school ? and very fond and vivid memories of the opening scenes being read out loud to the class with the homework to fill in the bits and then read it to its conclusion. The opening chapters still burn very bright in the memory ? based on the brightly drawn characters of Daniel Quilp, Kit Nubbles and the onomatopoeic Dick Swiveller. Each leaps back into the imagination untouched by time and ready to entertain.
The domestic scene where Quilp returns unexpectedly to disrupt his wife and her mother sitting around with their cronies is one of the funniest scenes in literature ? and there are so many common-place references that stand this book at the centre of London life.
A welcome stroll down memory lane ? sometimes a little winding and slow ? and, paradoxically a little too quick in parcelling up the ending. But, nonetheless the Dickens cannon is at the centre of the English novel and a welcome return to times gone by brought freshly into mind.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rodney Wetherell
  • 11-08-18

Fine reading of rambling tale

I had never read The Old Curiosity Shop, and thought I would grab the chance of hearing it via an audio book. For the second time I found myself listening to Anton Lesser, and he is one of the best readers I have heard on audio books, bringing the characters to life and moving the story along. Unfortunately I found Dickens' story less than involving. I know his novels are often 'picaresque', ie following a character as they wander around the countryside, into whatever adventures they have. This one takes the picaresque to new extremes - some of the people encountered by Little Nell and her grandfather are frankly uninteresting, and I don't know why Dickens bothered with them. Some of his descriptive writing is superb, however. Kit is an interesting character, though like Nell, a bit too good to be true. And Quilp is surely too bad to be true - the worst of Dickens' monsters, though he has been cut from cardboard. I got very tired of Quilp in his first, very long appearance in the novel, and in the last few chapters of the book, I could not wait for him to die. Nell is definitely too good to be true too - but I do know she is a famous character in literature, and feel glad to have made her acquaintance. On the whole, though, this novel made me feel I had had enough of Dickens for quite a few years (the other novel I have heard is Dombey and Son, which I enjoyed more - also read by Anton Lesser I am sure).

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-18-18

Fantastic performance

This is worth listening to for Anton Lesser’s performance alone, particularly of the villainous Quilp. The story is not Dickens’ best but still entertains and casts light on social evils relevant today.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-28-17

excellent

Anton lesser delivers a fantastic performance once again and Dickens,superb and historical in his tales of everyday life.