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Editorial Reviews

As the title suggests, the characters do not have much room for leisure and horseplay in this audiobook from Charles Dickens. Hard Times, performed with a biting musicality by veteran narrator Patrick Tull, is one of Dickens's later works and is a serious examination on the effects of the Industrial Revolution. The story begins with the no-nonsense Gradgrind household, where Mr. Gradgrind instills his strict teachings of facts and only facts. As the story progresses, the classic humor of Dickens seeps in, and Mr. Gradgrind receives some education himself. Whether it's the artful prose or the social commentary, there's plenty to enjoy as Patrick Tull takes listeners through this classic from Charles Dickens.
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Publisher's Summary

In the spare, no-nonsense Gradgrind household, Tom and Louisa are raised according to their father's unyielding guiding philosophy: facts - nothing but facts. But while a ban on imagination is mere policy for the Gradgrind children, lack of whimsy is a necessary survival skill in Coketown, the grimy and grim working-class burg devoted to nothing but the relentless advance of industry...
©1987 Recorded Books, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Darwin8u on 03-04-13

Good Samaritan was indeed a bad economist

The Good Samaritan was indeed a bad economist. Without becoming overly didactical, Dickens was able to explore in 'Hard Times' the contest between the oppositional conversations of Christian altruism (Louisa and Sissy) and market-driven, utilitarian self-interest (Bounderby and Bitzer), the novel takes its ethical position from the famous parable's narrative of redemptive love.

You probably don't need to guess which side of this argument Dickens favors. The story was simple but deep. The characters were rich and dynamic. I was a tad let down by the soft ending, but still carried away by the full measure of Dickens' message of redemption, love and fancy.

Tull's narration while absolutely true to the heavy Hand of Dickens' dialogue often approached the weight of unintelligibility. Warning, this is not a book to be listened to above 1.5 speed.

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17 of 18 people found this review helpful


By Amazon Customer on 02-12-13

The Tough Times

Would you consider the audio edition of Hard Times to be better than the print version?

Any performance of a Dickens book is better than the print version because it gives personality to the work.

What other book might you compare Hard Times to and why?

Oliver Twist because of the depiction of society of the time.

What about Patrick Tull’s performance did you like?

The inflection he puts into the prose and personality he gives the work.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Possibly, but a Dickens book is better savored a little at a time.

Any additional comments?

This is the longest reading in time of all the readings of this work available on audible. I believe a person can make a work move along without being overly slow. Don't get me wrong, Patrick Tull is an outstanding narrator. But some readers can even be better than others on some works. Otherwise, outstanding performance of this classic work by Dickens.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Claire on 10-08-07

Hard Times

Although the narration is great, Patrick Tull is fabulous to listen to, the sound quality is terrible. It's like listening through custard!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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