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The first few chapters of this delightful story center around one nasty character after another. Don't give up because there are dear friends to get to know -- Tom & Ruth, John, Mark Tapley (the best of all), young Martin at last, and more. I didn't want the story to end. The narrator is brilliant, with perhaps the best characterization of all being that of Sarah Gamp, whose fracturing of the English language is outrageously funny. I can't imagine reading her lines -- they must be unintelligible. Hearing them made me laugh out loud. And Dickens' satire of America is broad but true -- where every man has the title of "Major" or "General", befouls every surface with copious quantities of spat tobacco juice, brags about himself and his nation, swindles, and is cock-sure and greedy. He certainly nailed the worst of our faults, and, once again, presents the flaws and beauties of human nature. Enjoy!
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
I confess I waded through the first hours getting hopelessly confused, but being a Dickens' fan I persevered. Then It occurred to me I could find the manuscript on line and straighten all the characters out in my mind. From then on I was hooked. It's a delicious satire that I enjoyed as long as it was based in England, cringed when it moved to America and smiled as Dickens resolves it all with full appropriate recompense.
Sean Barrett's performance was masterful sorting out the many characters.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
Great characters, a fascinating story, lots of humour, brilliantly read and characterised by Sean Barrett.
The novel has one or two chapters that are a bit long-winded (don't be put off by Chapter 1), the American section is surprisingly anti-american.
But you must make the acquaintance of some of the unforgettable characters such as Mr Pecksniff, Tom Pinch and may you never be looked after by Mrs Gamp.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
I always enjoy listening to audiobooks - but this reading by Sean Barrett is like a dramatisation. It reminded me that Dickens was famous for his theatrical readings, and how susceptible audience members had hysterics. It is a truly wonderful performance. There are tedious passages in most of Dickens' novels but I was so entranced by Sean Barrett's impersonations, of Mrs Gamp, Mr Pecksniff, Mrs Todger, Bill Bailey (the list goes on) that I did not want to miss a word. As a novel, this one is patchy; but Dickens has the knack of conjuring up truly evil characters, such as Jonas Chuzzlewit and Mr Pecksniff, and Sean Barrett's performance made me feel Dickens' magnificence as novelist even more, I think, than simply reading it for myself would have done. The novel has been on my bookshelves for years and I've taken it down, flipped over the pages and put it back on several occasions. The whole experience of listening to a master in performance bringing to life the work of another master convinces me that there's more to be done, yet, in writing novels for reading aloud, rather than simply reading to oneself. The best of story-telling, like this, needs the human voice!
12 of 13 people found this review helpful