Our Mutual Friend

  • by Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by David Timson
  • 36 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A mysterious boatman on the Thames, a drowned heir, a dustman and his wife, and a host of other Dickens characters populate this novel of relationships between the classes, money, greed, and love. The 58 characters are presented with remarkable clarity by David Timson.

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What the Critics Say

"With a cast of characters that covers the whole spectrum of London life, Dickens weaves a tapestry of tales that are by turn funny, moving and tragic." (School Library Journal)
"David Timson makes the cavalcade of contemporary types compellingly real." (The Times, London)
"The fact that Dickens is always thought of as a caricaturist, although he was constantly trying to be something else, is perhaps the surest mark of his genius." (George Orwell)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Masterpiece

I have "read" many excellent Audible books, and this is hands down the best one so far. Dickens' beautiful language, intricately woven story lines, insightful observations and vivdly unique characters are tremendously enhanced by David Timson's masterful narration. His pacing is impeccable; never once did I feel he was going too fast or slow. His nuanced interpretation brought the printed words to life. In addition, the sound quality was excellent and consistent throughout the entire 36 hours.

Be aware that some of Dickens' Victorian-era idioms and expressions can be obscure. I found it impossible to fully comprehend them all. In some instances, his descriptions of scenes and/or thoughts are not completely understandable -- but if you just keep listening and let the narrative wash over you, a fascinating picture of the scene develops in your mind.

If you hang in there to the end, you will be rewarded with deep, touching scenes, subtle but enjoyably comedic vignettes, unforgettable characters, a multi-level struggle of good vs evil, and an eminently satisfying ending. A masterpiece on several levels.

Minor quibble: Near the end of Part 5, there is a place in the recording where the equivalent of about two pages of text is abruptly and obviously cut off. I re-downloaded the file and still encountered the issue. After looking up and reading the missing text on Amazon's "Search the Book" feature, I picked up the story again with no harm done.
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- A. Millard

Terrific

They're all here: schemers and scoundrels, benefactors and ne'er-do-wells, innocents and criminals, in a rich pageant of colorful Victorian characters and complicated, intertwined plots. Our Mutual Friend is wonderfully well written -- much better than Oliver Twist or A Tale of Two Cities. Here, Dickens' social satire is at it's very best. His criticism of the abysmal conditions of the poor in 19th century England, contrasted with the ease and luxury of the rich, is delivered in a touching and entertaining way, and never feels heavy-handed or didactic.

I usually detest dramatic readings of novels. They mostly fail. This is the exception, a real gem. A superb actor, David Timson creates a different voice for each character and makes the book shimmer. Dickens himself gave readings of his work and Our Mutual Friend seems made for performance.

Drift off occasionally and lose track of the plot? No matter. Dickens' marvelous language and Timson's amazing performance make it a pleasure to repeat a passage. And it doesn't really matter. This is a Victorian novel. You know what's going to happen: there will be a happy ending, one or two sad deaths, and you are not listening so much to learn who out-foxed whom, but to spend time in Dickens world, his amazing re-creation of Victorian London.

Also, Dickens rights his wrong of having created Fagin, the offensively drawn Jew of Oliver Twist. Apparently, he knew no Jews at all until he happened to sell his house to a Jewish banker, whose wife complained to him about Fagin. Taking her criticism to heart, he created Mr. Riah for Our Mutual Friend, a wise and kindly Jewish humanitarian.

This audiobook of Our Mutual Friend is terrific.
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- Edith

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-15-2007
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks