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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.
54 of 54 people found this review helpful
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.
30 of 30 people found this review helpful
David Timson is a gifted narrator with a seemingly endless repertoire of characterful voices which do the novel full justice. Our Mutual Friend was not favourably reviewed when it was first published but this reading is hugely enjoyable and places many of the characters among Dickens's most memorable.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
Our Mutual Friend is darkly satiric, has superb descriptions of London and reeks of the river. Plus, Bella Wilfer must be just about unique in the Charles Dickens' female stable in having some complexity to her character.
This is the first audiobook that I have heard narrated by the talented David Timson. He appears to have an endless fund of character-laden voices to draw upon which is perfect for Dickens' novels. I am enjoying this immensely and would recommend this particular reading to anyone who is a Charles Dickens fan.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful