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What I enjoy most about Dickens is the quality of his writing. And this book, to me, is his best. It seems like Dickens managed to squeeze every character he ever came up with into this book, and I loved each and every one of them. And the narrator -- well, if you haven't heard anything performed by Robert Whitfield (whose real name is Simon Vance), just get this book. By far my favorite narrator, reading Dickens at his best. Who could ask for more?
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
For my money, Our Mutual Friend is the best novel Dickens ever wrote--a bit darker than the others, but all the more powerful. Although it presents the usual cast of caricatures, there are no throwaways, the themes they represent are not trivial. Dickens (sorry, no apostrophe function) attacks on snobbery and greed are unusually vicious as well as funny, and there is a new depth to the main characters--especially in the darker romance (there are two). Lizzie Hexam is a breathtaking character--serious, beautiful, redemptive. Dickens sentimentalism (to my mind the serious flaw in his works) is kept to a minimum in this one.
And--The reading is perfect. Robert Whitfield is a talented and sensitive reader. I will be looking for more of his work.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Dickens is in his usual form with great characters who are recognisable in every age. Here he deals with wealth and poverty and introduces us to people of every layer of society who are greedy for money and others who are generous and kind.
He shows us that for some wealth can ruin their character whilst others thrive in relative poverty.
His text could well the "The love of money is the root of all evil."
The characters are brought to live by Simon Vance's wonderful reading of the story. Each character is distinct and clear.
Sadly the recording is ruined by dreadful editing. In pretty well every chapter, and often several times in a chapter, lines are repeated as the reader gives a second rendition of the same phrase. In one case a whole chapter is repeated.
This failing is a surprise at first, becomes a frustration and by the end of the book is a genuine annoyance.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
It's a pity that the editing of this audiobook is so poor, the narrator frequently re-reads phrases and both versions are kept in - so you keep hearing double! It's sometimes entertaining to get a glimpse of the craft involved in audio narration, but mostly it distracts you from the narrative. I can't think of any other medium where this would be acceptable, imagine watching a movie where the outtakes are left in! Otherwise this is a great story, but I love Dickens in any form. I enjoyed Simon Vance's narration but found it a bit one-dimensional, he has a supercilious tone to his voice all the time which, with Dickens' long sentences, can be a bit irritating. (Anton Lesser's narration cannot be matched - please do more Mr Lesser!)
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Having not read 'Our Mutual Friend' & was intrigued by the plot and of course the author I thought I'd give it a go! I was also delighted to know that Simon Vance would be the narrator.
His prose, passion and aptitude with character portrayals is really quite remarkable. He's such a delight to listen to. :)
'Our Mutual Friend' had so many spectrums of scale, opposition, contrast & layers to it with some very intriguing twists & turns!
In true Dickens form, you feel a deep connection & acute awareness of the human condition in its behaviour, morality & daily life as portrayed in this 19th century London novel. It's like a time warp!
From bountiful dark shady characters to the beautiful, ' Societies social circles' of class distinction in opposition to the shunned or ill revered. True honour & loyalty & pride upon your word or lack there of. Including the layers like an onion of intrigue with twists & turns unexpected against a harsh industrial London backdrop, once again lends so much presence!!
Would highly recommend! I loved it. :D
Simon Vance has ruined this story for me, you can hear him wetting his mouth and swallowing and slapping his lips. I want to reach in and slap him!!
0 of 1 people found this review helpful