Our Mutual Friend

  • by Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 31 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A sinister masterpiece, Our Mutual Friend was Dickens' last completed novel. It is perhaps his ultimate vision of a dark, macabre London and the corrupting power of money. Opening with a father and daughter scavenging for corpses on the Thames, the chilling tale unfolds around drownings, disguises and doubles, violence, murder, and triumphant love. Young John Harmon, presumed killed on his return home to England, is very much alive. The heir to a dust merchant's fortune, he goes to work under an assumed name for his father's current heirs, the amiable, elderly Boffins, who are about to be blackmailed by the unscrupulous one-legged Wegg.
So begins the intrigue in a novel that is quintessentially Dickensian in flavor, in its grotesque caricatures, its rich symbolism, and the astonishing realism of its heroine, Bella Wilfer, among Dickens' most splendid female characters.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Worth six stars

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?
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- Erez

Whitfield/Vance grows tiresome.

My review goes against the ecstatic judgment of the crowd. The vastly popular and nearly ubiquitous Simon Vance/Robert Whitfield (the same man) strikes me as among the most tiresome readers out there. I find this so in large part because of the generic 'extra' emotion he inserts and sometimes slathers all over the place in whatever he reads -- without sufficient sensitivity to the genuine subtleties of any text. To me it sounds like sight-reading much of the time, highly practiced, very smooth, applause-gaining quite professional sight-reading, but I want way better than that. Or at least I do not want to be distracted. If Vance/Whitfield were to read aloud that "two bridges cross the river, one to the north and one to south," his voice would rise and fall and rise, for his habit is to offer a three-act play when none is wanted. His voice is a pleased, singing voice and not a speaking one, and dulcet tones which aim to impress finally get on your, or my, nerves. A matter of taste, yes. Some people hate Fred Williams' profoundly respectful and ultimately magnificent reading of THE FORSYTE SAGA. He is a reader with no singing tones in him (few Forsytes would ever sing, anyway) and he has no tricks at all, except for deep respect and perhaps love for his text, which, I bet, he knows by heart in places. Or try Eileen Atkins's MILL ON THE FLOSS for a supremely intelligent reading that inflicts no dazzle. As far as OUR MUTUAL FRIEND, I spent $38.47 (I am not yet a subscriber) on a reading I could not endure -- and then I went to the David Timson narration (also on Audible), which is good, so good that much of the time you forget the reader completely, which is how some people like it.
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-24-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.