There are not many people - and as it is desirable that a story-teller and a story-listener should establish a mutual understanding as soon as possible, I beg it to be noticed that I confine this observation neither to young people nor to little people, but extend it to all conditions of people: little and big, young and old: yet growing up, or already growing down again - there are not, I say, many people who would care to sleep in a church. I don't mean at sermon-time in warm weather (when the thing has actually been done, once or twice), but in the night, and alone. A great multitude of persons will be violently astonished, I know, by this position, in the broad bold day. But it applies to night. It must be argued by night, and I will undertake to maintain it successfully on any gusty winter's night appointed for the purpose, with any one opponent chosen from the rest, who will meet me singly in an old churchyard, before an old church-door; and will previously empower me to lock him in, if needful to his satisfaction, until morning.
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A pleasant surprise long overlooked . . .
- Bill Beaulac
Happy New Year!
Around the holidays in 19th century England, a man is taught a lesson from spirits. I'm speaking of course about Christmas Car... I mean, The Chimes.
Obviously Dickens found his golden goose formula and ran with it all the way to the bank. But, much to my surprise, The Chimes is still really good. In fact, I think the message surpasses that of its predecessor. It's so easy to look at Scrooge and feel superior to the stingy man who has everything but love. But what about the plight of the common man? The other characters in a Christmas Carol were scarcely characters at all; they were objects by which to contrast and judge Scrooge. This is where The Chimes comes in.
The Chimes was addressed to the downtrodden of the 1800s who were taught that poverty is a moral failing. In the famous scene of Good Will Hunting where the psychologist repeated tells Will, "it's not your fault," The Chimes is the psychologist and the reader is Will. It's the firm but loving assertion that what you believe about yourself isn't true, even if you can't accept it yet.
The narration would have been pretty good for any other book but somehow feels spot-on for Dickens. I actually think this style would work for any book of that era. It makes me happy to see that he's narrated some Robert Louis Stevenson. Despite the accent, I bet he would do an amazing Edgar Allen Poe.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.
- R. MCRACKAN