Pickwick Papers (Penguin Popular Classics)

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9780140621105: Pickwick Papers (Penguin Popular Classics)

Dickens's first novel - with its creative use of the old tradition of graphic satire - is an episodic series of adventures featuring the noble Mr Pickwick and a range of characters such as Jingle, Sam Weller and various other members of the Pickwick Club.

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Review:

It is a lot of money, but it's also a lot of wonderfully funny stories, brilliantly read, about four trouble-prone Victorian gents pontificating, spooning, wining, dining, trundling about in stage coaches and meeting characters only Dickens could imagine and bring to vivid life. --Sue Arnold, The Guardian

In Dickens's first novel, the many adventures, or perhaps misadventures, of Mr Samuel Pickwick and his traveling companions are detailed in a series of interrelated vignettes ranging from the frightening to the absurd. David Timson is a one-man ensemble who skillfully portrays dozens of characters. He is equally adept at chilling the spine with the gravelly, breathy tones of a madman as he is at tickling the ribs with the clipped speech and perfect comedic timing of a bold charlatan. Even his female voices, while seemingly overdramatic, capture the delicate nature of Dickensian women, who are oftentimes prone to fainting spells and fits of hysteria. Like the novel itself, Timson creates a superb portrait of nineteenth-century England that Dickens himself might have declared 'a capital performance.' --- Winner of AudioFile Earphones award --M.D., AudioFile

Audiobook fans and others who have put off tackling Dickens's massive first novel will be pleased to find this splendid recording. Writing under the pseudonym of Boz, Dickens made his name as a 'humorous observer of the habits of London life in a series of articles' that he expanded into this title that includes some familiar topics and stories (a Christmas ghost story and Mr Pickwick's stint in debtor's prison) that Dickens expanded in later novels. Timson skillfully navigates the sprawling prose, reading at a brisk pace that matches the galloping and somewhat slapdash plot. Dickens's memorable characters shine through Timson s impeccable performance, certain to evoke laughter and sympathetic feelings for the characters. The large cast is populated with many lower and middle class provincials: lawyers and clerks, county magistrates, innkeepers, waiters, coachmen, each requiring a distinctive British accent, reflective of class and background. Pickwick speaks in genteel tones, coming across as good-natured, somewhat naïve, and old fashioned. Except for Pickwick, many of the characters, especially the women, come across as caricatures, both in Dickens's writing and Timson's portrayals. Sam Weller, Pickwick's manservant, with his outspokenness and cockney accent, is a clear stand out. Timson obviously relishes his role as reader of this nostalgic tale, rich in broad satire and clever irony. He masterfully brings Dickens's classic to a wide variety of listeners, including students. --Joyce Saricks, Booklist

With true artistry, narrator David Timson brings to life the misadventures of the Pickwick Club. In Dickens's first novel, Samuel Pickwick (founder and president of the eponymous club) and three 'Pickwickians' travel outside the comforts of London to document life in the English countryside. What follows is a succession of incidents filled with eccentric characters and social commentary. Clocking in around 32 hours, this audio edition would be an arduous task for any narrator, but Timson embraces this intimidating assignment with admirable aplomb. Whatever the scenario presented in prose, he matches the tone and keeps the story moving at a steady clip. He perfectly captures the author's many characters, providing spot-on vocal characterization for each one. This is an outstanding listen for both fans of Dickens and those new to his work. --- Starred Review --Publishers Weekly

Review:

"No essay in fiction ever gave more incontestable assurance of genius. . . . Never, perhaps, was satire so large-hearted and so entertaining." --George Gissing

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