The Penguin English Library Edition of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
'I plainly see to what foul uses all this money will be put ... sowing perjury, hatred, and lies among near kindred, where there should be nothing but love'
Old Martin Chuzzlewit, in despair at a family more interested in his wealth than his wellbeing, drives out his grandson and namesake. While the younger Martin leaves to make his own way in the world, love of money drives the hypocritical Pecksniff into scheming his way closer to the older man, and compels Jonas Chuzzlewit to even darker deeds.
Dickens thought Martin Chuzzlewit 'in a hundred points immeasurably the best of my stories'. A sinister, funny novel of greed, selfishness, blackmail and murder, it also sees Dickens's scathing moral sense make the voyage to America.
The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
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Even at a lengthy 33 and a half hours, you will want the book to go on and on, so engaging are the humorous and dramatic moments … Listeners will find it hard to believe that only one voice is presenting the story, so well does [Sean Barrett] create the many and varied characters. --Janet Julian
Charles Dickens is not known for subtlety, and Martin Chuzzlewit is typically unsubtle, satirical, often quite funny, and, in this case, vastly improved by the expertise of Sean Barrett. There are so many distinct and consistent characters here, and Barrett nails them all, especially the two Martin Chuzzlewits, the gruff grandfather and the feckless grandson. The younger Martin goes to America with the most optimistic man in the world, Mark Tapley, who has a slightly Cockney accent and a 'never-give-up' tone. There they find racism, a land scam, and a fever that almost kills them. Barrett's gushing and wheedling portrayal of Seth Pecksniff vividly renders this hypocritical character whose fall brings about everyone's happiness in truly Dickensian fashion. Also noteworthy is Barrett's portrait of the deluded and drunken Sairy Gamp, a nurse you would not want in your hour of need. --AudioFile
Martin Chuzzlewit is a comic masterpiece which courted controversy on publication with its scathing portrayal of nineteenth-century America
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