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Nicholas Nickleby is one of Dickens's early novels, a popular melodrama with a rich list of characters. When his father dies penniless, Nicholas Nickleby, his mother and his sister Kate are thrown on the mercy of his corrupt uncle Ralph Nickleby. Sent away to teach at the infamous Dotheboys Hall, run by the sadistic Wackford Squeers, Nicholas eventually absconds, but not before rescuing the poor abused Smike. He returns home just in time to save his sister from the unwanted attentions of Sir Mulberry Hawk, and eventually his family's fortunes are restored.
Illustrated by H K Browne 'Phiz', with an Afterword by David Stuart Davies.
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The novel has everything: an absorbing melodrama, with a supporting cast of heroes, villains and eccentrics, set in a London where vast wealth and desperate poverty live cheek-by-jow --Jasper Rees - The Times
Nicholas Nickleby was a revelation. Here was a school - Dotheboy's Hall, with its grotesque headmaster, Wackford Squeers - which was even worse than the prison camp to which my poor innocent parents had confined me! The story of Dotheboy's Hall seemed horribly familiar - the beatings, the bad food. But here was something to which even a child could respond. As well as being sympathetic to the plight of the children, the author was hilarious --A.N Wilson
Dickens is huge - like the sky. Pick any page of Dickens and it's immediately recognizable as him, yet he might be doing social satire, or farce, or horror, or a psychological study of a murderer - or any combination of these --Susannah Clarke
Charles Dickens' much-loved classic novel, read by Martin Jarvis
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