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Dombey and Son (Penguin Classics) Paperback – November 26, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This dark study of pride is a pivotal—if unappreciated—work in Dickens's oeuvre. Dickens focuses on the Dombey family, eschewing his idiosyncratic panoramic scope and ensemble casts. David Timson is a dream casting; he endows each character with depth, personality and pathos, again displaying why he is a perennial favorite in audio narration. This abridgment offers about one-third of the full text, which will serve the casual listener well without burdening their wallet or commandeering the listening schedule. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (November 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140435468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140435467
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By B. Morse on November 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Upon finishing Dombey and Son this morning, I thought back to the first Dickens work I ever read, which was David Copperfield, as a freshman in high school. Since then I have read many others, all with the same extensive cast of characters, side plots, etc.....

Except this one....which makes me question why it is not used as an introduction to the works of Dickens in school curriculums.

Dombey and Son, as a title, refers to the business which provides wealth, title, and position to Mr. Dombey, the aforementioned father. The 'son' refers to a succession of partners in that business, as well as an arrival at the opening of the book, which leads to the demise of Mrs. Dombey. But little Paul Dombey, sharing in his father's first and last names, joins an already present sibling in the world, his sister Florence.

Through the course of the novel, you realize that Dombey and Daughter are really the focus of this story....the fortunes and misfortunes that befall them both, the grievous neglect of one for the other, despite the efforts of the one neglected to reconcile...and a host of others that enter and exit from their lives.

But to recapture and jusitfy my initial point, this book is a marvelous starting point to read Dickens. It is far easier to keep track of the cast of the story, as it is more limited than other Dickens novels, while sharing the same length as most others. The story lines all really do feed into the central plot, and while the 'comedy' that I so enjoy in Dickens's prose is, admittedly, more limited still is a highly enjoyable tale, and a great place to get your feet wet with one of history's best tale-weavers.

Although bittersweet and melancholy in tone, for the majority of the story, Dombey and Son holds up with Dickens's other novels as a true classic.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Royce E. Buehler on February 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you love Dickens, you'll like this book. If you're not committed to the work and style of Boz, you may have a hard time getting through it. It gets off to a very slow start; it wears its didactic aims more prominently on its sleeve than most of Dickens' novels do (the preceding novel, Martin Chuzzlewit, having been a study of the perils of greed, this one is likewise a study on self-destroying pride.) Its heroine is so self-sacrificing, uncomplaining, sweet and forgiving that a modern reader is likely to feel the impulse to throttle her more than once. I found it the least satisfying of the dozen Dickens novels I've read, and have rounded its three and a half stars up rather than down, in honor of all the other good stuff he's produced.
All that being said, the book contains plenty of rewards for the persevering. Dombie's daughter, the over-gentle Florence, is more than made up for by a string of sharply drawn women who are nobody's wallflowers: the peppery Susan Nipper, the fearsome landlady Mac Stinger, and the magnificent second Mrs. Dombey, whose inflexible, bent pride puts steel to her husband's flint as the story gains headway halfway through. The plotting is intricate and tight, the peeks into Victorian hypocrisies (never far removed from our own) are trenchant, and we are treated to what is possibly the most riveting death scene in the whole oeuvre, which Dickens chose to present from the decedent's point of view in a stream of consciousness passage as remarkable for its technical daring as its sentimentality.
Throw in the superbly menacing, dentally impeccable villain, Mr Carker, and a rogue's gallery of lesser despicables from the streetwise dunce Chicken, to the blustering toady Joe Bagstock, to the second Mrs.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Cannon on September 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was not overly thrilled with Dickens' previous novel Martin Chezzlewit, despite those amazing American scenes. That was a transitional work - where Dickens was going can be seen quite clearly in Dombey and Son.
In Dombey and Son we have the biting satire (the title being the biggest black joke of all) and the more expansive social criticism of Dickens' later work. Dombey is a proud business man and wants an heir. What he does to his children is chilling and his second marriage becomes its own nightmare. Dombey is also where Dickens starts using an overriding symbol for his longer works - here the railroads as a symbol of progress and brute force.
The plot is surprisingly linear for such a long Dickens novel - it lacks the myriad of subplots that his other novels have. The going is slow at times but the psychology gets deeper and more intricate as you continue. This novel is too often overlooked but it is a fine work of the author's early maturity. It points the way to Dickens' two best novels which immediately follow - David Copperfield and Bleak House.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best Dickens novels I have ever read. The character of Florence is so beautifully developed, and while I was reading, I got the sense that Dickens himself was in love with Florence. There's also that sense of mystery, in the dealings of Mrs. Brown and Alice, and their hatred of Mr. Carker. This book is full of surprises, and I was kept riveted to every single page. This is definitely a book that I would recommend to anyone, and one that I will be reading again and again.
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