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Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (April 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439747
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The inimitable Martin Jarvis brings his talents to bear on Charles Dickens's classic in an audiobook that will delight listeners with its superb recreations of gritty 19th-century London. To escape Mr. Bumble and life in the workhouse, Oliver flees to London where he meets the Artful Dodger and becomes embroiled with Fagin's ragtag band of thieves. Jarvis simply dazzles: his performance captures both the humor and sorrow of the text, his narration is crisp, and his characterizations--his rendition of the terrifying district magistrate, Mr. Fang, is particularly memorable--are as varied as they are energetic, befitting, and enjoyable.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Library Journal

Oliver Twist was Dickens's second novel and one of his darkest, dealing with burglary, kidnapping, child abuse, prostitution, and murder. Alongside this gallery of horrors are the corrupt and incompetent institutions of 19th-century England set up to address social problems and instead making them worse. The author's moral indignation drives the creation of some of his most memorably grotesque characters: squirming, vile Fagin; brutal Bill Sykes; the brooding, sickly Monks; and Bumble, the pompous and incorrigibly dense beadle. Clearly, a reading of this work must carry the author's passionate narrative voice while being flexible and broad enough to define the wide range of character voices suggested by the text. John Wells's capable but bland reading only suggests the rich possibilities of the material. Restraint and Dickens simply don't go together. The abridgment deftly and seamlessly manages to deliver all major characters and plot lines, but there are many superior audiobook versions of this material, both abridged and unabridged. Not recommended.
-John Owen, Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I greatly enjoyed reading this book.
Seth Poulsen
I appreciate a happy ending just like anyone else, but the ending in Oliver Twist came together slowly and with little interest.
Josh Moffit
This is excellent reading for those who like a well written story with exciting twists and turns.
Elijah Chingosho

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE on January 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Oliver Twist is one of Dickens' early novels - he worked on The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby simultaneously - and one of his best loved. It has what you would expect from him: memorable characters, evocative descriptions, melodrama, pathos (more often bathos) and a plot that relies on completely incredible coincidences. These latter are sometimes explained away by the characters themselves as being ordained by Fate, benign or otherwise, and must have been more acceptable to a Victorian readership than to one of the present day, who are likely to groan at each 'who should it be but' revelation.

The crossovers with Pickwick and Nickleby are noticeable. For example, The Artful's court appearance is clearly intended to be as funny as Sam Weller's, although it pales by comparison.

The most famous character is of course Fagin, and Dickens' casual anti-Semitism in his treatment of him is another thing that might discomfit the modern reader. He references him as The Jew, always in a derogatory manner. That this is a reflection of contemporary attitudes can be seen from Scott's Ivanhoe, in which Jewish characters are treated with similar hostility and contempt. But it is not the main characters that are most successful - and especially not the title character himself, who is innocent and bland beyond belief - but the supporting cast; Mr. Bumble and his lady, the servants in the house that gets burgled, the old bachelor who keeps threatening to eat his own head, and many others. They make the book a delight.

As always, Dickens is the master of descriptive narrative and he conjures a grim and compelling view of Victorian London's underside.

If you have not yet read any Dickens, this is not a bad book with which to start, although for younger readers (teens) I would recommend Hard Times as their first. Either book will probably leave you, like Oliver, wanting more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tom Bruce on May 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
I wuz robbed! Back in high school I had an English teacher who hated Charles Dickens. He found him dull, boring, wordy, and complained of Dickens' endless descriptions, formulated story telling, length of his books, and endings that were easy to predict. In his class, we focused on Mark Twain, Herman Melville, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, among others. We were never assigned Dickens or expected to read him. And I generally respected the opinions of this teacher, so I refrained from the work of Dickens. Now, many decades later, I read in Stephen King's "On Writing" that "Oliver Twist" was one of the books he had read in the past three years that he thoroughly enjoyed. So, as we are about the same age, I decided to give it a try. Was my teacher dead wrong! Yes, the book is long, but it certainly isn't boring. Who knew that Dickens had a terrific sense of humor? And as the sarcastic narrator of this tale, he is laugh-out-loud funny. Yes, the book follows a pretty strict formula. But Dickens admits in the telling that he is following the popular style of the day: A chapter of anguish followed by a chapter of relief. Repeat. And each chapter ends with a cliffhanger. But we must remember that Dickens' books first appeared as magazine serializations. And yes, there is a ton of descriptive text, but so well written that I found it interesting. Also, I did know early on how the book was going to end. However, not knowing how Oliver was going to get to that end made the book compelling to read. There are terrific characters within, exciting plot twists, and to top it all, Dickens surprising humor. Now I'm anxious to read more Dickens. I should have started years ago.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
It really isn't that hard. I read it during the summer vacation between 6th and 7th grade and I didn't have trouble with anything in it except for the old-style slang.

Maybe this isn't Dickens' best novel, but keep in mind, it was one of his first.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am a 13 year old in 8th grade, and I must say, this is the best book I have ever read. (The hardest too) I got into Oliver when I saw the big broadway show, and decided to read the book. I had never really known about Charles Dickens, and I was somewhat confused by his style the first time I read it. Now he is my favorite author and I am going to read all of his books. I had to read the book twice, because the first time I was too excited and skimmed it. I re-read it and fully understood the whole plot and all the drama this story has. If you want to enjoy this book, read it slowly, and re-read parts you don't get. I loved everything about the book, except the ending kinda just left me hanging. It was also very emotional. I cried when Nancy was murdered, and to tell you the truth, I even cried a little when Dodger was transported. It opened me up to 19th century London, and really let me feel like I was there, watching the characters. The most exciting parts are the ones about Fagin and the thieves. The ones about Oliver in his new home can be slightly dull and boring. But read them anyway. And also, the beginning of the book is a little slow too, but don't lose faith in it, the boring parts end when the Artful Dodger comes in. This is a great book, the characters are so full of life, the plot is great, and everything is just perfect!
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