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Our Mutual Friend was the last novel Charles Dickens completed and is, arguably, his darkest and most complex. The basic plot is vintage Dickens: an inheritance up for grabs, a murder, a rocky romance or two, plenty of skullduggery, and a host of unforgettable secondary characters. But in this final outing the author's heroes are more flawed, his villains more sympathetic, and the story as a whole more harrowing and less sentimental. The mood is set in the opening scene in which a riverman, Gaffer Hexam, and his daughter Lizzie troll the Thames searching for drowned men whose pockets Gaffer will rifle before turning the body over to the authorities. On this particular night Gaffer finds a corpse that is later identified as that of John Harmon, who was returning from abroad to claim a large fortune when he was apparently murdered and thrown into the river.
Harmon's death is the catalyst for everything else that happens in the novel. It seems the fortune was left to the young man on the condition that he marry a girl he'd never met, Bella Wilfer. His death, however, brings a new heir onto the scene, Nicodemus Boffin, the kind-hearted but low-born assistant to Harmon's father. Boffin and his wife adopt young Bella, who is determined to marry money, and also hire a mysterious young secretary, John Rokesmith, who takes an uncommon interest in their ward. Not content with just one plot, Dickens throws in a secondary love story featuring the riverman's daughter, Lizzie Hexam; a dissolute young upper-class lawyer, Eugene Wrayburn; and his rival, the headmaster Bradley Headstone. Dark as the novel is, Dickens is careful to leaven it with secondary characters who are as funny as they are menacing--blackmailing Silas Wegg and his accomplice Mr. Venus, the avaricious Lammles, and self-centered Charlie Hexam. Our Mutual Friend is one of Dickens's most satisfying novels, and a fitting denouement to his prolific career. --Alix Wilber
Grade 7 Up-With a cast of characters that covers the whole spectrum of London life, Dickens weaves a tapestry of tales that are by turn funny, moving and tragic.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I didn't like it, don't know why except it exasperated me. Love Dickens, this the only thing he has written I didn't like.Published 2 days ago by Curious Kitty
A wonderful sprawling classic as usual from Charles Dickens. It deals with inheritance and how society keeps people in their places and pushes against anybody who wants to better... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Linda Lindsay
I love this book. The story revolves around a will which requires the heir to marry a woman he's never met or lose the fortune to the faithful servants. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Suz
One of my favorite Dickens books, sadly not more well known. I love the way the different classes of characters are written in different styles. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alyssa M Redding
Plot-wise, this is not Dickens at his best, although the novel has an interesting cast of characters.Published 1 month ago by Mark Brumley
After downloading about 7 different samples, I've settled on this version. It updates and corrects punctuation in the standard public domain version, and maintains standard... Read morePublished 2 months ago by TomE
It's a very long book but worth the time. It took me a while to get into the plot but after a while it became quite engrossing. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Boris