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Pickwick Papers Hardcover – Unabridged, September 1, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 375 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Superbly performed by BBC Radio Drama veteran David Timson, The Pickwick Papers is an unabridged audiobook adaptation of Charles Dickens's debut novel, now justly recognized as a classic. Set in England shortly before the advent of the railroad, The Pickwick Papers follows the upper-class Mr Pickwick and his caustically comedic cockney servant Sam Weller, as they travel the nation in search of adventure and learning. From comic moments such as the Eatanswill election and the trial of Mrs Bardell vs. Pickwick to the stark atrocity that was debtors prison, The Pickwick Papers is a superb rendition of Dickens's grand and thoroughly engaging adventure. The Pickwick Papers is worthy of the highest recommendation for public library audiobook collections, and as a special gift for audiobook lovers who especially enjoy great literary treasures. - --Library Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review

With true artistry, narrator David Timson brings to life the misadventures of the Pickwick Club. In Dickens's first novel, Samuel Pickwick (founder and president of the eponymous club) and three Pickwickians travel outside the comforts of London to document life in the English countryside. What follows is a succession of incidents filled with eccentric characters and social commentary. Clocking in around 32 hours, this audio edition would be an arduous task for any narrator, but Timson embraces this intimidating assignment with admirable aplomb. Whatever the scenario presented in prose, he matches the tone and keeps the story moving at a steady clip. He perfectly captures the author's many characters, providing spot-on vocal characterization for each one. This is an outstanding listen for both fans of Dickens and those new to his work. --Publishers Weekly - June 2012

It is a lot of money, but it's also a lot of wonderfully funny stories, brilliantly read, about four trouble-prone Victorian gents pontificating, spooning, wining, dining, trundling about in stage coaches and meeting characters only Dickens could imagine and bring to vivid life. "'Don't be long,' said the spinster aunt affectionately. 'Long? Away? From you? Cruel charmer,' and Mr Jingles skipped playfully up to the spinster aunt and imprinted a chaste kiss on her lips and danced out of the room. 'Dear man,' said the spinster as the door closed after him. 'Rum old girl,' said Mr Jingles as he walked down the passage." To get a marriage licence and take all her money, of course. --Sue Arnold, The Guardian

Timson's irrepressible performance of this rollicking romp through 1830s England in Dickens's first novel invites listeners along as Pickwick and his crew ramble through the countryside. With broad satire and clever irony, Timson proves a delightful guide through slapdash adventures and a host of eccentric characters. --The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From the Publisher

Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1080 pages
  • Publisher: Collector's Library; Unabridged edition (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190736028X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907360282
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 3.8 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (375 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Charles Dickens wrote The Pickwick Papers in his early 20s, but the writing is first rate and as witty as any seasoned author could have done in his place! Like many of Dickens's works, Pickwick was published in monthly installments, or "numbers" as they were called then. Although Dickens originally intended to end the story at the twentieth number, the popularity of the series (and the resultant income) convinced Dickens to double the length to forty numbers. The end result is a large offering that'll take you a while to get through (~750 pages in the excellent Penguin edition, which I read).
Despite its length, Pickwick never tries your patience. It's delightfully humorous from beginning to end. Samuel Pickwick is the bumbling, middle-aged, wealthy namesake of this novel. He's the leader of a small group of single men that gets into all sorts of mischief, both physical and social. Booze is rampant. Apparently liquor back then was much more a part of daily life than today; everywhere these guys go they party and get drunk. They get into trouble with the law, women, unsavory characters, and more.
Characterization is superb. This is one of the few novels I've read for which I can actually say that I got to know the characters. In most books I've read, the characters remain two-dimensional and the plot is what carries the story. In Pickwick, the *characters* are the essence of the story and the novel wouldn't be memorable at all if a lesser author were attempting to breathe life into these people.
The Penguin edition includes a decent collection of endnotes to help explain unfamiliar portions of the text. Nevertheless, there were still quite a few words and concepts peculiar to early 19th century England that I didn't grasp.
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Format: Paperback
I have absolutely no doubts whatsoever that Charles Dickens, if he lived today, would still classify as an author's author. He's a master of all the things that make for great writing and storytelling. Dickens has an ear for dialogue most authors would kill their own mothers to possess. He also is a master of creating vivid scenery, another sign of excellence essential to great writing and one which many authors lack. Finally, but not least in importance, Dickens knows character development. He REALLY knows how to develop intriguing characters, to the point where many of his books spawned figures that have become literary archetypes. Not bad for a guy who grew up in extremely adverse circumstances. He even spent some time in a factory sticking labels on bottles after his father's imprisonment for debt. Most people wouldn't recover from such poverty, but Dickens did. He went on to a successful career in journalism before settling down as an author of serial novels. This format, which allowed Dickens to write and release his stories piecemeal, made him a great success with the public. The anticipation for the latest chapter or two of his stories often led to near riots. Not many writers can duplicate this feat today.

"The Pickwick Papers" is one of Dickens's earliest works, written when the author was a mere twenty-four years old. You wouldn't know his age by reading the story, though. "Pickwick" is a work that delivers healthy doses of sophisticated humor, keen observations on pressing social issues, romance, and a mature knowledge of human behavior. It's of course fiction, although Dickens presents the story as a true series of events documented by the "Pickwick Club," a social organization founded by retired businessman and all around merry fellow Samuel Pickwick.
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Format: Paperback
...reading delight. Whenever I get depressed or feel like I can't start another book, I re-read some passages of this book written by Charles Dickens. It is one of the best books written in English. Intentionally syrupy and over-sweet, Dickens writes so perfectly as to make the reader wonder how anyone could ever write so gorgeously. If you pass this one up, you're cheating yourself. I couldn't put the book down. It's a rare and special novel that keeps me in bed over the weekend reading from dawn to sleep.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This edition (ASIN B002RKSXJQ) is poorly formatted. There is a wide left margin throughout, and the amusingly long chapter titles get progressively smaller every few lines.

I was willing to put up with it until I came to the scene in the parlor at Manor Farm, which appears to be missing some text. Either that, or Dickens is more post-modern than I thought, trailing off (with no punctuation) in the middle of a sentence.

Amazon needs to do some quality control on this edition, and remove it from the store. There are plenty of others, why waste our time by listing inferior product?
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Format: Paperback
The Old Curiosity Shop certainly displays the hallmarks of the unstructured, free-flowing make-it-up-as-you-go-along type of story characteristic of Dickens's early novels. Indeed, it is rather generous to call it a story, and it's difficult now to understand the sensation it caused when it was first published. However, if a page-turning plot was all there was to it, very few of Dickens's novels would be readable at all. As ever with Dickens, the pleasure in reading this book comes from the comedy, diversity and richness of the characters, as well as the sheer mastery of the English language which came so naturally to him.
The central characters are old Trent, his granddaughter Nell, the moneylender Daniel Quilp, young Kit and the wonderful Richard Swiveller. Of these, the spotlessly pure Nell and the irredeemably evil Quilp are the moral opposites around which the book revolves, old Trent is rather a pathetic figure, while Kit's sturdy progress from poverty to respectability makes for happier reading. However, it is the moral journey of Swiveller, which perhaps reflects the geographic journey undertaken by Nell and her grandfather, which is the real joy of this book. He enters the book in the guise of a rogue, involved in dubious intrigues with Nell's no-good brother and also with the repulsive Quilp. However, from the time that Quilp gets him a job as a clerk in the office of Samson Brass and his sister, the awful Miss Brass, Swiveller's basic decency and natural good humour begin to reveal themselves, and his soliloquies and dialogue provide many hilarious moments from that point on.
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