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Dombey and Son (Penguin Classics) Paperback – November 26, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
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 here...it 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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Since the featured positive review (from 2004) recommends Dombey and Son as "a good place to start" reading Dickens, I find that I must protest. Read morePublished 18 days ago by S. Taylor
Let me admit from the outset that I am not a fan of Dickens. But I recognize his genius as a wordsmith, even though I do not care for most of his novels. Read morePublished 1 month ago by DrGeorge
Reading all of Dicken's books in order, and so far this is my favorite. Although I have enjoyed them all, this seems better thought out from start to finish. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Deartedd
It was a happy day when I, for whatever reason, elected to sample Charles Dickens. Having read A Tale of Two Cities in high school, I digressed to more popular fiction (Michener,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Steven M. Anthony
I won't review the content as there are plenty of reviewers who already have done so. My remarks are about this edition. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Aquila Chrysaetos
This book is the beginning of Dickens' great novels. It's not as good as "Bleak House" or "Our Mutual Friend;" Dickens hasn't yet managed to let his characters... Read morePublished 16 months ago by LaCuerva