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Dombey and Son (Penguin Classics) Paperback – November 26, 2002
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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 alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
Dombey and Son is, I fear, exactly the kind of novel that prevents people from reading Dickens and other "classics." Overlong, filled with long passages of moralizing prose, painfully slow-moving at times, sentimental, relatively humorless (strikingly so, for Dickens), and, I regret to say, often boring. If I had started here, I doubt that I would be interested in reading Dickens again. In my opinion, Dickens' best novel is Bleak House, but it is a monumental work, which might be too overwhelming for many modern-day readers without working up to it. However, if you don't think that you're likely to read more than one of his novels in your lifetime, that should, i believe, be the one. But not Dombey.
Does it have any merit? Of course it does! It's Dickens! Dickens was a genius, and all of his novels are worth reading. This, I fear has pushed aside my previous least favorite to take the very lowest rung of his works. If you have read most of his other works and wish, as I do, to be a completist, read it by all means. There are some lovely moments. But overall, it's a disappointment.
Nonetheless, it's very clear that he's hitting his stride as the wonderful mythographer who makes the entire English-speaking world of the 19th century fall in love with his work.
I read some Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Steinbeck and Hemingway with mixed success before reading Great Expectations. I liked it enough to read David Copperfield, and I was hooked. A Tale of Two Cities followed and then Oliver Twist (not my favorite), Bleak House, Nicholas Nickleby, Martin Chuzzlewit and The Pickwick Papers before taking on this door stop of a novel.
Many of Dickens’s works tend to be lengthy and excessively wordy, perhaps due to their nature of having been serialized prior to being printed in a single volume. Heretofore, I haven’t found that trait particularly annoying or troublesome, however this book proved to be an exception. I can usually read for a couple of hours before going to sleep, but found myself nodding off after only 20-30 minutes of Dombey. There are fantastic characters here, as in all of Dickens’s work, but they tend to be smothered by the frequently flowery and seemingly never ending prose.
As in other Dickens works, a period of acclimation is required to become comfortable with the vocabulary and social conventions of the era. Having read almost all of Dickens’s work, I would have to rank this as my least favorite.