Old Curiosity Shop (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – January 5, 1998
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
Norman Page is emeritus professor at the University of Nottingham and the University of Alberta, Canada. He has published several studies of Dickens as well as other nineteenth-century writers.
- Lexile measure : 1320
- Grade level : 12 and up
- Item Weight : 13.2 ounces
- Paperback : 608 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781853262449
- ISBN-13 : 978-1853262449
- Dimensions : 5 x 1 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New ed edition (January 5, 1998)
- Language: : English
- Reading level : 17 years
- ASIN : 1853262447
- Best Sellers Rank: #115,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I actually looked up all the stories Anton Lesser narrates, thankfully, there are quite a few so I'll be happy listening to them for a long time.
Based on the five books I've read so far, it appears that Dickens' stories are all pretty much the same. There's always orphans, much benighted, but stout hearted, moral and persistent. There's usually some kind of deformed villain, a ne'er-do-well sponger, a kindly old gentleman or two, an eccentric spinster, and likely a few other character types. Oh yeah, many, but not all, lawyers are conniving and grasping.
Anyway, The Old Curiosity Shop has all this in spades. It's the story of Little Nell and her grandfather, more-or-less. Also the story of Kit. There's lots of pathos, but, what's rather fun, lots of Dickens' wry humorous portrayal of the frailties of humanity. Dickens blathers incessantly, but it's such entertaining blather that one can never tire of it. I wonder why it took me so many decades to discover Dickens?
Top reviews from other countries
It's about the journey of a group of individuals centred around little Nell and her Grandfather, who are victims of circumstance. It's about inequality, poverty and the desperation it causes. It has a range of highly interesting characters and settings. To date this is the only Dickens book I have read in entirety but one's impression is that throughout many of his works the author wanted to shine a light on the under-dogs of class inequality inherent in British society.
Some people who haven't read these works will try to claim that they are outdated but they're wrong; this book is as relevant as ever because unfortunately injustice, poverty and inequality still exist in the world today.
I'm glad I read the book instead of watching a film version as I can't imagine that it would ever be as good. The quality of writing is magical.
If you have a taste for good literature and a good attention span then you should read this book but you might want to take your time and savour the writing instead of reading just for the sake of it.
Right, old granddad and sweet granddaughter, forced out of said emporium due to debt, to do nothing but walk the streets, and as the story goes on, counties of England, hoping to work their way as they go on their way; sometimes this works, often it does not, and much anguish, hunger and cold, and eventually illness, become the norm. Dickens, eh? You can't have one of the great man's tales without at least one waifen stray, here we get her grandfather to boot.
Other characters, plenty, but here is where the story falls down. Despite there being reasons and links between those left behind in the Smoke, and said family pair, their tales become somewhat separated and all in all, never the twain shall meet, for the lion's share of the yarn at least. Put simply, ignoring the tenuosity, you get two different tales, neither of which see the inside of a going concern in the way of shabby objet dart. But is either part of the overall book any good?
I say a provisional yes to this. The characters, both ordinary and elevated, honest and bent (and as ever in respective order in a Dickens tale) are not particularly engaging, but in its way the story still manages to work as a reasonable to good read. The useless debt ridden young gentlemen are there of course, and one, Richard Swiveller, is a hoot.
Now to digress for a short spell. I am sure many who have read one 'Her Benny', first published in 1879, will have smelled Dickens all over it. I always thought it was just generally the case; rich and poor, big house and slum etc, but there really is a strong likeness between characters and situations and aspects of this book, and that of the aforementioned best seller by Silas K Hocking. At certain points, it seems as if the goodly Rev. lifted parts of the plot of this book, straight off. But back to this book and only this.
The parts do not tie up well, not really, but - they do tie up eventually. But I am sure if you accept that not every Dickens' work is brilliant, and can accept an offering somewhat less in literary quality, you will still enjoy this.