Thursday, January 29, 2015

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

WARNING: Listening to Mil Nicholson narrating Our Mutual Friend can be extremely habit forming. Do not begin unless you are prepared to pay the price to see it through. (It's 36 hours long.)

Not since I read Wives and Daughters in 2008 have I been so hooked on an audiobook!

Early in the novel a young heir to a fortune is found drowned. Dickens shows what happens to those who get his money and to those who don't get it (but want it.) Two of the people affected by the results of the will are John and Bella. I enjoyed seeing how they grew through their hardships and formed an enduring relationship.

How can I begin to explain how magnificent this book is? Is it because of Dicken's amazing writing - with his gift for description, his insights into human nature and his wry British humor? Or is it just that the story has so many substories that it takes your breath away to see how they all come together. (I knew NOTHING about the story before going in, which was a big plus.) Or is it because Mil Nicholson has the ability to make all 500 hundred characters' (slight exaggeration) voices sound different and recognizable? Or is it because the characters are so complex and varied?

Our Mutual Friend has it all: drunkards, swindlers, murderers. star-crossed lovers, cripples, and death bed scenes. Yet because of Dicken's skill with the English language and his little humorous asides, it manages to be charming.

It's only January and I feel like I've already found my favorite book of the year. Highly recommended. (The Librivox links above are free. It's free for Kindle too.)


Carol said...

I loved it too. Quite different from most of his other books - a combination of a murder mystery, a romance & a social commentary. I've listened to Mil Nicholson read Nicholas Nickleby. She is just wonderful.

Farm Girl said...

Oh Yay!! I love Librivox and I do love Our Mutual Friend. I can't wait, I have been reading it but I can't hook my rugs and read so this is just perfect.
I know what I will be listening too today after I get my work done. Thank you so much. The book is so nice. I liked the BBC movie too. :)

Lois TinĂºviel said...

I read this last summer and I enjoyed it a lot. I can't imagine listening to the whole book though! It is incredibly long and there are a ton of characters.

Becky said...

Our Mutual Friend is probably my favorite, favorite Dickens. I love the movie adaptation too! I'll have to give the audio a try. I've never thought of listening to classics before.

Unknown said...

Ooohh. It sounds a lot like Bleak House, which I loved!

Barbara H. said...

Good to know! I've been working on reading Dickens books I haven't read yet, and I know nothing abut this one. When I get to it I will have to keep that narrator in mind.

Mary Hill said...

This sounds like a great, suspenseful read. Thanks for sharing at Literacy Musing Mondays!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Well, you sold me! I have recently rediscovered audiobooks for my own enjoyment. This was largely due to listening to Huck Finn narrated by Norman Dietz. Wonderful!