This is my favourite of Dickens' novels, it's so complex. It's long but if you're thinking of reading Dickens for the first time I don't think you can really go wrong with this novel. The story is complex and intriguing. It's maybe a bit predictable to the modern reader, but at the time readers would have been on tenterhooks, especially as it was published episodically!
I do think the main narrator, Esther is a bit of an old priss, but it doesn't affect my enjoyment of the book. What do other people think? Do you think Esther is a bit two faced or just a wet rag?!
I know that Dickens is one of the big names of English literature and all that - but whenever he comes up in conversation the only response I hear is people saying, "I know he's supposed to be good.....but I find him really, really hard going"
I'd love to hear from those who do genuinely enjoy reading him. What are the rest of us missing out on? Why is he such a good read?
Have tastes changed, so he's temporarily out of favour? Anyone else struggle with him?
I tend to get stuck after a couple of pages and give up, I'm afraid. Though somehow, I made it all the way through "Great Expectations" and I really enjoyed it - especially the first half with the convict and the moorland and the grave yard. It was wonderful stuff - so why do I struggle with the rest of his novels so much?
Having been encouraged to read this book by the lively discussion about Dickens that have recently taken place on BGO, I feel I should start a new thread. This seems like an onerous responsibility. How to summarise the plot...? Amazon have this neat one-liner:
Anyone who has read this book will realise that this is a succinct but woefully deficient summary of this wonderful, complex novel. I'm (very) slowly getting to know Dickens and his work and I'm hoping that others will enter in to discussion on this book to help me appreciate it more. To me, this seemed like a social commentary, rich with minor characters (caricatures?) allowing Dickens to satirise the extremes of the class system of the time. It explores the effect of money, the lack of it and the desire for it on human nature and human relationships. There are also many examinations of the institution of marriage, both good and bad, and the effects that this has on people. Plenty, in fact to exercise the mind.
The book itself is 900+ pages and I did find it hard going at times, especially the third of the four books into which it is subdivided. By the end, I was keen to find out how it all worked out (and was nicely surprised by the ending) but I really sat and forced myself to get it finished. This is not to say that I didn't enjoy it, just that long books do take a toll on me personally. I did like the way that all of the loose ends were tied up so neatly (which I understand was required of Victorian authors) and that the goodies generally did well and the baddies got their comeuppance in a number of appropriate and amusing ways. There was a lot of humour running through the book, but a fair dose of cynicism too, not a bad thing.
To summarise, a fantastic read, worth sticking with. I will be attempting more Dickens, but a little light reading will do me fine for now.
I've just finished listening to an excellent audiobook of this novel that was read by Frederick Davidson. It was unabridged and lasted for 36 hours 13 minutes.
The narrator handled all of the characters very well even if some of the female characters sounded a bit weak.
I haven't read any Dickens for a long time. I have problems committing to long works. So I thought I would try an audiobook. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it worked really well. The medium could have been made for Dickens.
This is a fantastic story which I thoroughly enjoyed. It tells the story of David Copperfield (in the first person) from childhood to adulthood.
That summary doesn't do the story justice. The characters (minor and major) and so well imagined that you can't help but believe that they could be real. The villains of the piece are particularly well drawn and believable.
But what stood out for me was how Dickens used the comedic features of many of the characters. This book is so funny.