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tagesmann

Nicholas Nickleby

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I have been listening to an audiobook read by Wanda McCaddon. At first I wasn't to sure about the narator because I had previously listened to an excellent version of David Copperfield read by Frederick Davidson. However Ms McCaddon grew on me.

 

As for the story, well for a change there weren't any characters that I really disliked. And that is unusual for Dickens. He usually manages to have at least one annoying cloying person in his novels. In this case he didn't. Also, the villain of the piece was not black and white but had shades of grey making him less clichéd.

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....

As for the story, well for a change there weren't any characters that I really disliked. And that is unusual for Dickens. He usually manages to have at least one annoying cloying person in his novels. In this case he didn't. Also, the villan of the piece was not black and white but had shades of grey making him less cliched.

 

Not even Wackford Squeers and his wife?

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Not even Wackford Squeers and his wife?
I'd forgotten about them. They were just plain bad weren't they? I was thinking of Ralph Nickleby.

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I remember this book mainly for one minor character: Smike (got to love how Dickens came up with names that matched character so well).  If there was a topic, "Most Pathetic Character in a Book", Smike would be it. Tragic to the end, he never had a chance, either for love or good health or wealth or smarts or even just being alive.

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Recently finished reading this on audio. An amazing performance by David Horovitch managing to come up with a different voice for all the many characters. 

 

As for the story I found it a bit slow to begin with but as the story progressed I came to enjoy it and liked most of the characters. I thought Mr & Madame Mantalini fairly redundant characters. They did nothing for the story apart perhaps to show the kind of work Ralph Nickleby did. But that was demonstrated in other parts of the book.  The book was also too similar to Oliver Twist in the school/workhouse situation and the fact of Nicholas being befriended by the Cheeryble brothers while Oliver was befriended by Mr Brownlow. Perhaps a case of publishers pushing for something similar to the successful Oliver. 

 

The Cheeryble brothers were a brilliant invention, a pity more successful businessmen/women didn't treat their employees so well. The world would be a better place. 

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