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Great Expectations (cd) Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged


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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist



Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio UK; Unabridged edition (Jan. 28 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141804483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141804484
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.4 x 14.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #428,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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Dickens considered Great Expectations one of his "little pieces," and indeed, it is slim compared to such weighty novels as David Copperfield or Nicholas Nickleby. But what this cautionary tale of a young man raised high above his station by a mysterious benefactor lacks in length, it more than makes up for in its remarkable characters and compelling story. The novel begins with young orphaned Philip Pirrip--Pip--running afoul of an escaped convict in a cemetery. This terrifying personage bullies Pip into stealing food and a file for him, threatening that if he tells a soul "your heart and your liver shall be tore out, roasted and ate." The boy does as he's asked, but the convict is captured anyway, and transported to the penal colonies in Australia. Having started his novel in a cemetery, Dickens then ups the stakes and introduces his hero into the decaying household of Miss Havisham, a wealthy, half-mad woman who was jilted on her wedding day many years before and has never recovered. Pip is brought there to play with Miss Havisham's ward, Estella, a little girl who delights in tormenting Pip about his rough hands and future as a blacksmith's apprentice.
I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I began to consider them a very indifferent pair. Her contempt for me was so strong, that it became infectious, and I caught it.
It is an infection that Pip never quite recovers from; as he spends more time with Miss Havisham and the tantalizing Estella, he becomes more and more discontented with his guardian, the kindhearted blacksmith, Joe, and his childhood friend Biddy. When, after several years, Pip becomes the heir of an unknown benefactor, he leaps at the chance to leave his home and friends behind to go to London and become a gentleman. But having expectations, as Pip soon learns, is a two-edged sword, and nothing is as he thought it would be. Like that other "little piece," A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations is different from the usual Dickensian fare: the story is dark, almost surreal at times, and you'll find few of the author's patented comic characters and no comic set pieces. And yet this is arguably the most compelling of Dickens's novels for, unlike David Copperfield or Martin Chuzzlewit, the reader can never be sure that things will work out for Pip. Even Dickens apparently had his doubts--he wrote two endings for this novel. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"No story in the first person was ever better told." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anne Rice on June 5 2004
Format: Paperback
Why do I come here to "review" this? It isn't anyone's book club selection, no. But tonight I want to talk about this incomparably rich and wonderful book, and how as a fourteen year old kid I simply sank into it, taking it slowly week by week, glorying in its mysteries, its great grotesque portrait of Miss Havisham in her rotting bridal finery, its often painful recounting of a young boy's awakening to a seductive world beyond the blacksmith's forge to which destiny has condemned him. This book was about me. It was about wanting to learn, wanting to transcend, wanting to achieve while anything and everything seems hopelessly beyond one's dreams. Of course life changes for Pip. And the world Pip enters was a world that dazzled me and only made my adolescent ambitions burn all the more hurtfully. I think this book is about all who've ever tried for more, ever reached for the gold ring -- and it's about some, of course, who've gotten it. It's also a wondrous piece of storytelling, a wondrous example of how in the first person ("I am, etc." ) a character can tell you more about himself than he himself knows. What a feat. And a very strange thing about this book, too, was the fact that Dickens said more about Pip and Pip's dreams than Dickens knew he was doing. Dickens himself didn't quite realize, I don't think, the full humanity of the character he created. Yet the character is there -- alive, captivating, engaging us throughout with full sympathy. Go for it. If you never read anything else by Charles Dickens, read and experience this book. Afterwards, David Copperfield will be a ride in the sunshine, I assure you. And both books will stand by you forever. For whom am I writing this? For myself perhaps just because Pip meant and still means so much. For some one perhaps who's unsure about this book and needs a push to dive into a classic. Oh, is this book ever worth the effort. -. Enough. Read it, know it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill McCullah on June 2 2005
Format: Hardcover
During the course of the year I try to read a few, "Important Novels" in order to get a fuller understanding of literature. Dicken's GREAT EXPECTATIONS has been on my list for nearly a year. I completely dreaded reading what I thought would be a long and drawn out story about something I could careless about. Well, I was wrong. Normally I go for a bestseller such THE MERMAID CHAIR or McCrae's CHILDREN'S CORNER, but went for this classic instead.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS is now #1 on my all-time favorites list. While, admittedly, it took me roughly 150 pages to get any enjoyment out of the novel- once I was in- I was hooked. Pip's journey through life is a very refreshing look at how distorted we let our lives become by focusing on the unimportant. Dicken's ability to slowly alter Pip's views on life, without changing his essential character/morales (Ex. How Pip looks to help his friend in his business pursuits). Some have called "Great Expecations" his masterpiece... but in my opinion, it may be the "Masterpiece" of English Literature.
I also wonder why this is required High School reading. While I loved this book at age 28, I think most 16 year-olds would find it unbearable. It seems like such a waist to ruin both the book and Dicken's name on minds that are not ready for such a reading task. Would also highly recommend two other books: LIFE OF PI and a book titled BARK OF THE DOGWOOD.
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By Pierre Gauthier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 4 2010
Format: Audio CD
Listening to the audio version of this Dickens classic is thoroughly enjoyable. The narrator, who is also the main character, addresses you directly and colours the whole story with his own amiable personality. Indeed, one can imagine that the novel, published in instalments in that long bygone era before radio, television and other non-printed media, was conceived to be read out loud in the family parlour.

The characters are straightforward, captivating and likeable. Totally removed from any realistic complexity, they are all the more memorable: naïve, honest Pip; distant, cold, condescending Estella; devoted, loyal, simple-minded Joe; mysterious, ethereal Miss Havisham; etc.

The plot, convoluted, wholly implausible and a tad predictable, evokes harsher but so much simpler times. Though by no means a cliff-hanger, the work is suspenseful and the reader's interest is expertly sustained throughout.

Extremely well written, peppered with tongue in cheek humour, this archetypal novel is strongly recommended to any audience, particularly in audio form.
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Format: Paperback
I was just 10 years old, when I first read an abridged version of this Dickens Classic. I must have read it many times since, and everytime I read it, I am filled with array of emotions, and a deep respect for the author. Pip, the hero, is a character that embodies hopes, disappointments and dreams of every boy. As he narrates his life, we grow with him, see many people come in and go out of his life, and we feel with him his emotions and predicaments. Life is full of surprises, unexpected twists and turns, and this novel is a great chronicle of the possibilities of fate. But most importantly, this is a story of pining... and a novel worth pining for.
Miss Havisham, the old lady, epitomizes eccentricity, while Estella in her cold abandon represents every heartbreaker. This story is about pining, about love, about friendship (especially Pip and Joe, and later Pip and Herbert), about relationships, and most importantly about what one feels and lives by. Like all Dickens novels, this is a very well written story, and is much more engrossing than any of its on screen versions. This is a story that must be read at leisure and it must be failing of the reader to try and compare it with some cheap paperback that one can scram through while watching a movie and munching chips and cola. Classics deserve respect, attention and concentration: dedicate yourself to one, and trust me you will discover a lot more. A lot more about the novel and a lot more about your own self.
We all have Great Expectations, and this one by Dickens beats them all!!
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