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Nicholas Nickleby D [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Charles Dickens , Anton Lesser
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 2005 9626343265 978-9626343265 abridged edition
One of Dickens' earlier novels, dating from 1839, it charts the fortunes of an honourable young man, Nicholas Nickleby, who has set out to make his way in the world. Dickens presents his remarkably vivid display of Victorian characters and the life they lead, from the generous to the fated to crushed. Hope springs eternal, however, and righteous persistence brings rewards. Anton Lesser, the outstanding Dickens interpreter, brings all his narrative expression to bear on this exciting tale.

Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Charles Dickens (1812-70) was a political reporter and journalist whose popularity was established by the phenomenally successful Pickwick Papers (1836-7). His novels captured and held the public imagination over a period of more than thirty years.

From AudioFile

Anton Lesser is a one-man theater troupe composed of excellent actors. Dickens was a novelist par excellence. And Perry Keenlyside is a sensitive abridger. Between them, they've created a terrific listening experience. This abridgment of one of Dickens's longer and best-loved works is long enough to feel commodious and short enough to keep one listening. It's also seamless. All the plot points and major characters, from noble Nicholas Nickleby to odious Mr. Squeers, are here. Speaking of characters, Anton Lesser voices them so well that it can be unnerving. Surely, one thinks, that decorous female is read by a different actor than the drawling male aristocrat, but it's all Lesser. And he links the dialogue with interesting, well-paced narration. In between sections, a fine selection of classical quartets. Do listen. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The good, the bad, and the extremely ugly May 1 2004
By A.J.
Dickens is as much a social critic as a storyteller in "Nicholas Nickleby," which basically pits the noble young man who gives the novel its title against his wickedly scheming rich uncle Ralph in a grand canvas of London and English society. At the beginning of the novel, Nicholas's father has just died, leaving his family destitute, and Uncle Ralph, a moneylender (specifically, a usurer) and a venture capitalist of sorts, greedy and callous by the requirements of the story, reluctantly feels obligated to help them, and does so by securing for Nicholas a position as headmaster's assistant at a school for boys in Yorkshire, and for Nicholas's sister Kate a job as a dressmaker for a foppish clown named Mr. Mantalini, while Nicholas and Kate's scatterbrained mother is left in her room to mutter incoherent reminiscences about random events in her life.
This Yorkshire school, called Dotheboys Hall, turns out to be little more than a prison in the way it is run by its headmaster, an improbably cruel cyclops named Wackford Squeers who badly mistreats and miseducates the students. Now, historical records indicate that while Squeers may be an exaggeration, his school is definitely not, Dickens intending to warn his readers of the day that some such places were indeed that bad. The duration at Dotheboys Hall constitutes only a small portion of the novel, but Squeers and his grotesque family reappear throughout the rest of the story like gremlins who are always causing bad things to happen to our hero.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite book...ever. March 28 2004
By A Customer
I have read quite a lot of the classics; "Les Miserables", "Sense and Sensibility", "The Phantom of the Opera", "The Three Musketeers", and so on. As great as all these books are, "Nicholas Nickleby" is honestly my favorite of them all.
I have also read "Great Expectations" and "A Tale of Two Cities" by Dickens. "...Cities" was excellent; Sidney Carton is one of the best fictional characters ever created. However, I was not so impressed with "...Expectations". I read this after I read "Nicholas Nickleby" and was dissapointed. I was simply not drawn into the "...Expectations" story as much as "Nicholas...". The characters were not as lively, vibrant.
To me it is a shame that "...Expectations" is praised as such a classic, when many people have not even heard of, in my opinion, the superior "Nicholas Nicleby".
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The hero of this book has been described as a 'clean cut' Tom Jones. Nicholas does have quite the peripatic journey and most importantly-the prerequisite Victorian happy ending is firmly in place: a triple wedding!
Two scenes stand out: When the young Nicholas's father dies, the family goes to their rich uncle Ralph for assistance. Spying an ad in the paper for a teaching assistant at a boarding school, Uncle Ralph sets Nicholas up with the headmaster, saying while Nicholas doesn't have a 'master's degree' he is 'flexible.' Does Nicholas ever need that flexibility. This is one of those notorious boarding school. The other big scene that stood out for me happens when 'Uncle' begins to get his 'just desserts.' This scrooge of a man has put the screws to the family of Madeline Bray and to 'ease the burden' he has placed on them, he proposes to marry Madeline...Guess who's Nicholas' love-interest? Oh yeah! Nicholas manages to persuade the dutiful Madeline that he's her man and he wrests her away from Uncle's clutches. Well, the characterization is exquisitely Dickensian and there are numerous ways to enjoy this story, in paper and plastic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most entertaining novels ever March 8 2003
I read criticisms of this book that it is not one of Dickens' best. For me, it is up there with Great Expectations and David Copperfield as one of his most enjoyable novels (A Christmas Carol is a short story).
The social axe that Dickens had to grind in this story is man's injustice to children. Modern readers my feel that his depiction of Dotheboys Academy is too melodramatic. Alas, unfortunately, it was all too real. Charles Dickens helped create a world where we can't believe that such things happen. Dickens even tell us in an introduction that several Yorkshire schoolmasters were sure that Wackford Squeers was based on them and threatened legal action.
The plot of Nicholas Nickleby is a miracle of invention. It is nothing more than a series of adventures, in which Nicholas tries to make his way in the world, separate himself from his evil uncle, and try to provide for his mother and sister.
There are no unintersting characters in Dickens. Each one is almost a charicature. This book contains some of his funniest characters.
To say this is a melodrama is not an insult. This is melodrama at its best. Its a long book, but a fast read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining to the last page, despite its length Feb. 27 2003
I had never read one of Dickens book before Nicholas Nickleby, though I had always wanted to. I particularly enjoyed this book because of Dicken's subtle sense of humor and colorful characters. It was easy to hate the villains such as Squeers or Ralph Nickleby, and laugh at the amusing chracters of Mr. Mantalini and John Brody(whom I found to be the funniest) Authenticity of personality and speech allows you to connect with the various chracters. Although he was probably the least complex, my favorite was Smike, the pitiful victim of the Yorkshire schools of the 1800s.
The one drawback was the size of this book. Dickens spent much time giving detail of many places and people (and did a good job of it), but we must draw the line somewhere. Just when one thinks enough words have been spent on one topic, it diverges into yet another irrevelant matter.
I'd recommend this book to almost anyone, unless you have a great fear of commitment. But the book has plenty of plot and satire to hold you to the end. I certainly was, but I don't think my librarian would believe me.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An ideal library addition
This item was bought as a gift which has not yet been presented. However it will be well received as have all the others in the Nonesuch editions. These books are keepers!
Published 13 months ago by Ruth Gerrard
5.0 out of 5 stars Villains You'll Hate, Victims You'll Hurt for, and Greed You'll...
"And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Donald Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Charles Dickens......what else is there that need be said!
Even after having been a devout reader of Dickens throughout my life, I am still awe struck by not only his story telling but the magnificent descriptive prose he uses at critical... Read more
Published on June 13 2012 by Ronald W. Maron
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly, not the Best!
This is not among Charles Dickens' most famous novels. The usual ingredients are present, however. There is an abundance of characters, all rather one-dimensional, perfectly... Read more
Published on March 10 2011 by Pierre Gauthier
4.0 out of 5 stars Flamboyant performance by resourceful young novelist
Again and again I had the sense of a young writer reveling in his powers -- his creation of a teeming multitude of characters and their antics and adventures, his magical use of... Read more
Published on May 19 2003 by Extollager
4.0 out of 5 stars My review of Nicholas Nickleby
Nicholas Nickleby is a story of a young man and his family dealing with the hardships in their life. When Nicholas father died the family was left with little money. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2003 by "ctangl80"
4.0 out of 5 stars funny book
this is the sixth dickens' novel i've read and is the funniest yet. it is classic early dickens, a picaresque tale that is really more a string of incidents than an integrated,... Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars A Long But Pleasant Journey
"Nicholas Nickleby" was Dickens' third serialized novel and was complete by the time he was 27 years old. Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2002 by oh_pete
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