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Our Mutual Friend was the last novel Charles Dickens completed and is, arguably, his darkest and most complex. The basic plot is vintage Dickens: an inheritance up for grabs, a murder, a rocky romance or two, plenty of skullduggery, and a host of unforgettable secondary characters. But in this final outing the author's heroes are more flawed, his villains more sympathetic, and the story as a whole more harrowing and less sentimental. The mood is set in the opening scene in which a riverman, Gaffer Hexam, and his daughter Lizzie troll the Thames searching for drowned men whose pockets Gaffer will rifle before turning the body over to the authorities. On this particular night Gaffer finds a corpse that is later identified as that of John Harmon, who was returning from abroad to claim a large fortune when he was apparently murdered and thrown into the river.
Harmon's death is the catalyst for everything else that happens in the novel. It seems the fortune was left to the young man on the condition that he marry a girl he'd never met, Bella Wilfer. His death, however, brings a new heir onto the scene, Nicodemus Boffin, the kind-hearted but low-born assistant to Harmon's father. Boffin and his wife adopt young Bella, who is determined to marry money, and also hire a mysterious young secretary, John Rokesmith, who takes an uncommon interest in their ward. Not content with just one plot, Dickens throws in a secondary love story featuring the riverman's daughter, Lizzie Hexam; a dissolute young upper-class lawyer, Eugene Wrayburn; and his rival, the headmaster Bradley Headstone. Dark as the novel is, Dickens is careful to leaven it with secondary characters who are as funny as they are menacing--blackmailing Silas Wegg and his accomplice Mr. Venus, the avaricious Lammles, and self-centered Charlie Hexam. Our Mutual Friend is one of Dickens's most satisfying novels, and a fitting denouement to his prolific career. --Alix Wilber
Grade 7 Up-With a cast of characters that covers the whole spectrum of London life, Dickens weaves a tapestry of tales that are by turn funny, moving and tragic.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
All I can say is this is one of the best books I have ever read.Published 20 days ago by Lorna Williams
This book was purchased for my son and is the beginning of his planned Classics library and was unaware of the Nonesuch editions prior to receiving this item. Read morePublished on June 20 2013 by Ruth Gerrard
Apparently, this is the last complete novel written by Charles Dickens.
Certainly, it is not his best.
The number of characters in this novel is astounding. Read more
Anyone, such as I, who is a fan or a student of Charles Dickens owes it to himself to explore this more obscure and less popular title. Read morePublished on May 29 2012 by Ronald W. Maron
One character in Dicken's novel, Our Mutual Friend, the crippled Jenny Wren pieces together scraps of cloth and thread out of London's refuse to create beautiful doll gowns for... Read morePublished on April 7 2004 by "mr_corvo"
"Our Mutual Friend" is the last of Dickens's completed novels, and apart from "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", the only one of his novels I had hitherto not read. Read morePublished on Feb. 6 2003 by MR G. Rodgers
Charles Dickens's 1865 novel, his last completed novel, "Our Mutual Friend" is an extraordinarily dark and convoluted work. Featuring such unforgettable figures as Mr. Boffin, Mr. Read morePublished on May 21 2002 by mp
This book is great. It is very complex and full of suspense so i never get tired of reading it! When i first read it in 8th grade i was impressed by the size until i found out how... Read morePublished on May 14 2002 by missjay
I think that it may be hard for the modern reader to find the time to read _Our Mutual Friend_. It's length makes it undeniably difficult to fit easily into the daily allotment of... Read morePublished on Aug. 5 2001 by frumiousb