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The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Paperback – Nov 1 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (Nov. 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140435123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140435122
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #485,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Library Journal

Nicholas Nickleby, a gentleman's son fallen upon hard times, must set out to make his way in the world. Along the way various older, money-grubbing villains attempt to injure him. Eventually, with the assistance of kind patrons, he and his family achieve economic security and a happy home. Sounds rather trite, doesn't it? Not with characters written by Dickens (Hard Times, Audio Reviews, LJ 5/1/98). Schoolmaster Squeers would make a fine poster boy for child abusers. Ralph Nickleby's initial desire to injure Nicholas gradually develops into a full-blown obsession. Then there are the kind Cheeryble brothers, the gentle, much-abused Smike, and a host of other friends who provide comic relief. Martin Jarvis does an outstanding job of reading this book. His ingenues sound young (a frequent problem area for male readers) while his villains are deliciously evil. The only problems are with the abridgment. In several places, choppy editing has left brief, disconnected scenes and/or character cameos without relevance to the abridged tale. Still, this is a charming presentation and a wonderful bridge to a classic book. Recommended for public and academic libraries.AI. Pour-El, Iowa State Univ., Ames
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"As is typical of Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby contains a myriad of characters, and as is typical of Simon Vance, he skillfully handles each one. . . . Like the novel itself, Vance delivers a performance that is both poignant and humorous." ---AudioFile --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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First Sentence
It has afforded the Author great amusement and satisfaction, during the progress of this work, to learn from country friends and from a variety of ludicrous statements concerning himself in provincial newspapers, that more than one Yorkshire schoolmaster lays claim to being the original of Mr Squeers. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on May 1 2004
Format: Paperback
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 By A Customer on March 28 2004
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Audio CD
"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." -- Matthew 10:42 (NKJV)

Let me clear that I am reviewing the unabridged reading by Simon Vance.

Dickens can seem remote to us today. The settings and problems don't exist in the same format. Underlying thdse differences, however, there are universal truths that are still with us: greed leads to harming others, love is kind, doing good is admirable, and children and vulnerable people should be protected. Dickens has a marvelous way of drawing characters who, although exaggerated, ring true ... and elicit strong emotions from us through their dastardly and good actions. In part, this is true due to the large differences between those doing good and those doing evil. In part, it's because Dickens knew how to reveal a stony or a kind heart in ways that are unforgettable.

I find that listening to readings of the Dickens novels makes them seem more current and relevant. Good readers bring out more of my emotions and help me not to miss important parts of how Dickens portrayed his characters. Simon Vance has done both quite well from my perspective.

While the plot line here won't often dazzle anyone with its complexity or unpredictability, the key to this book's success can be found in the set of astonishingly well-drawn characters: Ralph Nickleby, Wackford Squeers, Smike, Mrs. Nickleby, Newman Noggs, Frank and Ned Cheeryble, and Sir Mulberry Hawk. Even several of the minor characters receive careful development, intensifying the reader's (and listener's) ability to relate to the story.

As in the best of Dickens' novels, there are some astonishing ironies included in the plot that make finishing the book feel especially rewarding. Keep with it, even if you feel a bit overwhelmed by over 30 hours of listening.

Enjoy a good long drive with this recorded book!
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Format: Paperback
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 times throughout his novels. Nicholas Nickleby is no exception.

In order to keep his weekly readers alert and in anticipation of this forthcoming work, Dickens had a tendency to vary his style slightly from one tale to the next. With Nickleby he refrains from his numerous 'quirky' characterizations and keeps them at a minimum. I strongly feel this was done as an effort to clearly define the malice and greed that is shown by the moneychangers of his time. In addition, this prose is more streamlined and less diffuse than some of his other works. It is a linear progression of the two main characters, Nicholas and Kate, as they live out their lives after their father's passing. There are very few side subplots as are so characteristic in other novels. The two that are present (Nickolas's acting career and the pursuance of Kate by one of the scrupulous elite) serve more as a distraction rather than adding to the on going plotline.

In sum, this novel is an easy, fluid read that makes the 850+ pages seem like much less and, above all, Dickens ends his tale with the moniker that generally accompanies his other works; "And they lived happily ever after.". Ah, if life could always have this cheerful ending.
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