The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Paperback – Nov 1 1999
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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.
"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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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".
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!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 on Sept. 25 2013 by Ruth Gerrard
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 morePublished on March 10 2011 by Pierre Gauthier
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... Read morePublished on April 28 2004 by Ted
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 morePublished on May 19 2003 by Extollager
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... Read morePublished on March 8 2003 by JR Pinto
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... Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2003
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 morePublished on Jan. 6 2003
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 morePublished on Oct. 5 2002