Summary

In this carefully crafted novel, Dickens reveals the complexity of London society in the enterprising 1840s as he takes the listener into the business firm and home of one of its most representative patriarchs, Paul Dombey. A sensitive family drama unfolds between this stern father, his two children, and aloof wife in which time and fateful events bring a slow, inexorable pressure to bear upon the hearts of all. In Paul Dombey we witness the force of social and personal arrogance ("For Dombey is as proud, Ma'am, as Lucifer") wrestling with his own stubborn, but not unredeemable, heart.
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(P)1996 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic reviews

"Frederick Davidson gives such a splendid dramatization of this family saga, set in London in the 1840's, that it's almost like watching theater." (AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By D C Norton on 24-07-11

A mangled tale

Over the past few years I have become a devotee of Audiobooks, almost to the point where I have stopped listening to Radio 4 in the car, and look forward to long walks in the company of gifted narrators at the weekend. They have made the great works of Victorian literature much more accessible and I have derived enormous satisfaction from Timothy West and Martin Jarvis declaiming Trollope and Dickens. The authors' complex and erudite sentence structures and wide vocabularies are enormously enhanced by the interpretation of these gifted storytellers. But I have struggled with Dombey and Son! The tale is a strange one that seems to break many rules - I am about 30 hours into a 36 hour experience and the 'hero' has been absent for much of it, supposedly drowned. There is a plethora of unattractive characters, many of them understandably boasting extreme Dickensian eccentricities, leading lives unleavened by the warmth of friendship and trust. The book looks long and hard at the dark side of family life, and there is much in it to inform a critical view of middle class Victorian mores. However, my real reason for penning this review is to blow off steam about the narration of Frederick Davidson, which I have found peculiarly ill suited to the Herculean task of delivering this work. His diction is overly mannered, the phrasing does not suit the lengthy sentences, there are inapt pauses and - obviously this is a personal view - Captain Cuttle in particular is rendered almost unbearable. I know that Frederick Davidson, under a variety of names, has won the admiration of many for his body of work in this field, but if you are contemplating a lengthy period in his company I urge you to listen carefully to the audio sample before you do so!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Claire on 03-10-08

A well narrated Dickens' experience

The early part of this book is shrouded in grief, loss, bereavement and loneliness with only a few flickers of humour to encourage one on. However, it is very worthwhile to persevere - the plot twists and turns, with a fine balance of good and sinister characters. It is a lengthy and wordy book, brought to life by the excellent reading of Frederick Davidson.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Philip on 25-03-08

Perfect pair

Dickens and Davidson. I chose this version of Dickens because Davidson is the reader. I have enjoyed numerous narrations by Davidson. Great voice characterizations. Deft dramatization. And that's the reader. Couple Davidson with Dickens's timeless prose and you have a winner. Highly recommended.

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9 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Virginia Waldron on 04-07-08

Great Narrator and Great Story

This is a poignant story brought to life by a simply superb narrator. The characters are very moving and the narrator conveys a sense of empathy with them which easily transfers to the lucky listener. A very moving and powerful story. I loved the atmosphere and sense of time and setting in this book. Beautifully reading of this absorbing and deep story. Marvellous experience listening to this performance. Thank-you for the hours of pleasure given by this book.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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