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More than Dickens' usual over-the-top tale of the unjust hard times of the working poor, "Hard Times" skewers the industrial education model, on which we still function to some degree. When I did my teacher training, I wish I had been assigned this novel rather than a dozen scholarly articles that made the same points, but in the "Gradgrind" way. As usual, Dickens slips into occasional pathos with one dimensional caricatues, but with his wonderfully entertaining prose, he can get away with even that. Prebble's narration is wonderful as usual.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I have listened to stories all my life, and thought my mother was perhaps the most gifted reader born, (to hear her Piglet and Pooh was to understand the elasticity of love). But Simon Prebble is better. I will listen to everything he has recorded; it's my new purpose. No one else could have done Sleary justice; he becomes more than my own mind had made him when I read Hard Times so long ago: from Prebble's tongue he is a monument of dignity with a slippery 's'. And Prebble's reading of Susanna Clarke's work is perhaps even more astonishing - footnotes and all. I'm blissed out!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful