The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

  • by Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 30 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is closely modelled on the 18h-century novels that Charles Dickens loved as a child, such as Robinson Crusoe, in which the fortunes of a hero shape the plot. The likeable young Nicholas, left penniless on the death of his father, sets off in search of better prospects. His meandering route to happiness includes work as a teacher at Dotheboys Hall, where the brutal Wackford Squeers ill-treats his impoverished pupils, and a spell as an actor with the absurdly melodramatic Crummles troupe. Nicholas's many adventures give Dickens the freedom to follow the eccentricities of a vivid gallery of characters, exploring themes of class, love, and self-awareness with exuberant comedy and biting satire.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I couldn't switch this one off!

I suppose this must be my favourite Dickens story so far in as much as I'm surprised my earphones didn't need to be surgically removed by the end of the audio book. I just found the pace of the action more intense than David Copperfield, Great Expectations and The Pickwick Papers though I certainly loved them all. I think Dickens has created some of the nastiest and most irredeemable characters in Nicholas Nickleby, which really got my outraged juices flowing. I felt the relationship between Nicholas and Madeleine seemed to develop a bit quickly and perfunctorily, but I suppose there is only so much you can fit in without making the story too long. There were some great scenes and characters and I thought Simon Vance was a great narrator, his characterisations weren't quite up to the level of some of the most distinguished on Audible, but was still brilliant and I found his voice quality excellent, that could have been another reason for my not being able to switch him off. Thoroughly recommended
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- Richard

Enthralling and captivating

Would you consider the audio edition of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby to be better than the print version?

Not having read a print version I can't really compare. However, I wouldn't have been able to get as much done if I'd had to hold a physical book and turn pages!


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby?

The story is still fresh in my mind so there are several parts which could hold this distinction. When Nicholas reacted violently against Squeers; when John Browdie rescued Smike; when I realised the brothers Cheeryble were really as good as they seemed; when the neighbouring (mad) gentleman show his affection of Mrs Nickleby by throwing random vegetables over the garden wall...


Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favourite?

While he didn't appear in the story very much at all, I particularly liked Vance's characterisation of the vain and feckless Mantalini. Brilliantly repugnant!

As forJohn Browdie, I'm really not sure what was going on with his accent! There were definite traces of Geordie in there and who knows what else! Being married to a Yorkshireman I can say that Yorkshire accent it ain't! Hilarious though, but probably not intentionally.


If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Poor young gent makes enemies, makes friends and makes good.(But what a random question, and I'm not a tag line writer...)


Any additional comments?

I love the hot-headedness of Nicholas; it makes him rather more human than the rest of his saintly demeanour would suggest. His sister is an angel and his mother is seriously irritating, but as always with Dickens the characters are magnified in their traits: the brothers Cheeryble are emphatically good and kind, and Ralph Nickleby, Sir Mulberry Hawk and Wackford Squeers are emphatically bad.Another a Dickens signature present throughout are the wonderfully onomatopoeic names, and of course the 'happy ever after' ending. This one is more saccharine than most, but none the less palatable for all that.I really enjoyed this novel and will be listening to it again. I find Dickens is one of those authors whose books one can consume multiple times without them losing their charm.

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- Lou

Book Details

  • Release Date: 27-12-2010
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio