Like Charles Dickens' other early novels, The Old Curiosity Shop was a huge success, even eclipsing The Pickwick Papers. The melodramatic saga of the flight of Little Nell and her grandfather captured the public's attention, so much so that people would wait in long lines for the release of the next installment of the saga. For the character of Little Nell, the beautiful child thrown into a shadowy, terrifying world, Dickens drew on a tragedy in his own life, the death at the age of seventeen of his sister-in-law Mary Hogarth. "The desire to be buried next her is as strong upon me now ... and I know (for I don't think there ever was love like that I bear her) that it will never diminish," he would write, five years later.More
Walter Covell's deep, craggy voice and dignified tone combine to create the impression that Charles Dickens himself is performing this soap operatic tale of woe, which follows young orphan Nell Trent and her doting but destitute grandfather through the twists and turns of a life best described as a bad hand.
The Old Curiosity Shop, which first enchanted audiences during its serial publication in 1840, remains an enduring testament to Dickens' skill at recording sprawling and thoroughly gripping tales of tragedy; and to hear it performed aloud is to feel almost transported back to the dark and dangerous streets of mid-19th-century London.
"The sorrows of Nell and her grandfather are offset by Dickens's creation of a dazzling contemporary world inhabited by some of his most brilliantly drawn characters." (The Internet Book List)
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