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Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

Our Mutual Friend (original 1865; edition 2006)

by Charles Dickens

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3,676581,431 (4.18)2 / 346
Title:Our Mutual Friend
Authors:Charles Dickens
Info:Hodder & Stoughton Audio Books (2006), Audio CD
Collections:Your library
Tags:Audiobook, England, 1001

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Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (1865)



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English (55)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (58)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
I would have given this 5 stars except that there were certain passages (too many in my opinion) which were too obviously Dickens getting on his soapbox and not really relevant to the story. Dickens does this in most (all?) of his novels and I have often enjoyed the sarcastic wit in these asides but for some reason, I found them less funny and more bitter in this novel & therefore less enjoyable. (I will try to track down some examples to include here later)

The plot itself I loved. It had all the twists and turns and branches that I appreciate so much in Dickens as well as the wonderful cast of characters. The only thing missing was one or two "light relief" eccentric but harmless characters such as Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield although I suppose Jenny Wren & Mr. Tremlow do fulfill that function to some extent. I was pleased to find that Mr. Boffin hadn't been corrupted by wealth after all. One of my favorite chapters in the last book was the one where the truth is revealed to Bella and then to Silas Wegg. And I loved the happy endings all around with even Eugene Wraeburn surviving and turning over a new leaf once he was married to Lizzie. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jul 16, 2015 |
See review of the Kindle edition for my comments about the book itself. This review is for the Librivox recording by Mil Nicholson.

Although I have been listening to and enjoying Mil Nicholson's free narrations of various Dickens classics (available from Librivox.com) for several years now, I was still impressed by the wonderful variety of voices, accents, and emotions she displayed in this particular recording. I strongly recommend her audiobook editions if anyone is the least bit interested in classic (especially Victorian) literature! ( )
  leslie.98 | Jul 16, 2015 |
It took me a good 100 pages to get into this book, but then I was hooked. I enjoyed certain characters more than others: the scenes involving the Veneerings, Lammles and poor Mr Twemlowe were very entertaining, also those involving Mrs Wilfer.. On the other hand, I struggled with the Wegg/Venus and Riderhood/Gaffer chapters, especially as their speech was often rendered phonetically. Miss Jenny Wren did not appeal to me AT ALL and the way she treated her father was very disturbing, but I am pleased to say that I saw the romance with Sloppy coming a mile off.

This was, of course, cleverly plotted - the reader believes he is in on the Harmon/Rokesmith secret, only to find there are more layers of plotting to be revealed at the end. Bella seemed to have to wait in the dark unnecessarily long for everything to be explained to her and seemed more accepting than I would have been of what her husband and the Boffins had been up to. Also, was she even legally married and was their baby legitimate, given that John married her under a false name?

This may just be my stupidity, but did we ever really find out why John was attacked and left for dead and by whom? Was it connected to the fact that he was the heir to a fortune or just bad luck? Some of the aspects of the novel were very "Victorian" - the saintly toddler Johnny, the way Bella spoke to her father, the way every single person in the novel was connected to all the others by a series of coincidences etc. ( )
  pgchuis | Apr 13, 2015 |
Moody, dense look at Dickens's London characters. The city and river as wonderful characters. ( )
  jimnicol | Sep 26, 2014 |
Very difficult to get into and several extraneous characters who did little to move the plot forward. But the many threads came together nicely and happy endings were in store for most. As this was the last completed novel of Dickens, it struck me that he was yearning for a happy ending for himself at that point in his life. ( )
  AliceAnna | Aug 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (67 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davies, E. SalterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Egg, AugustusCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, J. HillisAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poole, AdrianEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, MarcusIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, LyndIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winterich, John T.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is inscribed by its author to Sir James Emerson Tennent as a memorial of friendship
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In these times of ours, though concerning the exact year there is no need to be precise, a boat of dirty and disreputable appearance, with two figures in it, floated on the Thames, between Southwark bridge which is of iron, and London Bridge which is of stone, as an autumn evening was closing in.
"Why not possible, deary, when so many things are possible?" ~Mrs. Boffin
"You could draw me to fire. You could draw me to water. You could draw me to the gallows. You could draw me to any death." ~Bradley Headstone
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375761144, Paperback)

Our Mutual Friend was the last novel Charles Dickens completed and is, arguably, his darkest and most complex. The basic plot is vintage Dickens: an inheritance up for grabs, a murder, a rocky romance or two, plenty of skullduggery, and a host of unforgettable secondary characters. But in this final outing the author's heroes are more flawed, his villains more sympathetic, and the story as a whole more harrowing and less sentimental. The mood is set in the opening scene in which a riverman, Gaffer Hexam, and his daughter Lizzie troll the Thames searching for drowned men whose pockets Gaffer will rifle before turning the body over to the authorities. On this particular night Gaffer finds a corpse that is later identified as that of John Harmon, who was returning from abroad to claim a large fortune when he was apparently murdered and thrown into the river.

Harmon's death is the catalyst for everything else that happens in the novel. It seems the fortune was left to the young man on the condition that he marry a girl he'd never met, Bella Wilfer. His death, however, brings a new heir onto the scene, Nicodemus Boffin, the kind-hearted but low-born assistant to Harmon's father. Boffin and his wife adopt young Bella, who is determined to marry money, and also hire a mysterious young secretary, John Rokesmith, who takes an uncommon interest in their ward. Not content with just one plot, Dickens throws in a secondary love story featuring the riverman's daughter, Lizzie Hexam; a dissolute young upper-class lawyer, Eugene Wrayburn; and his rival, the headmaster Bradley Headstone. Dark as the novel is, Dickens is careful to leaven it with secondary characters who are as funny as they are menacing--blackmailing Silas Wegg and his accomplice Mr. Venus, the avaricious Lammles, and self-centered Charlie Hexam. Our Mutual Friend is one of Dickens's most satisfying novels, and a fitting denouement to his prolific career. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:03 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

John Harmon returns to England as his father's heir. Believed drowned under suspicious circumstances--a situation convenient to his wish for anonymity--John evaluates Bella Wilfer whom he must marry to secure his inheritance. The story is filled with colorful Victorian characters and incidents -- the faded aristocrats and parvenus gathered at the Veneering's dinner table, Betty Higden and her terror of the workhouse and the greedy plottings of Silas Wegg. A comprehensive and penetrating account of Victorian society stiffled by materialism.… (more)

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Average: (4.18)
1 5
1.5 1
2 15
2.5 3
3 67
3.5 23
4 183
4.5 39
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17 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140434976, 0141199806

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