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Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

Our Mutual Friend (original 1865; edition 1998)

by Charles Dickens

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3,779611,378 (4.17)2 / 357
Title:Our Mutual Friend
Authors:Charles Dickens
Info:Penguin Classics (1998), Edition: New Ed, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, British, classics, 19th century

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Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (1865)



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English (59)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (61)
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
I liked the story, although it moves slowly as all Dickens's serials do, and it has his trademark witticisms and off-beat characters in abundance, but I just couldn't make it past page 163 (of 850) and have no real incentive to continue. This is his last completed novel, and he pulls out all the stops in his satirical treatment of money, greed, snobbery, rigid class distinctions, and miserliness; while greatly sympathizing with those forced to live in poverty (especially those who might have fared better if not for the evil o others.
The plot (in its basics) is transparent, and the endless machinations that keep boy from getting girl make up most of the story, with numerous sub-plots, of course.
The foreword does indicate that the book still has "a quality of joy and optimism" that represents the quality most beloved in Dickens.
Cover blurb claims it was dramatized on television.
NOTES: p. 105 "And this is the eternal law. For, Evil often stops short at itself and dies with the doer of it; but Good, never."
(perhaps a tad over-optimistic, but basically sound). ( )
  librisissimo | Apr 4, 2016 |
Too long. Wikipedia descriptions of characters was useful ( )
  Lylee | Apr 3, 2016 |
Whew! Epic, amazing, messy book. I'm glad I re-read it, and I'm glad I've finished re-reading it.

  TheEditrix | Jan 13, 2016 |
One of my favorites. First read it on a train. Beginning of my love affair with Dickens. Read it this time on my kindle.
( )
  idiotgirl | Dec 25, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (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)

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (4.17)
1 5
1.5 1
2 18
2.5 3
3 70
3.5 23
4 188
4.5 40
5 215


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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