Our Mutual Friend

What the Dickens...?

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Our Mutual Friend

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1marise
Aug 1, 2007, 5:52pm

Well, August is here and I thought I would start this thread to post any discussions/random thoughts we might like to share concerning Our Mutual Friend.

2aluvalibri
Aug 1, 2007, 7:12pm

I will start reading it tonight.

3mikeepatrick
Aug 1, 2007, 8:49pm

Just remember, Twemlow is NOT actually a table. Not that you'd know it by the writing, mind you...

4geneg
Aug 2, 2007, 10:36am

I read the passage about Twemlow and his leaves several times and finally decided he must be a rather flat human being. Very confusing.

Does anyone remember the game show host Gene Rayburn? I wonder if he is related to Eugene Wrayburn.

I read Hard Times last week to get my mind in the Dickens mode. Aside from the fact that I immensely enjoyed it, the style is almost nothing like Our Mutual Friend so far. I'm finding Our Mutual Friend to have a much more modern style.

5marise
Aug 3, 2007, 7:30am

I think Mr. Twemlow is just used by the Veneerings (great name) in the same way as the table: to accomodate guests they want to impress. And probably in the way when not needed. I love his confusion as to whether or not he is their oldest friend!

Yes, the style of OMF seems very modern.

6digifish_books
Aug 4, 2007, 4:16am

Hi folks, just checking back in after a week's vacation (in far north Queensland :) I did no reading in the last week, which means I'm behind schedule with OMF but hope to get a copy and join in shortly...!

7digifish_books
Aug 6, 2007, 9:30am

My local bookstores and library don't have the book in stock, so I am starting with an audio version + e-book.

8marise
Aug 6, 2007, 9:39am

I am so glad you are joining in! My book has a list of characters at the beginning and its a good thing! I am having trouble keeping up with everyone...Does your e-book have a list?

His tone in this book seems to vary from ironic in the chapters about the Veneerings to a darker, more serious tone in the chapters about the Hexums.

9geneg
Aug 6, 2007, 11:11am

Is Stucconia a real place? It sounds like the 19th century version of a satire on upscale suburban areas populated by people such as the Veneerings, but most of his locations in this book sound more like real places.

10Seajack
Aug 6, 2007, 12:06pm

I listened to the unabridged audio version not that long ago. One point that I didn't get: how did the Lammels discover the connection to the actual person who'd "ruined" them? Talk about a deserved come-uppance!

11digifish_books
Aug 12, 2007, 11:45pm

>8 marise: Hi Marise ~ my ebook doesn't have a list of the characters, but I managed to get a list from Wikipedia.

I confess I've seen the TV series of Our Mutual Friend, but have only vague recollections of the full story, so its great to be reading it now.

12marise
Aug 13, 2007, 10:34am

I am fighting a cold virus and in the "busyness" of school starting, so I haven't progressed very far, but love what I have read so far. I really do have to keep referring back to that list of characters, though!

13digifish_books
Edited: Aug 15, 2007, 9:22pm

>9 geneg: geneg ~ according to one website 'Stucconia' was an area north of Oxford Street:

The squares north of Oxford Street formed a quarter - "Stucconia," as Dickens calls it - much favoured by the prosperous mercantile and professional classes in the mid nineteenth century.

(The link to that website just refuses to paste here properly, so I've deleted it!)

>12 marise: Hope you're feeling better, Marise....

14marise
Aug 15, 2007, 9:25pm

Thanks, Digifish, I am definitely feeling better this evening and planning dive back into OMF. Thanks for the Stucconia explanation! Being from Texas, I had a mental image of little stucco houses in a row...I knew it couldn't be right, though.

15geneg
Aug 15, 2007, 10:32pm

Thanks, digifish, for the explanation of Stucconia!

16digifish_books
Aug 21, 2007, 3:56am

I'm really enjoying the character of Jenny Wren, the doll's dressmaker and the way she knows everyone's 'tricks and their manners' A Dickens (female) character with a bit of a personality for a change! :)

17digifish_books
Aug 23, 2007, 3:40am

.....and Book 3, Chapter 15 (The Golden Dustman at his worst) is quite hilarious!

18marise
Aug 23, 2007, 9:32pm

>17 digifish_books: Digifish
I'm not there yet, but, after bogging down a bit, your post has encouraged me to persevere!

19geneg
Sep 1, 2007, 8:31pm

I just finished Our Mutual Friend and will post a review, hopefully tomorrow.

20digifish_books
Sep 1, 2007, 11:53pm

>19 geneg: Looking forward to your review, geneg :)

I finished listening to Our Mutual Friend last week. I intend to re-read it again someday, when I get around to finding a hard copy. I found I got bogged down in some sections of the story and there were parts where I struggled to figure out what was going on, but persistence paid off in the end!

(Ill be over in the Trollope group, if anyone is looking for me ;P )

21marise
Edited: Sep 2, 2007, 4:24pm

I also finished OMF last week. I really had to push myself to finish it, though.

I will be interested in reading your review, geneg, but after that I leave this story forever! :)

Still, I intend to read David Copperfield sometime this next year.

22aluvalibri
Sep 2, 2007, 4:42pm

Oh marise, David Copperfield will be a treat! It is my favourite. When you get to read it, I will be curious to know what you think.
My attempt at reading OMF failed miserably. It is probably because, right now, I have no brain to read anything requiring an effort. I plan to pick it up again, but who knows when....

23geneg
Sep 3, 2007, 10:56pm

Well, as promised, two days late, my review of Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens can be read here.

24digifish_books
Sep 3, 2007, 11:04pm

>23 geneg: Thank you, geneg. A wonderful review!

25digifish_books
Sep 4, 2007, 12:44am

Has anyone read Sir Harry Johnston's sequel to Our Mutual Friend, called 'The Veneerings'? I managed to find an online copy at http://www.openlibrary.org/details/veneeringsnovel00johniala

26aluvalibri
Sep 4, 2007, 7:57am

Great review, geneg. Thanks!!!

27tomcatMurr
Edited: Sep 7, 2007, 9:01am

I second that.Great review.
Particularly interesting what you say about D's characters being regarded as stereotypical. I do believe you are on to something there when you say the reason is because we create them ourselves with help from D's language.

28LizzieD
Jan 10, 2009, 3:16pm

I'm rereading OMF on my usual pick-it-up-put-it-down basis. It is one of my favorites mostly because Lizzie Hexam (hence my name "LizzieD" for Dickens) is one of his least nauseating young women. I read Dickens for his wonderful language (see geneg's review). I thought that those of you who are also fans of Henry James might like to know that James detested OMF. Of course, I can't find the quotation now that I want it, but I'll keep looking if anybody cares.

29Porius
Edited: Jan 10, 2009, 4:58pm

appreciation for the posting of the VENEERINGS. i always relish reading that early chapter in OMF.

30Seajack
Mar 4, 2009, 7:21pm

I gave up on this one the first time; a couple of years later I tried again, and finished it. The satire is good, but it's no David Copperfield, as far as plots go.

31digifish_books
Nov 9, 2009, 10:50pm

BBC Radio 4 is featuring a 20-part adaptation of Our Mutual Friend. Episodes are available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qy2s

32the_dolls_dressmaker
Mar 30, 2012, 1:33am

I have to say that this one is definitely my favourite of his, which, I'm aware, is rather an odd favourite for any Dickens fan, but considering the fact I'm a 14-year-old girl, I've gotten some pretty strange looks when I rave about this one. I'm not sure what exactly draws me to the whole thing, but it's certainly not the theme of money and social class. The whole 'things that bounce off one death' thing is pretty interesting (even though it's not actually a death, in the end), but it's mostly my weird love of the characters, particularly, as you can tell by my username, the lovely miss Jenny Wren. I quite like Lizzie as well, even though she often gets written off for being 'too perfect'. Honestly, I can actually relate to her quite a lot (although this may be because of my overactive imagination of what's actually going on with characters), and she's far, far more realistic than most of Boz's lady characters, excepting maybe Amy Dorrit (I adore her, too :3)

I was actually in a 4-act staged production of it, playing Georgiana Podsnap, which was a lot of fun...

33Pepys
Mar 30, 2012, 7:22am

OMF is my favorite Dickens' novel, with David Copperfield. (BTW, I hated Hard Times.) I read OMF last year, so that I cannot remember all the details... But what's the use of the Veneerings in the novel?

34AuntieCatherine
Apr 1, 2012, 4:01pm

I suspect the Veneerings are there to represent the rising middle-class version of the novel's predilection for people who are not what their surfaces project. Headstone is not the prim and proper teacher, Rokesmith is not Rokesmith, the Lammles are not a happily-married couple, Riah is not a usurer, Noddy Boffin is hiding what he is, Wegg is lying to the Boffins, Lady Tippins is all surface and no underneath and the Veneerings have nothing underneath their Veneer. They are merely a stage on which other people display themselves.

35Seajack
Jun 1, 2013, 10:49pm

For what it's worth, I couldn't get into the book at all the first try, and had to come back to it much later.

36kac522
Sep 17, 2013, 2:23pm

>34 AuntieCatherine: I just finished OMF, and your observations about people are not what they seem is spot-on. Only Lizzie and Jenny and Bella (to me) are "themselves"; I like the development of Bella's character a lot. She changes over the course of the novel, and she seems to be the only one who sees her own fascination with money in a critical way.