Thursday, October 28, 2010
Barnes and Noble Classics 2005/Originally 1853
Summary: A sprawling narrative touching on almost everything conceivable topic for 1850s London: love, death, religion, law, money, etc. At the center is Miss Esther Summerson, a girl with mysterious origins. Her guardian Mr Jarndyce is involved in a generations long law suit that seems like it will never be resolved. Then there are Sir Leicester and Lady Dedlock, the latter with a secret she'd die to protect. Additionally some of Dickens' famous comic characters occur here as does an instance of spontaneous combustion (seriously, I never get tired of that.)
Thoughts: I've been participating in a readalong of Bleak House where I posted more detailed thoughts but I wanted to do a proper review of the book as a whole. So if you're tired of BH, I'm sorry and feel free to skip. I'm glad I did the readalong; with such a big (and often in the beginning boring) book, I probably would have given up. I would love to read Little Dorrit, Oliver Twist, or David Copperfield like this in the spring. I liked reading what other people thought (generally they liked Esther more than I did) and where we agreed (mass hatred for Skimpole).
I'm really glad that I read this, both because it now means I've read three Dickens novels (along with Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities) and because it means that I can check off another book in my FITG challenge. But I did not love this book although I wanted to. Dickens just writes such long sentences and stuffs so much unnecessary information in there; he really wrote for his time which had a different attention span and different expectations of their authors than this time.
Overall: A big, sprawling read but I'm not sure it's a must-read for anyone.
Links: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, and Week 10.