The magnificent Richard Armitage (Hamlet: King of Denmark: A Novel) performs The Chimes by Charles Dickens.
This classic story is the second in a series of five Christmas books Dickens was commissioned to write - beginning with A Christmas Carol. A haunting tale set on New Year's Eve, The Chimes tells the story of a poor porter named Trotty Veck who has become disheartened by the state of the world - until he is shown a series of fantastical visions that convince him of the good of humanity. Though much different from and certainly a bit darker than A Christmas Carol, the moral message of The Chimes is equally poignant - touting the importance of compassion, goodwill, and the love of friends and family.
The Chimes was followed by The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and finally The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain.
Public Domain (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
Bookworm, librarian, chocaholic. Give me a good book, a bar of chocolate and a glass of fine wine and I'm a happy lady.
I had never heard of this Dickens' Christmas story before listening to it and now I understand why. The language is very old-fashioned and the 'goblins and ghosts' element is very much in a Victorian style, as I expected. The attitudes of the Victorian gentry towards the poor were, as outlined in the story, very shocking indeed and the story does not have many redeeming features.BUT, the performance of the narrator is very much a high quality one with an interesting range of voices, interpretations of characters and excellent pacing. The book is worth listening to for Richard Armitage's excellent narration - then go and listen to his other audio performances. Every one of them is fantastic.
I find Charles Dickens quite difficult because of the old fashioned language but Richard Armitage made this tale much more accessible. I really loved all his characterisations and will make sure I listen to all his other narrations. The story is very thought provoking - the representations of the attitudes of some Victorians were truly shocking in places.
"Best Version of "The Chimes" on Audible!"
Charles Dickens can be a dark, dark soul and "The Chimes" can be a dark, dark story, depending on who narrates it. But with Armitage at the helm, we don't have to worry.
This is one of three versions I have, and trust me: It's the best! (Really! Dickens on Dickens is downright scary!)
Trotty Veck's soul is tested at the turn of year's end: just what are the poor worth? Are they indeed worthy of being "put down" at every turn as those above him say? As he has come to believe?
One night, he is "killed" and comes to see the future and everything that he believes comes to pass through his beloved daughter. Does she deserve it? It's a painful, painful listen, and with any other narrator besides Richard Armitage, it comes off as heavy-handed. With Armitage, however, it's beautiful and heartfelt.
And the prose! God, how Dickens can write! Every bit of squalor and poverty, of filth and suffering is brought through with his choice of words. It's lyricism at its best. It's genius.
Trust me when I say that perhaps you'll be stuffing a dollar into that bell ringer's tin can outside the store this year. Or that you'll be donating food for the hungry.
Please do...! After all, it's what Trotty and Meg would do.
"A most beautiful gift"
Thank you so much for this gift of a story. It keeps me company as I sit alone with the dogs. It also gives me hope, as I am poor, that the new year could be better than this last.
"wonderful audible gift!"
Very much enjoyed this complimentary Dickens story. I likely would not have chosen it but am glad to have listened. It's Dickens at his best. reminiscent of Christmas Carol. Thank you!
This is another version of A Christmas Carol. Well, what I mean is that Dickens uses a similar plot device where Trotter (the hero) travels in time and learns a few key lessons about life like Scrooge with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. It's totally five star IF YOU LIKE DICKENS. If you don't, you will find it verbose and slow-moving. But, I do so I really enjoyed it.
Happy New Year to us all!
"I'm a fan, but not this one"
Since this novella has survived the ages I suppose a lot of people liked it but it did not hold my interest. I really tried to follow the story but I kept falling asleep. It was slow moving and the characters were not very interesting. I could not quickly preceive their motives or the point of the story. In the early part of the story one character completely devastated the happiness of a young couple. The purpose of the action was made clear later on but it still was a downer for the listener.
I am currently reader one of Lee Child's books. I like high drama and a faster pace.
He has a wonderful English accent and that was very appropriate for this book. It was that after an hour or two I was bored and couldn't go on.
The characters although dull were very well described and it was easy to find them in your mind's eye. I could also see the church and feel the cold. The church was beautiful and I wanted to see it in real life.
I have read David Cooperfield and A Christmas Carol both were excellent books. I have read other works but contemporary artist but this one did not do it for me.
"Thank you, thank you!"
I just love the holiday gifts chosen by the good people at Audible! This one I had never read, despite being a big Dickens fan. Thus, the double thanks!
Richard Armitage is a superlative narrator and makes this a very special little piece. Every year, I wonder if Audible will continue the gifting tradition and, if so, what will be sent our way. It really makes all of us who love Audible into a family - so thanks again. And (though it's from the wrong story) God Bless Us Every One!
As most Americans, I'm familiar with Dickens mostly through The Christmas Carol. This is not that, but it it quite similar, like a cross between Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful life.
I was unsure what the moral would be right until the moment it was delivered, and that delivery was excellent. A must read. Big thanks to Audible for giving this book as a holiday gift!
The performance was perfect. Exactly as i imagined when first read. Recommend this reading very highly
"Not my favorite Dickens."
I understand that Dickens is considered a literary genius. I get that he is almost hallowed ground for some. I just do not fall into that group. This story is fine. Read it around the holidays to get into the mood, but overall, I found this to be just okay. It is overdone in places and while it is a period piece, I simply cannot put it on the same shelf as "Christmas Carol."
The narration is fine, just not something that hit a great chord with me.
"Dickens' second Christmas story but far from best."
No, overall not one of the stronger Dickens books, and seemed a bit out of his normal style.
** spoiler alert ** This was apparently Dickens' second Christmas themed book (novella really), written after A Christmas Carol, but not as successful or well known. There are some clear similarities between the two; the main character is shown a vision of a bleak future as a warning by the goblins that inhabit the church bells that the main character listens to every day. The bleak future is heavy with social commentary on the plight of the poorer class in England and the callous attitude of the upper classes. In this case however the main character belongs to the poor lower class, which seemed a little strange to me since he is already a good person and is not in need of a lesson on the hardships of the lower class. It seems as if he's shown this bleak future that he has little control over, and then told that it doesn't have to turn out that way after all, but unlike Scrooge he doesn't undergo any fundamental character changes.
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