Walter Zimmerman's bright, crisp performance allows the comedy to shine in Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers.
Dickens' first novel, published in 1837, concerns a club formed by Samuel Pickwick. The duty of its members is to travel through London and the English countryside and report on their adventures. Their loosely connected adventures showcase Dickens' gift for creating eccentric characters, like the notorious trickster Alfred Jingle and Pickwick's loveable cockney servant, Weller.
Adopting various voices for dialogue, Zimmerman does justice to Dickens' fictional creations and their shifting English accents.
The members are to report to the club on their journeys, adventures, and observations of characters and manners. Dickens creates a vivid picture of England in taking his characters along the nostalgic highways and byways of this majestic isle. This remarkable first novel made Dickens famous and has remained one of the world's best-known works. With its scores of delightful, improbably-named characters, The Pickwick Papers brims over with joyous fantasy, infectious good humor, and a touch of the macabre.
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"The great example of everything that made Dickens great....a supreme masterpiece." (G.K. Chesterton)
I wouldn't presume to comment on the book itself, I'm a scientist not an english literiture specialist. However, the reading is absolutely dreadful. It felt a bit weird that the reader was american, it seemed odd with Dickens, but I have listened to many beautiful readings with american accents. Unfortunately, the reader gives a very good impression of never having done anything like this before! There is no inflection to his voice, everything is in the same, flat monotone with no feel for the meaning of what he is saying. It honestly feels like it was computer generated.
There is an infinitely superior reading on audible in two parts; save up your credits and buy that one, you probably won't get through the whole thing in one month anyway.
Office worker in Bristol, who enjoys listening to audio books on the way to and from work
The reader's voice did not suit the book, and was not easy to listen to.
I should have listened to a sample of this as I was horrified to find it was read by an American. I couldn't listen to it. Intellectually I know Dickens was very popular in America, but even so. You wouldn't listen to Steinbeck read by a Brit.
Charles Dickens' first novel (well, sort of) really hits the spot. I have read many of his other books, and I can see now why people fell in love with him. Don't read this if you are in need of a novel with a clear beginning, middle, and end plot where you can clearly define the point and follow events. However, if you enjoy Dickens' mind and his humor, you MUST read this. Then you ought to read it again. What a hilarious, heart-warming story full of the beloved (and reviled) characters Dickens is so well known for. Read it!
If you are looking for a book with a clear plot, this is not it. But if you are in the mood for some wonderful characters in absurd situations, get this book! I don't think I've ever laughed so much in my life! Wonderful book and very well read.
"Pickwick Brought to Life"
A great listen, expertly narrated. Each character's distinct personality comes through in this very colorful interpretive read.
"Love Zimmerman, don't know why."
Maybe it's because Zimmerman strikes me as so earnest, as if he refuses to influence the story with too much flair.
Why did I laugh out loud at something pretty slapstick, in this case the description of the carriage crashing? Because the characters are so vivid-not a surprise with Dickens.
The first reviewer is right. I prefer a real Brit to narrate Dickens, but there's nothing wrong in having an American do the honors, if they can do it properly. Unfortunately, this American narrator is just not good enough. His diction is clipped, but also unnecessarily forceful; it sounds like the particular monotone of an old Movie trailer voice-over actor from the forties and fifties. This doesn't segue well into the regional accents of Britain.
The overall sound quality is a bit rough as well. You can tell this is cassette recording, in the sometimes tinny, far-away sound.
It's really too bad, because this is a fun book, maybe not as dramatic and important as later Dickens(and even more episodic), but still funny and astute.
"Fantastic novel slaughtered by awful narrator"
This is the fourth Dickens novel I have listened to on audible; while all the others had wonderful narrators who brought each character to life, this ghastly narrator has the most droning, monotone voice imaginable. He spaces the words so that there is no sense of thought, only individual words in nonsensical groupings. His accents, while varied, are not as convincing as the other narrators of Dickens I have listened to (Martin Jarvis, Frank Muller, etc). So bad that I am switching halfway through to a different narrator.
"Awful...and I'm a huge Dickens fan!"
First, I absolutely love Dickens. Second, I have a ridiculous completion compulsion when it comes to books in general. This book was one of the very few I haven't been able to finish, the characters are annoying, there is no story, just ridiculous people doing who knows what. AND the narrator is so incredibly annoying you'll want to scream.
Enjoyable, but disfigured often by inaccurate rendering of English accents, which are indicators of class and geographic origin. Some pronunciations are wrong as well: either not as an Englishmen would pronounce the word, or in a few cases as any educated person, English or American, would pronounce the word.
To sum up, there's no subsitute for a well-schooled English actor for reading Dickens.
"Horrible reading of an incredible book"
The book? Amazing. This version of the audio book? Pathetically horrible! It sounds like the narrator is a computer, not a person. Really, really disappointing.
Do yourself a favor and either buy another version of the audiobook, or prepare for some really horrible reading.
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