The Chuzzlewits are a family divided by money and selfishness; even young Martin, the eponymous hero, is arrogant and self-centred. He offends his grandfather by falling in love with the latter's ward, Mary, and sets out to make his own fortune in life, travelling as far as America - which produces from Dickens a savage satire on a new world tainted with the vices of the old. Martin's nature slowly changes through his bitter experience of life and his enduring love for Mary. Martin Chuzzlewit is one of Dickens's most humorous and satirical novels, and it contains two great comic creations: the hypocrite Pecksniff and the drunken nurse Sarah Gamp.
Public Domain ©2010 Naxos Audiobooks
Great characters, a fascinating story, lots of humour, brilliantly read and characterised by Sean Barrett.
The novel has one or two chapters that are a bit long-winded (don't be put off by Chapter 1), the American section is surprisingly anti-american.
But you must make the acquaintance of some of the unforgettable characters such as Mr Pecksniff, Tom Pinch and may you never be looked after by Mrs Gamp.
I always enjoy listening to audiobooks - but this reading by Sean Barrett is like a dramatisation. It reminded me that Dickens was famous for his theatrical readings, and how susceptible audience members had hysterics. It is a truly wonderful performance. There are tedious passages in most of Dickens' novels but I was so entranced by Sean Barrett's impersonations, of Mrs Gamp, Mr Pecksniff, Mrs Todger, Bill Bailey (the list goes on) that I did not want to miss a word. As a novel, this one is patchy; but Dickens has the knack of conjuring up truly evil characters, such as Jonas Chuzzlewit and Mr Pecksniff, and Sean Barrett's performance made me feel Dickens' magnificence as novelist even more, I think, than simply reading it for myself would have done. The novel has been on my bookshelves for years and I've taken it down, flipped over the pages and put it back on several occasions. The whole experience of listening to a master in performance bringing to life the work of another master convinces me that there's more to be done, yet, in writing novels for reading aloud, rather than simply reading to oneself. The best of story-telling, like this, needs the human voice!
What a combination - Dickens and Sean Barrett. It was such a joy listening to Sean Barrett reading this book. He made the characters come to life seemlessly. I laughed out loud when Mr Pecksniff became inebriated and was put to bed. Definitely one to listen to again.
"didn't expect this"
I had never read this novel from Dickens and it's not the sort of story-line that one comes to expect with most of his books. It does have many of the ingredients but somehow the result feels different. Interesting characters and a regular build-up of the story, and then nothing seems to happen. As if a key passage was missing. A nice listen though, with an incredible narrator able to do all of the voices brilliantly.
"Unusual Dickensian Tale"
Sean Barrett makes a brilliant job of narrating this story especially as the tale moves to the USA. I found that it needs some perseverance as somehow Dickens complex cast of characters struggle to take on depth until the latter end of the first download. The introduction of a transatlantic dimension works well in contrast with the English story and then takes on a pace. My advice is stick with it it is an excellent read with an unusual wider scope for Dickens.
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