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Little Dorrit

Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
Length: 40 hrs and 22 mins
5 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

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Summary

This Audible Exclusive production revisits Charles Dickens’ tragi-comic novel Little Dorrit. Written during the Crimean War, it a story of fortunes won and lost and a masterly portrayal of the failings of Victorian Society, with the ever-present spectre of law enforcement and imprisonment looming over a fearful population. 

One of his later works, Dickens’ maturity shines through this masterpiece and a uniquely powerful and touching love story ensues from amongst scenes of heart-wrenching injustice.

About the book

Following the death of his beloved father, Arthur Clennam returns to his home in London in order to reunite with his wheelchair-bound mother. 

Narrowly escaping from the clutches of his former fiancée, Flora Finching, Arthur finds solace in the company of his mother’s new seamstress, the innocent and sweet Little Amy Dorrit.

The youngest of three children, Amy works hard to support her father, who, as Arthur learns, has been imprisoned in Marshalsea debtors’ prison since before her time. Without a mother to care for them, Little Dorrit and her siblings reside with Mr Dorrit, and she, being the most caring of them all, takes it upon herself to pay off his debts through her needlework. 

Wishing to find out more about their serendipitous connection and how such a girl could possibly have ended up in his mother’s well-to-do household, Arthur sets out to help Amy and uncover the Clennam’s long-held family secrets, a journey which will inevitably alter the course of both of their lives.  

About the author

Like Mr William Dorrit, Dickens’ father was held at Marshalsea debtors’ prison, the memory of which haunted Dickens for years to come and eventually inspired him to transform his childhood recollections into a book entitled Little Dorrit

At a young age, Charles Dickens had to abandon his studies and set to work in a factory so as to support himself.

Despite his short-lived education, Dickens went on to write 15 novels and various articles, novellas and short stories. He lectured and led campaigns for children's rights and education and arguably became the ultimate self-made man.

About the narrator

Juliet Stevenson CBE is an Olivier award-winning actress known for her career spanning theatre, film and television. Her film credits include Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and Truly Madly Deeply (1990). Juliet starred in Robert Icke’s 2017/2018 adaptation of Mary Stuart (Almeida & Duke of York’s Theatre) where she played not only the titular role but also the role of Elizabeth I consecutively, swapping parts at the literal flip of a coin between herself and Lia Williams. Most recently she appeared in series 2 of Riviera. Juliet’s versatility knows no bounds, and she recently collaborated with both Ruby Wax and Deborah Frances-White on a series of new comedy sketches.

Public Domain (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What members say

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Fantastic

Absolutely fantastic from start to finish, what a voice and what a story.. The best way to travel to work!

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Perfect

A veritable tour de force. Juliet Stevenson's intelligence, understanding of plot and character shine through her narration of the novel. I have read Little Dorrit more than once and have seen more than one adaptation of it, but her reading brings new life and vitality to the text. Her characterisations - from Amy, to Flintwinch; from the delightful Maggie to the formidable Miss Wade - show incredible vocal and acting dexterity. The longer, often complex, narrative passages are delivered beautifully, with exactly the right tone and emphasis and she avoids any hint of mawkish sentimentality, which might tempt the lesser narrator. The episode of the death of Mr Dorrit and his brother is genuinely moving and her treatment of Amy - who grows in obvious strength, as the novel progresses - mirrors Dickens' intention perfectly. Her reading also helps to confirm my opinion that the novel contains some of the most odious figures in Dickens', amongst whom I would include Dorrit in his worst moments, however he might be redeemed in the end. Is there an equivalent of the Oscars for audiobook narration? If so, I would certainly nominate this.

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Utterly brilliant

Absolutely fantastic. Juliette Stephenson just could not be better. Draws out every character without ever getting in the way of a truly brilliant book.

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So thoroughly enjoyable!

Thank you Juliet Stevenson for all your hard work on what must have been a mammoth task! Marvellous and brilliant both Author and dare I say more so the Narrator!

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Absolutely brilliant!

JulietStevenson’s versatility is a perfect match for the wonderful storytelling of Dickens! Amazing that she is convincing as every single character! Saw me through a bout of flu!

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I loved it.

I don't like Dickens much but thought I'd see how I got on with this book which was new to me. It was the reading which made all of the difference.
Juliet Stevenson is a superb reader and made the book and its characters come to life.

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Absolutely wonderful!

What a great joy this was to listen to! One of the finest of Dickens' novels superbly rendered by Juliet Stevenson. Her ability to switch characters with such excellent timing and her huge range in the dialogue made for such convincing drama. At first I had to check that she was the only reader, as her ability to speak the different male characters in such varied voices , made each character distinct, recognizable and so true to Dicken's description of them. I have been listening to this while dipping in and out of the last BBC drama serial of "Little Dorrit " which broadcast about 10 years ago and available on BBC catchup. That TV serial was very well cast and the sets were atmospheric but the overall experience was an acute disappointment because of the liberties and the unnecessary distortions of plot and dialogue and character. In so many ways a charicature of Dickensian. The comparison with this production by Juliet Stevenson makes me realise just how splendidly enjoyable is the experience of listening to an audio book unabridged , delivered by such a consummate artist. Much better, more enriching and absorbing than any television. I am unashamed to say that I cried a little at the end of the journey she took us on.

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Loved this book, long but worth it

Unexpected humour/satire with still-relevant social commentary plus Oscar worthy performance from Juliet Stevenson, a classic

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  • Bunky
  • 19-09-19

Brilliant

This is, by far, the best Audible reading ever. It may even be the best performance by anyone, anywhere. Juliet Stevenson not only brings every character to life but brings one back in time. This performance of a masterpiece is all consuming. Thank you!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-11-19

Excellent!

This was an amazing story, Dickens is a fantastic storyteller. The narrator did a marvelous job!

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  • prii
  • 24-10-19

great book

the story is beautiful, as every book written by Dickens. I enjoyed the narrator, and the production was done very nicely!

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  • Emily Martin
  • 20-09-19

Such a joy!

Wonderfully read by Juliet Stevenson, this meaty classic had me laughing out loud and also brought me to tears. There are so many great characters and a lot of wisdom and astute observations of human behavior.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful