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Little Dorrit

Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
Length: 40 hrs and 22 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (103 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 listeners say about Little Dorrit

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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"Absolutely Superb"

Juliet Stevenson is simply superb as the narrator, drawing you in with all her skill to make the characters come to life with ease. The Story itself, needs no explanation a it is world famous. I cannot recommend this book enough to all those who are very familiar with the book and to those that are not, you will not be disappointed. The calibre of narration here is gold standard.

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thank goodness for Juliet Stevenson

who got me through this tome of a book, without her I'd have given up

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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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Juliet Stevenson’s performance exceptional

The voices and characterisations were stunning, all the way through, but this is one seriously long book!

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The best

I struggled with the Dickens stories at school, did better with them as I aged. However, the books never came to life like this one has. If there are Oscars for narration, Juliet Stevenson should get one now. This has been the best audible book I've listened to, not only for Dickens's wonderful writing but equally to Juliet's amazing narration.

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Excellently read

A thoroughly enjoyable listen. The different characters that Juliet Stevenson portrays are wonderful. Didn't want it to end!

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Outstanding.

I commend Juliet Stevenson on her superb performance. The novel came alive through her impeccable interpretation of the splendid array of characters. It has been a pleasure and an honour to listen to Little Dorrit. This outstanding work will stay with me for a very long time.

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Excellent reading of this classic work

I am really enjoying Juliet Stevenson's interpretation of this classic. Her narration is warm and soothing, contrasting with some startling character voices.

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Performance

Juliet Stevenson is absolutely magnificent. A real tour de force. Thank you for a wonderful experience.

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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!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-07-20

Fantastic

The best written and narrated book I’ve purchased on audible. I will no doubt listen again. A+

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  • anonymous
  • 01-08-20

Amazing performance!

Juliet Stevenson outdid herself again. What an enjoyable book to listen to, brought to life by the talents of Ms.Stevenson. She has a repertoire of varied accents and voices making this such a rich and wonderful book to listen to. If you love Charles Dickens then you should try this audible book... you won’t regret it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Peppersfool
  • 04-09-20

Possibly Dickens's best.

A wonderful story, and the narrator was fabulous. It was a marvel listening to her characterization; she gave each a distinctive voice. Thoroughly enjoyed 'Little Dorrit.'

1 person found this helpful

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  • F Shaw
  • 02-08-20

Spectacular performance of somewhat silly plot

I would lister to Juliet Stevenson read almost any dialogue, she is remarkable. It is not Dickens best plot, quite syrupy, but with some wonderful Dickens characters, really brought to life by the reader.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Steve De Pangher
  • 28-06-20

Amazing performance!

If I could give six stars to Juliet Stevenson, I would. Little Dorrit is a complex story, even for Dickens, but Stevenson’s narration saves the day.

1 person found this helpful

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  • C. Scheidlinger
  • 03-04-20

Story and narration superb

Dickens is at his best in this long novel, with a large cast of characters and a diverse set of locales. His social criticism is on elegant display and brings some dry humor to the story. The characters would be hard to keep straight were it not for the incredible narrative powers of Juliet Stevenson. Each and every one has a distinctive voice and she is unerring in her performance of them all. I would listen to her read a phone book, she is that good. I loved every minute of this long and engaging book.

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  • hlee82
  • 01-03-20

Incredibile story performed by incredible Juliet Stevenson

I dare say Little Dorrit the best Charles Dickens. There is nothing better than Charles Dickens performed by Juliet Stevenson. Particularly her portrait of Flora is to die for. I shall listen to everything performed by her.

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  • Steve M
  • 24-02-20

A Great Novel, A Great Narrator

This is one of Dickens's great novels. As usual, Juliet Stevenson gives an utterly flawless reading. It's impossible to think of anything she could have done better. There are scenes and characters you will never forget. HIGHLY recommended.

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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.

2 people found this helpful