Curator Reviews

Suzanne Vega

The thinly veiled autobiography of Charles Dickens himself. Having grown up with a stepfather, I liked reading about another child who had one as well. I loved the English nature of the story — the time and place it inhabits. Another story of a child making his way in the world. I sense a theme here. I like this better than “Oliver Twist” because the storytelling is more restrained, and more believable.

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Frank Rich

Poverty and emotional hardship made palpable and gripping, yet by some miracle veined with comedy.

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John Irving

As for Dickens - well, yes, Great Expectations is his best novel. But, for sheer drama, nothing tops the "Tempest" chapter in David Copperfield - Steerforth's body washing ashore, and Copperfield saying "I saw him lying with his head upon his arm, as I had often seen him lie at school".

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Nigella Lawson

This may not just be my favorite Dickens novel, but my favorite novel period. I read it regularly, and every time is an undimmed pleasure. More, every time it feels fresh. That is the mark of greatness. Although the comic characterization is as juicy as ever, and it’s impossible to read without laughing out loud, Dickens here gives the fullest expression—through the hero who tellingly bears, if back to front, his initials—of horror at the heartbreak, savagery and injustice of the world. It is the ultimate bildungsroman and the truest story of how a person comes to be. Not for nothing was it Freud’s favorite novel.

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