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Widely considered one of Dickens most superb and complete novels, "Bleak House" has a complex plot that contains one of his most elaborate attacks on a flaw of society: the chancery system. The kind John Jarndyce is tied up in litigation that only his wards Richard and Ada care to discuss. He then becomes guardian of Esther, an orphaned young woman who comprises a part of the experimental narration of the novel. A series of events take the vast array of comic and tragic characters from the slums of London to the mansions of noblemen, involving some in treachery and others in discovery. Dickens blends the perfect balance of comedy and social satire in a story that contains mystery, tragedy, murder, redemption, and enduring love.
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Bleak House is such a natural for audio that it comes as no surprise to read in Peter Ackroyd's biography of Dickens that he himself read it aloud to Wilkie Collins and his own family. No matter how good he was as a readerÄand he did go on to present public readings regularly after thisÄDickens could not have performed better than Robert Whitfield does here. With a motley cast of characters to challenge the skill of any narrator, his brilliant dramatizations range from a homeless street urchin to an arrogant barrister, from a canny old windbag to a high-minded heroine who deserves the happy ending Dickens affords her. Whitfield is also as persuasive as the indignant voice of the author himself, attacking both the injustice of the law and the cruel indifference of society. This may be one of the most Dickensian novels Dickens ever wrote. Highly recommended.ÄJo Carr, Sarasota, FL Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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