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Charles Dickens: A Life
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About the Author

CLAIRE TOMALIN worked in publishing and journalism for many years. She was literary editor first of the New Statesman and then the Sunday Times, before devoting herself to writing full time. She is the author of eight highly acclaimed biographies including Thomas Hardy, The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens, and Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, which was the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year. She lives in England with her husband, Michael Frayn.

Reviews

"As Claire Tomalin demonstrates in her vivid and moving new biography, Dickens's own life was rich in the attributes we call "Dickensian" -- shameless melodrama, gargantuan appetites, reversals of fortune... To encompass this frenzy, Tomalin keeps the story racing. She brings Dickens to life in all his maddening contradictions... Dickens walks off the page, and the pace never flags. Tomalin accomplishes this resurrection in a mere 417 pages of text, supplemented by dozens of illustrations, several maps of Dickens's London and a helpful dramatis personae... if you plan to read only one biography of the most popular Victorian writer, it should be this one."
--THE WASHINGTON POST

"Enormously ambitious... admirable... warmly sympathetic and often eloquent."

--Joyce Carol Oates, THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOK "Clear-eyed, sympathetic and scholarly, she spreads the whole canvas, alive with incident and detail, with places and people. She writes of publishers, illustrators, collaborators and all Dickens's intersecting circles of friends and family. It is wonderfully done."
--THE ECONOMIST "[A] splendid history... Tomalin skillfully presents the chief trauma of Dickens' young life -- being sent to work in a factory at age 12, after his father was imprisoned for debt -- and suggests the ways it left a lasting mark, from his sympathy for the working class to his towering ambition and herculean work ethic."
--SEATTLE TIMES "[O]nward-driving, hypnotically vivid... the result of Claire Tomalin's unrivalled talent for telling a story and keeping a reader enthralled: long as the book is, I wanted more."
--THE GUARDIAN (UK)

Tomalin's sprawling biography of one of history's most revered literary figures-with its dizzying cast of characters and mixture of literary criticism, detailed historical record keeping, psychological insight, and human drama-would present a challenge to any audiobook narrator. Thankfully Alex Jennings is more than up to the task, successfully rendering the complicated inner struggles that shaped the temperament and life of Charles Dickens. Jennings also provides spot-on dialects and accents, particularly in sections of the book that detail Dickens's travels to the United States and dealings with his American contemporaries. Keeping pace with this audio edition requires active listening, but Jennings's narration is more than rewarding. A Penguin hardcover. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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