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Bleak Expectations [Hardcover]

Mark Evans
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 11.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Nov 2012
Bleak Expectations' recounts the remarkable adventures of young Pip Bin as he tries to repair his destroyed family and distinctly damaged life, aided by his best friend Harry Biscuit and definitely not aided by his cruel and ironically named guardian Mr Gently Benevolent and his accomplices, the fearsome Hardthrasher siblings. Grim circumstances, mistaken identities, unlikely inheritances,nightmarish court cases, ridiculous names, convenient coincidences to resolve plot problems, over-sentimental death scenes and lots and lots of adjectives: 'Bleak Expectations' is the novel Charles Dickens might have written after drinking far too much gin. Praise for the Radio 4 series: 'Mark Evans writes one of the wittiest, most ingenious scripts on the air, a Dickensian pastiche with a slight Rocky Horror Show echo.' Daily Telegraph. 'A freshly minted comedy classic.' Guardian. '...inspired lunacy.' The Times

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Corsair (15 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472103408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472103406
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 14.8 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 296,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The funniest book since the one I haven't written yet. Mark Evans sets the bar annoyingly high. --Robert Webb

If ever a show deserved a handsome Christmas hardback it is Bleak Expectations. The comedy itself (Radio 4) is a brilliant Dickens pastiche by Mark Evans, a mash-up of plots and characters that is scholarly,irreverent, affectionate and topical all at once. On radio it is perfectly cast and directed (Mark Evans again). On the page it has utterly wonderful footnotes, too. --Daily Telegraph

Book Description

A fantastically funny and inventive novelisation of the hit Radio 4 comedy series. 'The funniest book since the one I haven't written yet. Mark Evans sets the bar annoyingly high.' Robert Webb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly as funny as it gets! 22 Nov 2012
Okay, I'm going to push the boat out here and start off by saying that this book is as far as I'm concerned truly as funny as it gets. It comes off the back of a brilliant radio show which has already aired with the same name for several series on BBC Radio 4 and a BBC TV show `The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff' which starred among many others Stephen Fry, Robert Webb and David Mitchell. Now, the radio and TV shows were top notch (and shame on the BBC for not re-commissioning Bleak Old Shop), but it is in writing his first novel that Mark Evans truly comes into his own. This follows the same themes as the radio series - a spoof Dickensian comedy if you will. But it is goes much further and gives the writer full rein for his comedy genius (and I don't use the word lightly). It's beautifully written and truly laugh out loud funny. From the first page right through to the hilarious Appendix it'll have you not only turning the pages but having to make a list of the people you want to give it to for Christmas. As you've probably gathered by now, I can't recommend this book more highly. Destined to become a classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars High expectations but very bleak reality 13 Jan 2013
By xxx
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Adore Bleak Expectations on Radio 4, have bought audio books of series 1-5
Didn't like old shop of stuff on the telly box, not as funny, thought this was because i am not fan of Mitchell and Webb.
Can not believe this book is by same writer as radio scripts; it has the feeling of class 4b being let loose on a wet Wednesday afternoon with instructions to write an amusing parody of Dickens, with predictable over cooked results.
Tried to hard 4/10

Please mr Evans, stick to the R4 scripts as somehow Bleak Expectations doesn't seem to work in any other format, maybe it is the excellent R4 cast who carry the show, I don't know, but this book was actually embarrassing to read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Christmas Present 21 Dec 2012
By SpikeR
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you're a fan of the radio series, as I and most of my family are, then this is the perfect Christmas present. I have got it for my mother and I wouldn't be at all surprised if she's bought it for me as well. It's got all the brilliant jokes of the radio show, plus lots of brilliant book parody stuff as well. Footnotes and the like. It's brilliantly funny even if you don't know the radio show. Buy it for anyone with even half a sense of humour. Top stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Or, Oliver Copperfield 20 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For those who've enjoyed this BBC R4 Dickens parody, here it is - and more - in print.

It seems to me that Dickens' success as a public reader of his own works is evidence that he wrote as much to be heard as to be read: hence the excellent screen and radio adaptations; likewise, this radio piece succeeds as an adaptation into novel form.

The parody is mordant, but affectionate: a deep love (and knowledge) of the originals shines from every page.

More important, it's very funny. I enjoyed it; I think you will, too.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Splendid 3 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Be warned that if you buy this and read it in public you will find yourself reading extracts aloud to friends and possibly passers-by as well. I was surprised to discover that there are two "r"s in the word "harrumble". This changes everything.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny novelisation of the radio series 23 Nov 2012
By Caleb
Fans of the radio show will not be disappointed with Mark Evans's first novel, and anyone not familiar with the radio show will certainly enjoy this book for its humour.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Continuing the story from the radio series 12 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you like the Radio 4 series of the same name you will love this. The best pastiche of Dickens ever. I found it hilarious and I defy anyone to not start adopting the narrators voice when reading it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great escapism... 19 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you like the slightly surreal and typical Brit humour of the "classical" type (not the silly current "Dumb Britain" humour that seems to prevail), eg venerable Python, Black Adder, Yes PM, and the books of Doug Adams, Chris Wood etc., ...and enjoyed the radio series, the book is - I feel - much better and more comprehensive, with hilarious footnotes and a writing style that pops out of the page at the reader. It does not - contrary to my fears - seem tedious after a few pages. The chuckles continue and makes for a great read!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Bleak Expectations
Truly appalling read. Don't bother unless you have a desire to read trash written by an egotistical writer with an excessive inclination toward Wikipedia, encyclopedia, and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mrs T J Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I though this book was very funny and eerily similar to the radio show. I enjoyed it wholeheartedly and think others will do too
Published 7 months ago by Wallis
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok-ish
As a big Dickens aficionado I have no objection to send-ups of the master's work and style, but I am sorry to say, this one didn't work for me. Read more
Published 8 months ago by deadly pun
4.0 out of 5 stars Dickens mash_up
Comic book presents meets Dickens meets Monty Python meets Ripping Yarns. A good read if a little bizarre very funny
Published 9 months ago by Jinty
1.0 out of 5 stars Dashed Expectations
I had high hopes for this,but unfortunately it was about as funny as a burning orphanage.
The "humour" is really forced and puerile. Read more
Published 12 months ago by JONESY
4.0 out of 5 stars Great humour
I really enjoyed this book, with its quirky humour and great use of footnotes! Am only sorry that I didn't get to hear the radio series. Read more
Published 14 months ago by J. Bubeck
3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly amusing like a cat with a balloon tied to it's tail
Has a number of amusing set pieces but ultimately gets very boring. Like being shouted at by students quoting Monty Python sketches.
Published 14 months ago by Manchild by proxy
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny
Based on a tremendous BBC Radio 4 comedy series this book comes to life a little more if you have the characters radio voices in mind. Best bit: the footnotes. And the Appendix. Read more
Published 15 months ago by D. C. Harold
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but...
This book is funny, but it is simply a pale imitation of it's radio incarnation. All readers should seek it out and settle down for epic laughs.
Published 15 months ago by Peter
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like the radio series you'll love the book

What more can I say?

Much as the radio series has before, the book had me chortling along with the occasional digs in the ribs as someone was... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Paul Harris
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