I was quite simply dazzled by this book and zoomed my way through it in a few days. I wanted more, even after this race through its nearly 900 pages, taken in by the breathtaking scope not only to be found in the diversity and credibilty of even the most eccentric characterisations, such as Wegg or Podsnap, something only to be expected from Dickens, but by the moral flux of so many situations and in the thoughts of the likes of Mrs. Lammle or Bella Wilfer. The cruel satire encarnated in the figure Mrs. Wilfer alone had me laughing out loud and the Society scenes around the Veneering's table are so marvellously observed that they had me wondering how on earth Dickens could have had a friend left in Victorian 'polite society'! Brilliant. The river-shore scenes are amongst the most wonderfully atmospheric I've come across in his work: one wonders again what manner of 'field work' Dickens did to to depict this strangely amphibious half-world and it's population. The tone of the prose, too, was in marked contrast to the only very slightly earlier Great Expectations; greater in breadth of style and scale, with far sharper social criticism and biting humour. In fact, it's the humour, and its very darkness, which I felt most stood out in this tour-de-force. Yes, it's a whopping great book: yes it might take you time to get through, and yes again, the very wealth of its style, the range of personalities, settings, motives and dilemas will inevitably mean that one's attention becomes selective. Yet this only means the challenge is greater and, for this reader anyway, the rewards higher. I really loved it, and would encouarge anyone who's enjoyed a Dickens to have a bash.