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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't doubt Dombey
I must disagree with comments made previously here about this being a dull book, for I found it enthralling and perfectly of its time. As has been said, the book is not so much about a man named Dombey and his son as it is about his daughter and her step-mother. The plot is quintessentially Dickensian. He is relentless in never letting relief come for more than a...
Published on 21 May 2008 by E Spicer

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not well proof read/converted
My issue is not with Dickens or the story (who could take issue with Dickens!!) This version has not been well proof read. Because Dickens is quite hard work to read at the best of times, I could do without having to try to work out what the typos(and it's full of them) are meant to say.
Published 14 months ago by HM Stevens


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't doubt Dombey, 21 May 2008
I must disagree with comments made previously here about this being a dull book, for I found it enthralling and perfectly of its time. As has been said, the book is not so much about a man named Dombey and his son as it is about his daughter and her step-mother. The plot is quintessentially Dickensian. He is relentless in never letting relief come for more than a moment, and it is thrilling. His characters are never less than intriguing--from the small and waning Dombey clan to minor characters named wonderful things like Captain Cuttle, Miss Tox, Mr. Toots, and Mrs. Nipper. Within the tragic circumstances of a loveless but wealthy family, Dickens injects comical moments in which social climbers or other irritating company invade Dombey's inner sanctum. The emotional core consists not only of one's sympathy for Florence and Edith, but for the awful state of Paul Dombey, cold-man extraordinaire. It's just under 1,000 pages, and while I agree somewhat with the other reviewers in finding the first 100 or so not the most fluid of Dickens' prose, I was drawn in by practically every last page.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!, 10 Jun 2011
By 
Didier (Ghent, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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Before I began reading Dickens in earnest (scarcely half a year ago I confess), I would have been hard pressed even to name 'Dombey and Son' as one of his novels. I am very content to be cured of my ignorance in that respect, because of all Dickens' novels that I have read so far (which is, as I'm reading them chronologically, The Pickwick Papers (Oxford World's Classics), Oliver Twist (Oxford World's Classics), Nicholas Nickleby (Oxford World's Classics), The Old Curiosity Shop (Oxford World's Classics), Barnaby Rudge (Oxford World's Classics) and Martin Chuzzlewit (Oxford World's Classics)), this is my personal favorite.

The reasons why are manifold. First of all, the theme of the book (a child neglected and unloved by his sole remaining parent) must surely strike a chord with anyone. We've all been children, and can recollect in hindsight that one of the most basic drives of any child is to be liked and feel loved by its parents. That such is not the case for Florence Dombey made me feel truly sorry for her and identify with her feelings all the more readily. True enough, perhaps she's a bit 'too good to be true' (after years of neglect, who would still love his father unconditionally as she does?) but Dickens paints her so lifelike that I never felt bothered by this.

Secondly, perhaps more so than in any other book I've read so far, Dickens demonstrates in 'Dombey and Son' his unequalled capacity to mix different moods: there's both heartfelt sorrow and true happiness, bitter hatred (between Paul Dombey and his second wife for instance) as well as hilarious humour. The humour there is comes primarily from some truly unforgettable characters: Captain Cuttle is a source of constant delight throughout the book, but so are Susan Nipper, Mr. Toots, Mrs. Skewton and Major Bagstock. To turn to the less cheerful characters, Paul Dombey is a masterful study of a man completely dominated by the demands of his time on how to behave, a man also with powerful feelings but unable to express them. His second wife Edith is probably one the most powerful female character Dickens ever portrayed.

Looking back upon the book now, I realize that a large part of its attraction lies in the happy ending 'against all odds', and one could surely argue that in real life this is not always the case. Probably not, but is it, then, better to read 'realistic' books all the better to learn to cope with life, or is it okay to read books with happy endings to lighten the burden of real life? I tend to be of the latter conviction, and therefore cannot but say that I immensely enjoyed this book, and will definitely reread it at some future point in time!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underappreciated, 30 Oct 2008
This review is from: Dombey and Son (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Of the 14 novels Dickens completed in his lifetime, Dombey and Son is undoubtedly one of the least known; only Barnaby Rudge provides serious competition in this regard, it appears to me. It was popular with audiences of Dickens' own day, though. It was published in monthly instalments in 1846-1848, when Dickens popularity was very great, immediately following the success of the earlier Christmas books, including "A Christmas Carol".

Dombey and Son is more tightly plotted than its predecessors, for that reason it is often considered to mark the beginning of "late" Dickens, where thematic concerns became paramount. The Dombey of the title is a man of business, a very successful one, and the father of two children. One is a daughter, who is irrelevant to the business of Dombey and Son and thus irrelevant to Mr. Dombey, and the other is a son, Little Paul, who is expected to give material existence to the "Son" specified in the name of Mr. Dombey's business. However, Little Paul proves to be less of a chip off the old block than might have been hoped for, and baffles his father exceedingly when he asks him "What is money?" and follows his father's reply with "Yes, but what does it do?".

Further characters include the malevolent Mr. Carker, a consummate hypocrite who also displays some of the threatening sexuality of later Dickens characters like Bradley Headstone and John Jasper; Edith, a prototype for Lady Dedlock, and equally exaggerated; and Mr. Toots, who is madly, hopelessly and hilariously in love with Dombey's daughter Florence("'sof no consequence").
Ultimately, this book becomes more about Dombey's relationship with his daughter, whom he has continually neglected and spurned. Predictably for Dickens, Florence is of an improbably passive and meek disposition, literally unable to think badly of others, and quick to assume the blame in any given situation. Her insistence on blaming herself for her father's ill-treatment of her seems to me somewhat pathological but Dickens presents it merely as proof of her good nature.
This novel has most of the flaws and also the virtues that are typical of Dickens. It is not his best book, but the greater degree of planning that went into it compared to earlier novels means it never loses interest throughout the 800-odd pages. Those familiar with Dickens will be able to forgive the frequent sentimentalism and will enjoy the humour and pathos of the better passages. Dombey and Son is not the first Dickens book anyone should read, but it is a solid addition to his canon nonetheless.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unsung masterpiece - the least "Dickensian" of his novels, 18 May 2013
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dombey and Son (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
I was disappointed and not a little scandalised to read derogatory, patronising and even scathing reviews of this most tender, subtle and profound of Dickens' middle-period novels. It is apparent to me that some reviewers lack the emotional hinterland to appreciate its burden and bring so much of their own subjective bias to bear upon their critical verdict that they miss the point: this is a novel no more about "gender issues" than any other which presents the relationships between human beings in a particular historical, social or geographical context. At the heart of the book lies the "English disease": the emotional constipation so ably diagnosed by Dr Dickens and whose effects are so vividly depicted: it delineates the mercantile pride so proleptic of the problems of our own age and its consequences for the health of the human soul.

In an age replete with the manifestations of the "sentimental barbarism" which typifies popular entertainment, it is endlessly ironic to read reviews which assume the default position of accusing Dickens of sentimentality in his portrayal of Florence - another of those saintly heroines so easily sneered at - and his manipulation of the plot to provide a satisfying conclusion in order to balance the tragedy ensuing from Dombey's hubris. Yet the haughty Dombey and Carker - he of the "white teeth" - are wholly representative of the type who so blithely engineered our own recent financal crisis, while their callous abuse of others' feeling and selfish disregard for the value of familial love must resonate with the modern reader conscious of their corrosive consequences.

Florence is a child, then a woman, desperate for her distant father's love and approval; his shallow rill of feeling is choked by his pride and only unblocked once he has been brought low. The moving ending does indeed court sentimentality, but we deserve some respite after 800 pages and mawkishness is eschewed if one contextualises it by recalling the awful moment at the end of the chapter "The Thunderbolt" where Dombey strikes his daughter to the floor.

Despite least resembling the caricature which passes as typical of Dickens' style, the novel is replete with those touches we associate with a master writer: the detail of Florence's transference of affection to Diogenes, her faithful hound or the surrreal absurdity of Mrs Skewton's Protestant view of English history: - "I hope you doat on Harry the Eighth!...So bluff!...wasn't he? So burly. So truly English. Such a picture, too, he makes, with his dear little peepy eyes and his benevolent chin!" - yet her death is narrated with such pathos. Or savour the recurring extended image of the sea (such as that which opens Chapter 41, "New Voices in the Waves") to convey Florence's grief and pain.

How anyone can find this work dull is beyond me; it remains one of my favourite Dickens novels.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Often Overlooked, 16 April 2012
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dombey and Son (Kindle Edition)
Personally I have always been a fan of this book, and it is a personal favourite of mine. For some reason this novel is often neglected, probably making it the least read of all of Dickens' completed novels, but there doesn't seem to be a particular reason for this. It isn't as this is the worse book he ever wrote, far from it, but it may be because it is his most 'domestic', and perhaps in some ways not the sort of book you expect from Dickens.

Mr Dombey wishes for a son to continue the business Dombey and Son, as it has been run through the years. He already has a daughter, Florence, who is six when his wife finally gives him a boy. Mr Dombey has his wish at last and everything will continue as normal - or will it? What Mr Dombey wants, and what he gets are two different matters entirely. This is a book of its time, where marriages were arranged, women were meant to be seen and not heard, rather like the children, and Man ruled the world. In his usual way, Dickens questions these practices, making him possibly one of the more socially aware authors of his day, if not the most aware. Whilst tackling the serious matters of the day, he also gives us some absolutely wonderful characters, and some great comedy.

Perhaps more tightly plotted than some of his other works and not cloyingly sentimental (apart from arguably a certain death scene) this is a great book to read. Thackery himself despaired at the famous death scene, crying that he wished he could have written like that. There are slightly more than average typos in this text, but I can't really complain too much, as it doesn't cost, and it means that I don't have to carry around my treebook version with me. Remember, just because it isn't a novel that has been recently produced for tv (the BBC shelved plans for this a few years back), don't be put off, this is well worth reading.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dombey and Daughter?, 23 Sep 2007
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is probably the least filmed Dickens novel, but don't be put off by that. Dickens gave us a book which really showed the nineteenth century attitude to women. Mr Dombey has a daughter but it is the birth of his son that is all he is concerned about, after all it will mean the continuation if his business. This story is a very good read and definitely one of Dickens' best, a must for anyone who loves a good read. Thackery himself despaired over the death scenes and said was there any point in ever writing again. Through deaths Dickens shows us the delicacy of his writing and through remarriage and peoples scrapes he shows us yet again how brilliant he is at comedy. Dickens also shows that he wasn't adverse to Women's Lib in this book, which was written about a decade before such other novels were being regularly written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic reading of a classic work, 13 April 2010
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David Timson's reading of the unabridged 'Dombey and Son' is an absolute delight. He exactly catches the many moods of the novel, where poignancy and melancholy contrast with rich comedy. And he absolutely nails the chill pomposity of Dombey himself. Flawless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fab storyteller, 8 Nov 2012
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Good old Dickens - Dombey and Son is full of typical Dickensian description which in our day and age is so funny but perfectly apt. As Dickens writes one can picture the character or place so easily. Indeed even how the characters address each other can be easily imagined. Deeply moving as to the relationships of the characters one with the other - heart wrenching at times. Fab reading, buy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only 70 pages in so far, 26 Sep 2012
By 
B. Rochester "brochester" (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dombey and Son (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Firstly, I must confess that I have only just got started on this book - 70 pages down, 630 or so to go.
I've read about half of Dickens (Favourite so far - Great Expectations, but will Dombey displace it ?) and thought I'd read something new. I picked Dombey and Son purely because it was the first volume from the left on my "Collected Dickens" shelf that I hadn't yet read.
From the first page I was enthralled and came to this site to read other reviews as I couldn't believe that it had so little reputation.
Try it !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent - of course!, 16 May 2012
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This review is from: Dombey and Son (Kindle Edition)
Well, of course, it's Dickens, it's Dombey and Son, it's a great read, a sorry tale of a man completely out of touch with his emotions. And on Kindle, it's much lighter to carry than my hard copy, and with my middle aged eyes, it's great to be able to alter the print size!
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Dombey and Son (Wordsworth Classics)
Dombey and Son (Wordsworth Classics) by Charles Dickens (Paperback - 5 July 1995)
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