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on 15 February 2001
The Court of Chancery takes the full brunt of Dickens' sharply comic wit as it grinds up human fodder to feed itself. This is still as relevant (maybe more so) today in our obscenely litigious society with its compensation claims and pre-nuptial contracts which make rich pickings for legal vultures. Dickens' characters in Bleak House are, even by his standards, the most memorable, the good the bad and the ugly - each has a significant and symbolic role to play in the absorbing drama and there is a gorgeous mix of pathos and melodrama, humour and despair. Don't be put off by the length of the volume - it never flags and ends too soon. Utterly mesmerising and along with Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend the best of Dicken' darker (final) period.
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on 15 January 2008
The title of this novel intrigued me. It was the second Dickens novel that I read, the first being Great Expectations. This one is a good deal darker. Dickens always was an advocate for the poor and downtrodden but in this novel he takes on all of society's evils: The legal system and social stratification are the most obvious.

There is a veritable parade of wicked characters. The one who drove me nuts was Harold Skimpole. Dickens never says he's a parasite but it is obvious that he is so. It has been suggested that the character's mannerisms and speech were modeled after Dickens' friend Leigh Hunt. If so, it seems doubtful he was trying to say his friend was a leech.

There is a mystery running through this novel but I won't spoil it by telling about it.

The book contains the original illustrations by Phiz: They match the tone of the book. Many of them are dark and shadowy.

One of the complaints that have been made against Dickens is his good characters are 'too good'. I find I miss truly good characters in modern works. Bleak House would be unbearable were it not for the goodness of Mr. Jarndyce and Esther Summerson.

The Collector's Library edition is a beautiful one. Most of the books in the series can fit in your pocket but not this one! It is two and a half inches thick. Still it's a nice portable size and beautifully crafted with a sewn binding, cloth cover, gold page edging and ribbon marker. The blue white paper is pleasing and the binding surprisingly tight for its thickness. It does not loosen with use. This is a book that will last a very long time. Appropriate for a great classic.
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on 22 February 2012
I am delighted with this edition of Bleak House. I have read half of it and have found one typo,(I think). It is a very low price but I highly recommend it as it seems pretty much error-free.
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on 29 December 2009
I continue to be blown away by Naxos' excellent unabridged audiobooks. With a great book, a really good reader is essential, both for the aficionado, and for those coming to the book for the first time; a bad reader will rile those familiar with the book and may put the novice off the author for life. Naxos really do seem (as the previous reviewer notes) to have found first class readers on all the books I have tried so far, and this may even be the best yet. In this reading, even Esther is - just - tolerable, Rick is almost engaging, and the rendition of George has made me even more fond of him than I was from my own reading of the book. Please, please, Naxos - keep them coming!
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Bleak House is perhaps one of Dickens' least well appreciated novels, but having studied it at university, i struggle to understand why. The book is a wonderful journey through 'Dickensian London' with a cast of hundreds of wonderfully described characters. Unlike other sprawling novels of the time, however, Dickens' focus on the plot means that the reader never feels overwhelmed - indeed, Bleak House contains one of the first ever detectives in literary fiction, and the latter stages of the story mean that the book becomes unputdownable.
FOr those who always thought Dickens was dull, give Bleak House a try and i promise you'll change your mind.
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on 9 August 2012
The book is a wonderful example of Dickens at his best, full of the usual rich tapestry of characters and beautifully written, although I'd suggest that this may not be the ideal introduction if you are new to Dickens.
However,the Kindle edition is awful. Almost every page is littered with an irritating matrix where certain characters have not been formatted correctly. There are also instances where chunks of words have been skipped. I have had no such problem with other Dickens books available on the Kindle but I ended up abandoning this version of reverting to my old paper edition.
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on 3 March 2006
This book is a masterpiece. Its full of so many twists and turns. As usual with Dickens' works there is immense understanding of human nature and the inconsistencies of people. This novel is tragic and romantic at the same time. It is difficult to get into, at first, but well worth it. I read it whilst on Maternity Leave.
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on 10 February 2016
I read this book a few years back on paper and was completely enthralled throughout. (The kindle version is just to carry around with me on my travels.) It's Dickens, so be ready for long descriptive sections where he paints a scene without much of anything seeming to happen. But the way he does his descriptive writing! This was, I believe, one of his later works and you really see his mastery of the language coming through. I defy anyone to read the first chapter, set in a Court of Law on a murky autumn day, and not start to experience the lethargy, inertia and coseness of the atmosphere in the room.

If you've seen any of the TV versions (the most recent BBC version was exceptional), you probably know the story - sorry, those spoilers are going to ruin some of the twists and turns of the novel as Dickens presents them. But don't let that put you off. This is a masterpiece, very long but completely worth the effort.
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on 25 October 2015
The three star rating is a compromise between the brilliant passages of prose, and wonderful dialogue on the one hand and the interminable plot and unbelievable Esther on the other. I just couldn't warm to the main character, Esther Summerton as she is one of those angels so ridden with self-sacrifice that you want to shake her. About half of the book is written in the first-person from Esther's point of view. For me, the undoubted highlight of the book was the death of a seedy minor character by spontaneous combustion. The low point was young Esther's engagement to her ageing guardian, which felt squirmingly incestuous and exploitative on his part. It took me a very long time to read (4 months!) and all the other Dickens books I've read (David Copperfield, Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend) were better than this one.
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on 27 February 2013
I downloaded this for a book group and would not otherwise have read it. Many people think it's wonderful ...I was delighted and interested to read Esther’s chapters but was frustrated whenever it went back to the present tense (which I dislike anyway) and the millions of characters with seriously silly names. A friend said that I’d really start enjoying it about 80% through and she was so right. At that point only the relevant people were left and the story came together. “Needs editing,” I was screaming; and if I had more moral fibre maybe I should go through it, for my own satisfaction, with a red pen.

But then there’s the words. There are some glorious paragraphs and I wish I’d noted them. I love it when he gives lists and lists of related things.
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