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on 7 August 2002
What can you say? Dickens writes brilliantly.
This entertaining saga follows the handsome eponymous hero through the slings and arrows that follow him into adulthood.
All I had heard about before was Wackford Squeers and Dotheboys Hall, but that is mostly over by the end of the first quarter.
As usual, the plot is a bit pointless but the characters are fantastic, and I thought the cameo role for the villain Mulberry Hawk led to some of the best bits of writing in the book, in particular the description of a drunken argument that leads to a duel. Dickens is such a good writer that he can toss off sensational bits of writing like this on bits of the plot that are far from crucial. His talent just can't be contained.
This, though, is the ignore the main part of the drama as Nickleby fights to overcome the injustices that assail his family. The book certainly has some powerful moments, as well as genuinely funny comic interludes.
Of the characters, Smike is the most tragically drawn and perhaps the most famous: I am not sure that authors today would treat mental impairment the same way, but that is perhaps a failure of today's readers and writers.
I suppose I don't think this novel has the depth of later work like "David Copperfield", which covers similar material, but it is still leagues ahead of most things you will read.
Thoroughly enjoyable and full of humanity.
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on 7 May 2017
A huge 880 page eventful book of the, as most Dickens written, serialised story of a young man maturing in 1840s England. Basically at 19 proud, fiery, well mannered Nicholas loses his father, and comes under the ‘protection’ of his baddy uncle Ralph. This miserly, scheming business man has Nicholas sent to Yorkshire as a tutor working for the equally bad headmaster Squeers, who runs a dirty Olivereque school; while Nicholas’s mother and pretty sister Kate are installed in a poor flat and need to seek work. Nicholas befriends poor Smike a bullied pupil and after a bust-up both runaway back to London and initially join a travelling theatre. Ralph, grows to hate Nicholas and family more and more, and plots to make money from Kate’s eligibility. There are over 20 main characters along the way creating a classic Dickensian narrative leading to, perhaps for some might be but fortunately not for me, predictable ‘reveal’ and dramatic, tragic conclusion.

I found the characters in many cases well rounded and enjoyable, indeed I’d say I found many more deep and engaging than, somewhat saccharin Nicholas himself (I’m think Ralph, Newman Noggs and John Browdie). The occasionally funny Dickensian turn of phrase equally entertaining. I’d recommend getting a version with a character list and the original illustrations. It is a very, very long book, which although written in bite sized chapters, I think requires that the reader keeps to a sustained reading pace otherwise risking it becoming, even for me in places, lacking drive and focus. For me one for the better Dickens, helped by me not actually knowing the, usefully uncomplicated story at all.
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on 11 January 2017
Nicholas Nickleby is an amazing story but beware if you are buying the Vintage paperback edition of this novel. I have just returned mine to Amazon. Shocking quality - pages rough and either badly guillotined or not even cut at all. Now I have chosen a different publisher as I presume Amazone's batch will all be int he same state and have to wit again for my new copy. Where is Amazon and Random House's quality control?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1904633846/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0 - buy this edition - The collectors Library. It cost 4pence more with postage and is a beautifullittle copyNicholas Nickleby (Collector's Library)
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on 15 February 2014
I just love Dickens! There is so much of human life in his novels which has not dated over the decades since he laid down his pen. Quill? The same problems face us today as in the 19th. century because we are living, sentient beings with the same loves, detestations, ambitions, loyalties, etc. Reading a novel by Dickens is a rewarding but not always an easy experience, though it is comforting to have a tolerably 'happy' ending. I cannot help feeling a spark of compassion for the uncle, Ralph Nickleby, though he is one of the villains, and Squeers gets what he deserves.One of the saddest episodes is when the boys are released from their prison-like school to freedom but as some of them have nowhere to go they end up destitute and, in some cases, die from cold and malnutrition. Nicholas himself matures over the period covered by the novel from niaive young man who is forced to make personal sacrifices to one who is well-grounded and very likeable. He is everything that his uncle hated in his own younger brother and loathes poor Nicholas on sight. Mrs. Nicholby - well, we have all met women like Mrs. N. One of my favourite extracts would have to be when Nicholas goes for a job interview for an MP's secretary - nothing changes! This has obviously been written by Dickens to get across his point about the hypocrisy of politicians as the character only appears on this one occasion to demonstrate how poorly they represent the ordinary man in the street. Yes, a very long book but I could hardly put it down even though I have read it many years ago. Which Dickens shall I read next?
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on 26 February 2015
This is an excellent book. The story is interesting; all the characters are good — some are brilliant. What I found particularly outstanding in this book, is Dickens style of writing which is even better than usual. This book shows Dickens to be without equal regarding his observation and understanding of the human race.
This book contributes greatly towards the claim that Charles Dickens is the best author of all time. Well worth reading.
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on 4 March 2013
This is one of my favourite Dickens books and I have read it and seen it in various formats over the years. I have several other audiobooks narrated by Anton Lesser and for me his is the best in his field. He has a tremendous ability to capture the atmosphere of a story with a range of voices that I have not encountered with other readers and the pace of his readng is spot on.

I also felt the price offered through Naxos Direct was very good for such a work.
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on 11 March 2016
I was stunned when this arrived. It is in pristine, new, condition, and was packaged so well too. It is a beautiful edition. I am yet to read it. Haven't read it for decades, but looking forward to it. I know it was one of my favourites by Dickens.
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on 30 November 2012
I ordered this book for my mother who is loosing her sight because of an auto-immune system disease. She doesn't need super large text, so 16 pt seemed perfect. Everything on the Amazon website (as well as the invoice when the books came) seemed to suggest that this was a two volume set. When the package arrived at my parent's house, we discovered that this is actually a three volume set! I had only ordered volumes one and two, so was fairly annoyed, but thought I'd just order the third in the set on the Amazon website. Turns out that the third volume isn't available (not just out of stock, but not on Amazon's website at all!). There's no point at all in having 2/3rds of a book! I was forced to return the two books I'd ordered (or rather get my father to do this remotely for me).
At £22.49 each - that's £67.47 for three volumes (if they had them) I find this price extortionate and exploitative of people who cannot see perfectly well. I'll order another set from a supplier who actually has the whole book available.
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on 15 March 2015
I started reading Dickens a few years ago having not read any in my younger years and was immediately hooked. I hadn't realised that he was so humorous, ironic and campaigning in all his books. His disdain of all figures of authority is apparent everywhere and his shock at the conditions endured by the poor of the times is expressed most clearly. I have now read a dozen or so of his novels and would urge those who are daunted by the length of some to make the effort. The rewards are immeasurable. I started with Hard Times, his shortest novel, and suggest this as a good introduction.
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on 24 August 2013
Most know the story perhaps by a t.v performance or by film, however , neither of those medium are as enthralling as the printed word.
A bit over chatty in some places as many authors were paid by columns of print or by total number of words and serialized in publications of the day
The title character of Nicholas , is a wonderful hero and the antagonists , Ralph Nickleby and the rotten Mr Squeers and family are thoroughly despicable.
Well worth the read , and certainly worth reading to your children!
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