One of the finest novels in English literature,
This review is from: Bleak House (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
It took me a long while (30 years since I first started reading books in English, if you care to know) before I got around to Dickens. But once I did, there was no stopping me. From The Pickwick Papers (Oxford World's Classics) up to 'Bleak House' I have been reading his novels as he wrote them and enjoying each and every one of them immensely. They all have their different merits, but just when I thought I 'knew' Dickens and could expect only more of the same, 'Bleak House' still took me by surprise and quite bowled me over.
All the classic Dickensian ingredients one has come to expect (the unforgettable (grotesque but entirely believable) characters, the humour, Dickens' concern for the predicament of the lower classes, the immaculate storytelling, to name but a few) are all there, but somehow Dickens brings it all together so forcefully in this novel that to me it's one of his very best, and quite simply one of the best novels I've ever read. There's a real host of characters and lots of story-lines, but Dickens keeps your attention and interest going for the entire 935 pages. Contrary to his earlier novels which were often written from one monthly installment to another, this one was obviously meticulously planned from start to finish before the first word was set to paper.
The picture of English society Dickens paints here may be a very depressing one, but the book itself is a joy to read from cover to cover!