The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is closely modelled on the eighteenth-century novels that Charles Dickens loved as a child, such as Robinson Crusoe, in which the fortunes of a hero shape the plot. The likeable young Nicholas, left penniless on the death of his father, sets off in search of better prospects. His meandering route to happiness includes work as a teacher at Dotheboys Hall, where the brutal Wackford Squeers ill-treats his impoverished pupils, and a spell as an actor with the absurdly melodramatic Crummles troupe.
Nicholas's many adventures give Dickens the freedom to follow the eccentricities of a vivid gallery of characters, exploring themes of class, love, and self-awareness with exuberant comedy and biting satire.
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by Charles Dickens
"Anton Lesser is a one-man theater troupe composed of excellent actors. Dickens was a novelist par excellence. And Perry Keenlyside is a sensitive abridger. Between them, they've created a terrific listening experience. This abridgment of one of Dickens's longer and best-loved works is long enough to feel commodious and short enough to keep one listening. It's also seamless. All the plot points and major characters, from noble Nicholas Nickleby to odious Mr. Squeers, are here. Speaking of characters, Anton Lesser voices them so well that it can be unnerving. Surely, one thinks, that decorous female is read by a different actor than the drawling male aristocrat, but it's all Lesser. And he links the dialogue with interesting, well-paced narration. In between sections, a fine selection of classical quartets. Do listen. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine"
"As is typical of Charles Dickens, NICHOLAS NICKLEBY contains a myriad of characters, and as is typical of Simon Vance, he skillfully handles each one. In an epic listen, Vance's smooth, pleasant voice regales listeners with the title character's search for his place in the world after the death of his father. Capturing the essence of characters ranging from noblemen to country folk, the seasoned narrator appropriately injects his voice with smugness, innocence, and everything in between. The pacing is perfect--Vance rapidly delivers Mrs. Nickleby's comedic ramblings and slows his speech to a crawl when portraying the simple Smike. His female voices are particularly noteworthy, sounding soft and natural. Like the novel itself, Vance delivers a performance that is both poignant and humorous. M.D. 2012 Audies Winner (c) AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine"
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