JRo, September 4, 2011 (view all comments by JRo)
Yes, "bleak" is in the title, and yes, you may associate Dickens with high school English, and yes, it's a long-haul read. Try it out anyhow. You'll find a murder mystery, portraits of addiction, a first-person narrative woven together with an omniscient third, charming and chilling eccentrics, and--lest I forget--spontaneous combustion. Dickens's first readers received his novels serially. Try setting the book aside for a few weeks between sections to heighten your anticipation.
Kristen M, May 26, 2010 (view all comments by Kristen M)
If any book title seemed designed to detract readers from approaching a book, I believe it would have to be Bleak House. However, it turns out that Bleak House has some amazing characters, a mysterious plot and relatively little of Dickens' legendary long and tedious descriptions.
The first two chapters of this book are difficult to get through but you become completely engaged in the story in the third chapter when Esther begins her narration. As in all other Dickens stories, we receive his social commentary, discover kindness and dignity among the lower classes and shamefully bad behaviour by some who could afford to act better. I'm glad that I finally read this novel and would suggest it to anyone who enjoys Dickens and has a couple of weeks of free reading time.
Modern Library -
Dickens's most complex novel, mixing romance, mystery, comedy, and satire. In brilliant detail, Bleak House limns the suffering caused by the inefficiency of the law. Taken from the 1853 single-volume Bradbury and Evans edition, this edition includes newly commisioned notes and thirty-nine illustrations by H. K. Browne.
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