Books

Book Review: ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens

It's a wildly entertaining journey of pride and fall, laced with the sort of surprises and cliff-hangers that kept Dickens' readers glued for the next weekly instalment.
Great Expectations

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Vintage Classics, $12.95

No-one worked a character like Dickens, and this 1861 novel is like a greatest hits collection — eternal spinster Miss Havisham, Magwitch the kindly convict, and at the heart of it all, our narrator, young orphan Pip.

Growing up in the wild marshes of Kent, Pip dreams of becoming a gentleman and his great (if unlikely) expectations are fulfilled when, out of the blue, a mysterious benefactor deeds him a fortune.

He abandons his humble but true friends and moves to the high life in the glittering capital of London — though in the process, Pip loses his essential self, and must double back to find it.

It’s a wildly entertaining journey of pride and fall, laced with the sort of surprises and cliff-hangers that kept Dickens’ readers glued for the next weekly instalment.

You’ll be hearing lots about the great man this year, marking the 200th anniversary of his birth; reading — or possibly, re-reading — this book will help put you in the mood for the Dickens party.

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