As the interminable case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce grinds its way through the Court of Chancery, it draws together a disparate group of people: Ada and Richard Clare, whose inheritance is gradually being devoured by legal costs; Esther Summerson, a ward of court, whose parentage is a source of deepening mystery; the menacing lawyer Tulkinghorn; the determined sleuth Inspector Bucket; and, even Jo, the destitute little crossing-sweeper. A savage, but often comic, indictment of a society that is rotten to the core, "Bleak House" is one of Dickens' most ambitious novels, with a range that extends from the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to the poorest of London slums. ”
"...its being ground to bits in a slow mill; it's being roasted by a slow fire, it's being stung to death by single bees; it's being drowned by drops, it's going mad by grains."”
“Nook and Kindle”SueWise wrote this review Thursday, September 22, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Liked this one”Scott B wrote this review Thursday, July 14, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Different to other Dickens' I've read. I think the first difference I noted was that it is not narrated by a young boy, ususally Dickens' favourite method. A great deal of it is narrated by a young woman, but there are also parts of the story told by a narrator outside of the story, something I enjoyed reading Dickens do for the first time.
All his usual satire of society is here, he seems to have been working up to putting nearly all of his favourite topics of satiire into this large book. His main focus is the ridiculousness of the law courts and the process of justice, but old favourites are still here: class hierarchy, mistakes of youth etc.
Dickensain charactes are also out in force and not to be msised.”
“I love Dickens but I just couldn't seem to get into this book. ”Zombie Kitten wrote this review Friday, June 10, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Over 800 pages perhaps but worth every single word.”Sarah Ingrams wrote this review Friday, May 27, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I had a great love for Dickens in high school and decided to give Bleak House a go to see if it was a teenage crush or if Dickens was an author with lasting merit. While Dickens is verbose and is overly fond of lengthy descriptive passages, his books deserve their high esteem. He is wonderful at developing entertaining, quirky characters that the reader will remember long after and at examining important life themes as love, loyalty, and youthful mistakes.
In Bleak House we follow the stories of Esther Summerson, an orphan and main character who tells the story and two young cousins Richard and Ada who live with their guardian John Verdage at Bleak House. They have been awarded his guardianship and their lives all put on suspension through the court case Jarndyce and Jarndyce which is in the chancery to settle an estate. The case has been going on for years with no end in sight.
Esther is truly a Dickensian heroine with her obscure heritage, strength of character, gifts of kindness and loyalty and her ability to remain ever optimistic. While she loves deeply those around her, Ester also is analytical and is able to see their weakness and thus give sage advice and allow the reader to see other characters as they are.
This is a complex story with many twists and turns and interrelationships between the lengthy cast of characters which inhabit the book. We see disease, poverty, spousal abuse, jealousy, charity, murder and deceit along the lengthy path through the book. In the end, it was a truly satisfying journey although wearying.”
“This novel has so much to offer. The political satire and the distinctive characters had me laughing. The tragic scenes made an impression. Dickens was able to make the characters and scenery come alive on so many dimensions. The novel is also quite relative 100+ years after being written. ”Michele F wrote this review Wednesday, April 20, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“How can you review Dickens? To do so would be an injustice.
Charles Dickens, our very famous 19th century author, who has been read and re-read over such a long period of time. I read my first Dickens at school, David Copperfield followed by Nicholas Nickleby, and boy did I find him boring! After all, I was not long in high school and the old fashioned writing was not the easiest to decipher. That is the complaint about Dickens, the detail, the intricacy of plot and the language in terms of which character he is writing. It has taken me into my adulthood just to realise how clever Charles Dickens was as an author. His own upbringing was a difficult one, he was sent to work at the age of 12 years, while his father served time in the debtors prison, he was not exactly privileged. It is with this knowledge that Dickens is able to write so clearly and descriptively about poor London.
I watched Bleak House on television and had a little advantage before reading the book of understanding the story. Bleak House the book is quite a tome! This is my third Dickens in recent years and I have to say I found Great Expectations easier to read. It was quite difficult to get into Bleak House with all the different characters, especially in the first half of the book. Where do they fit in? What have they got in common? However, it all knits together very nicely in the end. The names Dickens gives to his characters are absolutely brilliant and this is where you find his humour. Who else would name his parliamentary candidates Coodle and Doodle, even though they are not particularly relevant to the plot. Mr Turveydrop and his son Prince and their characterisations, Mr Guppy, Peepy Jellyby etc. The names are particularly well suited and I found I could picture these characters quite clearly. It took me a good three weeks to finish this novel but I was reading other books at the same time. However, I don't think I could have read it from cover to cover without other lighter fayre to keep me going. ”