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Our Mutual Friend (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Charles Dickens
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Our Mutual Friend was the last novel Charles Dickens completed and is, arguably, his darkest and most complex. The basic plot is vintage Dickens: an inheritance up for grabs, a murder, a rocky romance or two, plenty of skullduggery, and a host of unforgettable secondary characters. But in this final outing the author's heroes are more flawed, his villains more sympathetic, and the story as a whole more harrowing and less sentimental. The mood is set in the opening scene in which a riverman, Gaffer Hexam, and his daughter Lizzie troll the Thames searching for drowned men whose pockets Gaffer will rifle before turning the body over to the authorities. On this particular night Gaffer finds a corpse that is later identified as that of John Harmon, who was returning from abroad to claim a large fortune when he was apparently murdered and thrown into the river.

Harmon's death is the catalyst for everything else that happens in the novel. It seems the fortune was left to the young man on the condition that he marry a girl he'd never met, Bella Wilfer. His death, however, brings a new heir onto the scene, Nicodemus Boffin, the kind-hearted but low-born assistant to Harmon's father. Boffin and his wife adopt young Bella, who is determined to marry money, and also hire a mysterious young secretary, John Rokesmith, who takes an uncommon interest in their ward. Not content with just one plot, Dickens throws in a secondary love story featuring the riverman's daughter, Lizzie Hexam; a dissolute young upper-class lawyer, Eugene Wrayburn; and his rival, the headmaster Bradley Headstone. Dark as the novel is, Dickens is careful to leaven it with secondary characters who are as funny as they are menacing--blackmailing Silas Wegg and his accomplice Mr. Venus, the avaricious Lammles, and self-centered Charlie Hexam. Our Mutual Friend is one of Dickens's most satisfying novels, and a fitting denouement to his prolific career. --Alix Wilber

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-With a cast of characters that covers the whole spectrum of London life, Dickens weaves a tapestry of tales that are by turn funny, moving and tragic.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2112 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 314 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1494785145
  • Utilisation simultanée de l'appareil : Illimité
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0084AVP3O
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent roman 29 juin 2013
Par Michèle
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Intrigue et personnages excellents, attachants ou sordides, humour et caricature de la société très actuel, un des meilleurs romans de Dickens assurément !
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  178 commentaires
103 internautes sur 107 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Worth every effort to read. 5 août 2001
Par frumiousb - Publié sur Amazon.com
I think that it may be hard for the modern reader to find the time to read _Our Mutual Friend_. It's length makes it undeniably difficult to fit easily into the daily allotment of reading time. Weighing in at over 900 pages, it was originally published as a twenty-part monthly serial. There are also a number of situations and details that while very familiar to the Victorians, will be almost wholly incomprehensible to the reader of today (for instance the role of dust and dustmen and the mounds in the yard of the old house).
It's also clearly not Dickens' sunniest work. At the time of its release already, people spoke nostalgically about the more gentle nature of _David Copperfield_ or _Oliver Twist_ . While the farce that constitutes such an important element in Dickens' works is present, it's tainted with a note of bitterness that conveys a feeling of pervasive sadness throughout this great novel.
Dickens was working on this book when he was caught in the Staplehurst rail disaster and narrowly escaped death when his car was the only one of the first-class cars not to plunge from a bridge into a river bed. He was one of the people who climbed down the side to do what he could for the dead and dying. Dickens himself mentions the accident in his afterword, and at the risk of reading too much into the incident, it's hard not to read this book from the perspective of an aging man who narrowly avoids death himself. The nature of death, and the idea of escaping it by a hand's length, is one of the themes that comes back over and over again in _Our Mutual Friend_
The plot hinges around a disputed inheritance and mistaken identity, with a meditation about love as societal coin. The characterizations and situations in this novel are among his best-- particularly worth mentioning are Rogue Riderhood and his resurrection, the insane love of Bradley Headstone, the crippled doll-maker Jenny Wren, and the loyal Mr. Sloppy.
I'm not sure that I can call this my favorite Dickens, _Little Dorrit_ still has a strong claim on that position, but it's certainly one of the strongest reading experiences that I've had in a while.
54 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Jane Smiley Had it Right 14 mai 2003
Par Eric P. Neff - Publié sur Amazon.com
I hadn't read Dickens in quite a while. Ten years had passed since I closed the cover of Bleak House and put it back on my bookshelf. But then I happened upon a recent biography of Dickens written by Jane Smiley (of all people). Being a huge fan of both author and subject, I picked it up. I won't review Ms. Smiley's book here (it's excellent, read it), but I was surprised to hear her heap such praise and adoration on this book. I'd heard of it and I knew it was one of Dickens' last works. But that was about all I knew, having limited my exposure to his "better known" works. Did "Our Mutual Friend" belong in the hallowed ranks of Dickens' best? I figured, a Pulitzer Prize winning author must know what she's talking about, right?
Well, she does. "Our Mutual Friend" is like a great meal at a fine restaurant. Chew slowly. Savor each bite. The beauty of this book is in its extraodinary and wonderful style of writing, delightful similes, vivid and uncanny character development (Dickens is the master, but he outdoes even himself in this work) and that odd sense you get when you close a masterpiece that you just had a once in a lifetime experience. The man can write!
Make no mistake, this is a tougher read than the earlier, more "Dickens-y" novels. But the characters are more rich, complex and interesting than in any other of his work. If you don't feel a sincere sense of mourning for Mr. Boffin's decline into miserism, and joy for...(well, I won't spoil the plot for you), then I can't help you. The caustically satiric language may be a shock to those used to the milder styles of Copperfield and Pickwick, but it is brilliant and I believe it is his best work. The grim story line is far from the lilting plot of a Nickleby, but it is gripping. I don't think I could name my "favorite" Dickens book. "Bleak House" and "Great Expectations" are up there. But "Our Mutual Friend" would certainly be a prime candidate.
71 internautes sur 76 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Murky Educations by the Thames 22 mai 2002
Par mp - Publié sur Amazon.com
Charles Dickens's 1865 novel, his last completed novel, "Our Mutual Friend" is an extraordinarily dark and convoluted work. Featuring such unforgettable figures as Mr. Boffin, Mr. Podsnap, Bradley Headstone, Jenny Wren, and Silas Wegg, Dickens continues, or rather concludes his artistic legacy with a work rich in well written and compelling characters. Exploring, as do many of Dickens's works, the intricacies of inheritance, "Our Mutual Friend" is also deeply concerned with families and the things that hold them together or rip them apart. Interesting and fraught emphases on education, upholding particularly English interests in the face of the still rising British Empire, and concerns about the absolute uncertainties about life and death, this is quite a way to come at a last complete novel.
"Our Mutual Friend" begins with Lizzie and her father Gaffer Hexam patrolling the river in the dark of night. Pulling a body out of the river for the potential reward money, the novel jumps right into the action with a bang. The body is presumed to be that of young John Harmon, just returned from South Africa to claim a huge inheritance from his recently deceased, hateful and miserly father. The only heir dead, the elder Harmon's loyal employees, Mr. and Mrs. Boffin stand next in the will to inherit everything. This causes a stir in Society, where Mortimer Lightwood, the legal executor of the will, and his friend Eugene Wrayburn are called in to view the body and question Gaffer Hexam. This causes two others to be drawn into the plot - Lizzie Hexam, an uneducated, but prescient young woman, who immediately catches Wrayburn's eye, and Miss Bella Wilfer, a sprightly young woman whose marriage to young John Harmon was the sole condition for that gentleman to come into his inheritance prevented by his untimely death. The novel tries over the next 700 pages to work out the personal ramifications of the murder, the will, and the fates of these two young women.
So many of Dickens's novels deal with the lives and educations (scholastically, socially, or both) of young people, and "Our Mutual Friend" is no different. Gaffer Hexam, the boatman, is opposed to book-learning, and refuses to allow either Lizzie or his younger son Charley, to learn even to read. Lizzie arranges, though, for Charley to remove himself from the cycle of riverside drudgery by facilitating his escape to a school, where he excels under the tutelage of one of Dickens's most intense characters, Bradley Headstone. Elsewhere, the Boffins, now in a state of financial ease, seek to improve their cultural understandings, hiring a literary man "with a wooden leg," the well-versed Silas Wegg, and even buy the mansion that Wegg works in front of. Other characters, like the mercenary Bella Wilfer, the absolutely indolent Wrayburn, and the articulator of bones, Mr. Venus, all seem to be in sore need of social and moral educations.
Just to kind of continue this theme, one may be particularly interested in the kinds of literary funds that Dickens draws on in "Our Mutual Friend": His debt to 18th century literature is heavy indeed, with the works of the poet James Thomson and the historian Edward Gibbon coursing through the novel like the very Thames itself, laying the groundwork for literary and historical commentary on the nature of Empire and particularly British Imperial interests, and how those interests reach from the international into the lives of individuals. Another important predecessor in this line is the infamous Mr. Podsnap, a very dark descendant of Laurence Sterne's Corporal Trim from "Tristram Shandy." Trim's famous flourish, in Podsnap's hands acquires the power to annihilate entire nations. Dickens also reveals heavy debts to fairy tales and nursery rhymes that continue and complicate the novel's emphasis on children's educations, how they are managed, and the impact that they can have on the world as it will become.
If you aren't interested in reading "Our Mutual Friend" yet, you should be! Clearly, my interests lay in the national and educational strains of the novel, but there's obviously so much more. Now, my knowledge of Dickens may be limited to the five or six novels I've read so far, but you will be hard pressed anywhere in Dickens, (or anywhere else for that matter), to find a more frenetic villain than Mr. Bradley Headstone - to see him in action alone makes this novel worth reading. He ranks right up there with "David Copperfield"s Uriah Heep in terms of Dickens's most insistently horrifying creations. Ok. Enough from me, go, read "Our Mutual Friend." What are you waiting for! Go, now!
19 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best of books, the darkest of books 19 juillet 2001
Par peter wild - Publié sur Amazon.com
...of all the mighty works that his pen produced, hard pressed as I am to choose, I would say - if forced - that "Our Mutual Friend" is my favourite. Not by much, admittedly ("Bleak House", "Little Dorrit" and "Dombey and Son" will keep knocking at that door), but they haven't managed to barge into the pride of place reserved for "Our Mutual Friend" - the seat closest to the fire, as it were - just yet.
The reason "Our Mutual Friend" is my favourite Dickens? Well. It is just so dark. (You may say that "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" is a darker work, and you may be right, but that is not a novel - that is a murder glimpsed through the window of a passing train - you don't know if it is serious or jest, and you will never ever find out.) This book - "Our Mutual Friend" - is a veritable nest of vipers. Not only that. The vipers are black. The vipers are made of night. Which isn't unusual. Dickens (like Milton) knew how to paint a good villain. Just that - whereas elsewhere, there is one singular villain (Bill Sykes, or Quilp say) - here there are many villains, each as dark as the other, each as particular and distinct a kind of nightmare as can be imagined. You have the corruption of the conniving Lammles, the crusty, flaky, stinginess of Silas Wegg, and the waterlogged, badmouthing of underhanded Rogue Riderhood. You have the insane obsessive love of Bradley Headstone. The two-faced usurer Fascination Fledgeby. You have - peculiarly this, but true all the same - the blackness of the river. The river is a villain in "Our Mutual Friend". The river is an enemy to truth. It swallows up stories as equally as it swallows up the bodies of the drowned. Like "Heart of Darkness", the river and its denizens (the houses that line the dirty shoreline, the population of those houses) poison everything, and the poison seeps out of the lowest house and into the highest. The river is responsible - at least in part - for the story about which everything else revolves: the Harmon murder.
Alongside the darkness (and elaborated within the pages of Peter Ackroyd's excellent biography "Dickens"), you have a definitely out-of-the-ordinary oddness to proceedings. This is an odd book. Dickens always provided comic relief. With a book this dark, you would think the comic relief to be all the more comic, but this is not the case. What once was comic is now slightly deranged. The relationship between Bella Wilfer and her father is like something out of a David Lynch movie. The character of Mr Venus, too. Is he a taxidermist? What is that fascination with bottled dead things? And bones? You have the young miss, the friend of Bella Wilfer, Jenny Wren, deformed maker of doll dresses. She is comic but, somehow, laughing at a child so weary from her corrupt bones as to look like an old old woman is wrong.
As such, the whole is a puzzle. Second time through, it isn't any easier. But that - essentially, dissatisfaction, or ambiguity - makes for a tremendously satisfying reading. Yes, everything is resolved at the end for better or ill, but still: there is a dark, pitiless buzzing (like a wasp trapped in your stove pipe hat) that remains with you long after you have finished the book and read others.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Down by the river, up from the river 18 juillet 2007
Par Guillermo Maynez - Publié sur Amazon.com
The last completed novel by Dickens is also one of the darkest and, in my opinion, one of the best. The plot, as usual, is too dense and complex to be treatd here in detail. The story centers around one John Harmon, back from abroad to claim the inheritance from his deceased, horrible, and miser of a father. For reasons that are never explained (one of the several loose ends of the book), Old Harmon had set the condition that, in order for his son to receive the inheritance, he must marry a young, poor girl called Bella Wilfer, whom young Harmon had never met. One night, a guy whose trade was to recover things -and bodies- from the fetid Thames, along with his daughter, finds a corpse, which is later identified as that of John Harmon. Mysterious characters appear to have an interest in the affair, but the fact is that, missing the first-choice heir, the fortune must go to the Boffins, long time employees of Old Harmon. By the way, Old Harmon's source of fortune is a very strange one: he was a Dustman, apparently someone who trades in garbage and other discarded objects. The Boffins are an old, childless, good, charming, and ignorant couple. Feeling sorry for the death of beloved Johnny, and owing to a sense of reparation, they practically adopt Bella Wilfer. They also hire as their secretary an old tenant of the Wilfers, the mysterious John Rokesmith, who falls in love with the arrogant and pretentious Bella.

What follows is a mad, symphonic, convoluted tale of ambition, corruption, passion, crime, and revenge, as well as of confused identities. All in a tone of farce and black -but very funny- humor. Dickens paints his very own London, dark, wet, fetid, inhuman. The characters travel up and down the Thames, through St. James, the Temple, the City, etc., crossing time and again the dangerous river. They come and go all the time. The two young ladies, Bella and Lizzie Hexam, the daughter of the man who first recovered the body, are subject to mad passions, especially the latter. There are dozens of subplots, all worth reading. Dickens mocks just about every kind of people in London: business, politics, social habits. Most characters are mean and ridiculous. The vividness of the situations is witness to the enormous creative powers of this great writer.

Thre are too many characters to sketch them all here, but some memorable ones are: Miss Jenny Wren ("I know your tricks and your manners"), the dolls' dressmaker, smart, cynical, penetrating, beautiful and handicapped, as well as her pathetic drunkard of a father. Silas Wegg, "a man of letters and with a wooden leg", a sinister rascal who tries to dispossess the Boffins through blackmail, and his associate, Mr. Venus, embalmer and taxidermist, always sitting in his dark parlour, surrounded by phaetuses in bottles. Bradley Headstone, who literally gets crazy about Lizzie. Rogue Riderhood, the common criminal of the Thames. The most outrageous one is an usurer, a petulant and despicable pseudo-dandy called Fascination Fledgeby.

It's true: in contrast with most great writers of the XIX Century, Dickens does not create human beings. He creates cartoons. In fact, at least for me, some passages of the novel are more easily imagined as cartoons than as people. But, as Anthony Burgess put it, "Language and morality add dimensions to his cartoons and turn them into literature". This is an enormously funny book, well worth your dedication through its many pages. Some people criticize him for leaving subplots open and for not tying it all up close circle. Who cares, his power with words is extraordinary and his landscape of characters unforgettable.
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