Our Mutual Friend

Our Mutual Friend  by  Charles Dickens   description:

‘Has a dead man any use for money? … What world does money belong to? This world. How can money be a corpse’s?’

Our Mutual Friend centres on an inheritance – Old Harmon’s profitable dust heaps – and its legatees, young John Harmon, presumed drowned when a body is pulled out of the River Thames, and kindly dustman Mr Boffin, to whom the fortune defaults. With brilliant satire, Dickens portrays a dark, macabre London, inhabited by such disparate characters as Gaffer Hexam, scavenging the river for corpses; enchanting, mercenary Bella Wilfer; the social climbing Veneerings; and the unscrupulous street-trader Silas Wegg. Dickens’s last completed novel is richly symbolic in its vision of death and renewal in a city dominated by the fetid Thames, and of the corrupting power of money.

With a cast of characters that covers the whole spectrum of London life, from the grotesque nouveax riches Veneerings to the poverty-stricken Betty Higden, Dickens weaves a tapestry of tales that are by turns funny, moving to the and tragic. It is both a powerful satire on the corrupting power of wealth and a richly comic vision of the great city of Dickens’ time.

mutual friendOur Mutual Friend   3 STARS

Well… there are far too many characters in this book… some you meet for a chapter and are gone and it’s like why did you have to meet a character just so a bartender who isn’t that important to the story can say 2 words to them? and some of the characters disappear for so long by the time they came back I was having to look up who they were… and the book could’ve been about half the size it was… like so many classics this book rambled forever and had several side stories not needed for the main plot and not all that interesting to even read for what they were… the over all story though was rather engaging… enough so that it was worth dredging through some of the down points to get to see how it all ends up… the main characters are a fascinating bunch that go through many changes and grow either for the better or the worse… I will say Dickens apparently saw everyone in the same light… not all rich people are good… not all poor people are bad… and the ending was a wonderful statement made by a very unlikely character, Twemlow, who is mostly described as a piece of furniture (which really confused me in the beginning, but he is a person)… Dickens ultimately delves into the qualities that people should value, and the objects that they too often value instead of what truly matters… if you have plenty of time on your hands or have to read a classic for school this isn’t a bad choice… but I don’t know if I’d go about recommending it to the average reader…


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