David Copperfield

Charles Dickens

Review of Book

Charles Dickens based The Personal History of David Copperfield, to give it its full title, largely on his own life. One of his most quoted and best loved novels, it takes us through David's experiences and the memorable characters that nurtured or abused, encouraged or neglected him; from his earliest memories with his beloved mother and his nurse Peggotty, to the cruelty of Mr Murdstone, the trials and lasting friendships from Salem House school, through to his adult life with the women he so dearly loved.

Review of Nat's Reading

This is an excellent abridgement that flows beautifully, and just the most delightful and enchanting recording. Nat's fluency seems effortless and his skill at drawing out the layers of the story and the aspects of Dickens' characters is matchless. He captures the ironic humour and the more tender moments so sensitively, as when young David returns home after a long absence at school and sits close to his mother and "once more felt her beautiful hair drooping over me - like an angel's wings as I used to think, I recollect - and was very happy indeed."

Nat makes one particular dramatic passage, that of the tragically destructive storm off Yarmouth, sound very like some of his poetry readings. And by using his gentlest and softest tones to speak David's narrative when he was a child, he creates huge warmth and sympathy in the listener. Then as David becomes a young man, Nat's tone changes correspondingly. This is typical of the small but significant detail that sets his readings apart, and all the more remarkable when you consider this was his first audio book.

Highlights of his line-up of wonderful voices for the typical Dickens' characters would have to include Mr Micawber - especially forceful and animated in his denunciation of the despicable Uriah Heap. And Aunt Betsy Trotwood, with whom Nat excels and positively indulges himself! Although his Mr Wickfield at one point endearingly slides into Steerforth, I think we can make an allowance this once…!

The whole recording, being a one-man dramatisation so typical of Nat, is one of the most treasured of his audio books in my collection. My only regret is that he didn't get to read the complete book so we could have many more hours of enjoyment.

Some lovely Dickens/Trotwood/Parker moments…

Aunt Betsy to Mr Murdstone.. "I was not aware at first to whom I had the pleasure of objecting"

Aunt Betsy to David… "If nothing worse than ale happens to us we are well orf!"

And those wonderful Dickens' names..

Mr Creakle Tommy Traddles Mrs Krupp

And a local workhouse girl described as "A 'Orfling"

Published by
Penguin Audiobooks

ISBN 0140861858 on cassette

ISBN 0141805250 on CD

February 1996


Running time 5hrs 45mins approx

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