Friday, August 28, 2015

Our mutual frown



I was moved to read Our Mutual Friend when someone assured me that it, not Bleak House, is, but of course, the greatest Dickens novel. (It is a truth universally acknowledged, &c.) But no. Our Mutual Friend feels like the work of a tired writer, and it was making us tired. (Falling-asleep-between-sentences tired.) We made it almost halfway through before acknowledging that we just didn’t care enough to continue. Back to Willa Cather, The Old Beauty and Others .

Bleak House is the greatest Dickens novel I’ve read. Elaine, who hasn’t read Bleak House, chooses Great Expectations .

comments: 5

Fresca said...

My favorite is David Copperfield.
Actually, that's the only Dickens I can really stand, probably because I read it when I was young.
He's so... goopy.

Michael Leddy said...

There’s a character in OMF named Sloppy. And a Guppy in Bleak House .

Diane Schirf said...

I hope it wasn't me who steered you wrong. Anyway, I loved Our Mutual Friend and couldn't put it down, although the first few chapters were hard to get through. I don't remember much about Bleak House except slogging through it — it felt like a painful chore, which is odd because I had liked Copperfield and Expectations so much.

Barnaby Capel-Dunn said...

On the other hand, the BBC TV adaptation is well worth the viewing.

Michael Leddy said...

@Diane: No, it was a face-to-face conversation that left me feeling a bit schooled. But as I knew, many people would pick BH as best. I’m amused by how different our reactions are.

@Barnaby: I wouldn’t be surprised. The BBC Bleak House (with Anna Maxwell Martin) is great.