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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (44,684 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charles Dickens Narrator: Martin Jarvis Publisher: Copyright Group Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2014 ISBN: 9781780001265
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Dickens’ exuberant novel charts the rise of its young hero Nicholas Nickleby, who progresses from an impoverished youngster gladly accepting his uncle’s offer of help, to an assured businessman capable of thwarting villainous plans. The book unfolds in a series of vivid scenes, starting with Nicholas accompanying the vicious schoolmaster, Wackford Squeers, north to the grim Dotheboys Hall. Later, Nicholas tries his fortune on the stage before the action returns to London, and to a most unexpected revelation.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellon | 2/18/2014

    " Overall, I enjoyed the story. It reminded me a bit of Austen's books where everything works out perfectly for the 'good' character and everything ends terrible for the 'bad' characters. I thought that it was a bit long and could have done without some parts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heyrebekah Alm | 2/9/2014

    " Ugh, I am officially Dickensed out. It all started when I read Bleak House a few months ago (which I absolutely loved) and followed that up with Great Expectations. The Dickens reading kick continued for a few more books, so by the time I got to Nicholas his story seemed like too much of a retread of what I just read in another book. At this point, it is just too much cliche, albeit cliches Dickens created. The large cast of characters is mostly wonderful and loveable. Except, of course, the characters we are supposed to hate, and they are delightfully vicious and evil. Some of supporting cast, though (particularly Mrs. Nickelby) had me rolling my eyes and skipping ahead a few pages once I got to their dialogue. Perhaps if I take a break from Dickens for a few years, his plots and characters will seem fresh once again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rrshively | 2/2/2014

    " Dickens is one of my favorite authors. However, it took me a while to get through this 800+ page novel replete with 19th Century language. One always wants to slow down and savor the wit, irony, and sarcasms scattered within the story. The way the various characters weave in and out of the story, bumping into the other characters is amazing. This book may have been written about 150 years ago, but many of its subjects and plots are relevant to our world today. What deeds will some greedy people do for money? High interest gambling and payday loans are agreed to by the desperate to the cunning loan sharks. What sort of life does a miserly person lead? What happiness comes to the generous-hearted? What kind of person helps the 'least among us'? Plus here is the comfortable living to rags to riches story that we all love. Then there is romance. For me it was worth the effort, but I wouldn't recommend this to all of my friends. If you are willing and have time to read this classic, you may be well rewarded. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 1/31/2014

    " This is a very long book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 1/29/2014

    " It's hard to bitch about Dickens novels because they're Dickens novels and they're just such refreshing reads: his prose is like honey on golden toast. That said, Nickleby has some issues, mostly its length, that made me anxious to get the goddamn thing over with. It is overlong: nearly 800 pages! and stuffed with any number of minor, insignificant characters that could've been neatly sliced off the story. The story itself is pretty neat with a nice twist at the end and a pretty dark way of dealing with the fate of Ralph Nickleby, the evil uncle (sort of a proto-Stooge, who doesn't fare as well as that haunted madman did, tho'). Nickleby and his sister are the main heroes, the pivot of the plot and are both so gregarious, obsessive, and violent, yes violent! that they really stand out from Dickens' other creations. Worth the slog, overall. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vishy | 1/27/2014

    " Got this at the Oxford University Press bookshop in my place. It was fun reading a Dickens adaptations for children. The cover picture was beautiful, the illustrations inside were nice. The story was okay. I wouldn't call it my favourite Dickens. But because it was adapted, the book gave importance to the plot and the Dickens language was missing. But I think it will work for younger readers who are exploring Dickens for the first time. I will give it 3 stars for the story and 4 stars for the book production and look-and-feel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura Planton | 1/26/2014

    " Nicholas Nickleby is a wonderful story with great characters ie Wackford Squeers, Smike, Ralph Nickleby, Ray and Charles Cheeryble and of course Tim Linkenwater and Newman Noggs. Challenging to figure out in the narrative what was important to the story and what was Dicken's embellishment . Well worth the time to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 1/25/2014

    " my second favorite Dickens book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura Whitcomb | 1/22/2014

    " The writing style is verbose, but in the best way. Lovely and funny and sad and unforgettable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Soa | 1/22/2014

    " I really liked this book. Very lively and nice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 1/14/2014

    " It's funny that I was surprised how good of an author Dickens is. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nikki | 1/14/2014

    " I remember finding this one pretty tedious, although some of the characters intrigued me deeply. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vanessa | 1/13/2014

    " By far my favorite Dickens novel. I don't think I usually laugh so hard at Dickens as I do with this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ta N. | 1/11/2014

    " This is one of my favorites, believe it or not! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 1/10/2014

    " Reading this one again, this time to my kids. They picked it out at an old bookstore and asked me to...i was putty I'm their hands. It's one of the old original ones, I have to be very careful while reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 D'face | 1/5/2014

    " There are some great passages here and wonderfully rich characters, but there is also an enormous amount of text to get through and an excess of characters. None of the characters are overly endearing but this is a very satisfying novel depicting the trials and rise of a lad following the death of his father and the destitution of his family. Thrown on the mercy of an uncle who despises them the family maintain their values and virtues and emerge vindicated and happy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joyce | 1/5/2014

    " When I came up with this theme, Charles Dickens was the first author (after Jane Austen of course) that popped in my head. I choose "Nicholas Nickleby" because it spoke to me. It's an interesting coming-of-age tale, but really tells the story of the Nickleby family instead of just Nicholas. After his fathers death, Nicholas finds a way to provide for his virtuous sister Kate and his mother, who reminded me a bit of a less outrageous Bennet mother from "Pride and Prejudice". Nicholas is a great character, I really liked him. But my heart goes out to Smike. So sad, I really felt for him. Like I said before, it's not just about Nicholas. I didn't expect that. Maybe that's why this book was so gigantic. That's the main reason why I didn't give it a five star rating: the length of the book. I loved "Nicholas Nickleby" but it could use some 'deleted scenes'. This Dickens story fitted my theme perfectly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Miriam | 1/5/2014

    " I am very happy that I started to read the classics. I enjoyed this book very much! The story is very good and it makes you not like the villains in this story. A must read of the classics! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 1/4/2014

    " It's hard to bitch about Dickens novels because they're Dickens novels and they're just such refreshing reads: his prose is like honey on golden toast. That said, Nickleby has some issues, mostly its length, that made me anxious to get the goddamn thing over with. It is overlong: nearly 800 pages! and stuffed with any number of minor, insignificant characters that could've been neatly sliced off the story. The story itself is pretty neat with a nice twist at the end and a pretty dark way of dealing with the fate of Ralph Nickleby, the evil uncle (sort of a proto-Stooge, who doesn't fare as well as that haunted madman did, tho'). Nickleby and his sister are the main heroes, the pivot of the plot and are both so gregarious, obsessive, and violent, yes violent! that they really stand out from Dickens' other creations. Worth the slog, overall. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peggy | 1/4/2014

    " Certainly not one of his best, but oh so satisfying. A perfect summer read--light, funny, and all the evil-doers get their comeuppance. I just love Dickens, I really do. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ahsan | 12/25/2013

    " I don't even remember what the story was but I remember I really loved it reading it as a kid, that it was a small, brown leather-bound hardback with possibly engraved or golden letters. 5 stars for something that made me happy as a kid. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yasmeen | 12/23/2013

    " i read it about two years ago. i remember parts of the story and i remember enjoying it so much. very interseting but no clear purpose or advantage that you take of this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fleur Defries | 12/15/2013

    " Not my favourite Dickens but a good read all the same. A more succinct review later, perhaps. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Siobhan | 12/13/2013

    " This is the book that made me love Dickens. He was such a great writer. At this point, he's a little hard to read for the modern reader, I would bet, because his style is so quite wordy. But if you can get past that, the stories are so vivid. He was an incridble observer of the human condition. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Notcathy J | 12/12/2013

    " Cathy, in 6th grade, lovingly made her own binding of cloth and stencils. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thom Walton | 12/9/2013

    " This is one of the great Dickens! The heros, villians, and love story (not to mention coincidences) are all in order and well done. Recommended, now a favorite in my list. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Surreysmum | 12/8/2013

    " [These notes were made in 1983:]. Read for exams. Good old Dickens -- always a pleasure to read, even under compulsion. Mrs. Nickleby -- eternally fretful, gullible, and good-hearted -- is a masterpiece. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cindy | 12/5/2013

    " Just couldn't finish this one for some reason. I used to really enjoy Dickens, but this one had a really slow start and I gave up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kyle | 11/19/2013

    " With so many changes that have taken place in the United States, and the ripple effect that can observed in various other places around the world, this 19th century novel seems to have captured quite a few of the changes then, which are similar to what we see now. The United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company, despite its comical name, has much in common the economic meltdown caused by the Ralph Nicklebys on Wall St. Here it is London's Golden Square and other dark places between London and Yorkshire that ill-will thrives. Setting things to right is an angry young man, with his demure sister and their loquacious mother. Many of the secondary characters outshine the titular hero with their wit, banter or thick Yorkshire accent alone, and at times it would have been more interesting to stay with the Crummleses' theatre company or follow around Lord Verisopht. Yet the novel does as Dickens sets out to accomplish, and has some useful warning signs of school systems to avoid when I set out, teaching degree in hand, on my new career. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Micah | 11/19/2013

    " Probably my favorite Charles Dickens book so far. It was nice to have something end without too much sadness like his other books. I love following the everyday life, challenges and character development of Dicken's. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharoncollier | 11/18/2013

    " After the first few chapters, (typical of Dickens) the story gets really going. It's a cracking good yarn! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate Harding | 11/9/2013

    " Phew. This took me forever to plunder though. It has been a very long time since I read any Dickens and I had just forgotten how dense they are. This is still probaby one of my favorites. Nicholes is such a lovely character and he really comes to life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cynthia | 11/5/2013

    " Enjoyable but inconsistent -- some characters and incidents are pure melodrama, others are more original and engaging. I think I liked it more 20 years ago. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deirdre Casey | 10/26/2013

    " I listened to this and found it engaging and sweet. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stuart | 10/26/2013

    " Too long and too many unnecessary detours away from the main plot but a host of truly classic Dickens characters, some genuinely funny moments and, as always, some wonderful writing about the common man overcoming the odds that society stacks against him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Colette | 10/24/2013

    " Very difficult at first, long, most of it extremely interesting, and I had to take a few days off after I was finished reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 10/10/2013

    " I love Dickens, but this book is too long. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diana | 9/6/2013

    " enjoyable read though end was a bit strange and depressing "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve Shilstone | 8/30/2013

    " Smike and Dotheboys Hall, and ah, the theatre. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mara | 6/17/2013

    " The sarcasm of Dickens at its finest. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lena | 6/16/2013

    " The language was dense, as expected from a Dickens' novel. I enjoyed it nonetheless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shivanthi Sathanandan | 4/16/2013

    " One of my favourite Dickens' novels; full of the strangeness of life and triumph of striving against adversity! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Broadsnark | 2/22/2013

    " Can hardly remember reading this one. Not one of my favorites for some reason. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily Martin | 2/1/2013

    " A must-read Dickens novel that centres on Victorian cruelty and injustice. Something to take a chapter at a time with many cups of tea in the garden. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shannon | 1/4/2013

    " Loved this story. It got me hooked on Dickens. Weird. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ladan F | 12/24/2012

    " Thoroughly enjoyable and full of humanity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicholas Butler | 12/24/2012

    " I felt that there were two take in this book add if Dickens's had begin one idea then headed to another. The characters are many varied and if this was filmed today guy riche would direct it "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Catey Heimerl | 11/25/2012

    " This book makes a really good doorstop. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan Visser | 5/17/2012

    " I liked it well enough, but preferred Great Expectations. I was very saddened by the treatment of the kids at the school, but more than that.. Dickens likes to write about completely despicable people. Were they more common back then? I'm glad I live in a civilized world! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 stephanie . | 5/10/2012

    " If it wasn't for Mrs. Nickleby, I would have given this 4 stars. Her character was given too much space & time though and since she was so irritating and unimportant to the plot, it detracted from the experience for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denise Wilkerson | 4/25/2012

    " Not quite as good as David Copperfield but very enjoyable and just as full of wonderful characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 4/22/2012

    " Finally finished it! It was a slow read, and consequently it took a long time, but worth the effort and time. There is so much irony and poignancy in Charles Dickens writing that is is always enjoyable. There were also a few things that took me by surprise when I expected to predict everything. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ivy | 4/20/2012

    " This is a great story. I enjoyed it but I was suprised at how often Dicken sumerized the diologe. He makes it work but I just wasn't exspecting that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mommy Farris | 4/9/2012

    " Yet another fabulous novel by Charles Dickens. What's not to love. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chrisanne | 3/20/2012

    " Loved Mrs. Nickleby's proposal scene. Classic Dickens. I can see why it would be more popular as a film adaptation though. There are tons and tons of side-characters and sub-plots. From my memories of the others that I've read I would almost say that there are more than usual. But I could be wrong. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lia | 12/15/2011

    " I don't really fancy Dickens. I think it's partially because he wrote for a word count instead of for a story because he was being published in pieces in a magazine. I've got too much editor in my blood. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bobbi | 11/16/2011

    " Great character sketches. Marvelous takedown of class divisions, which is still relevant today. But it does have a lot of words! I'm told Dickens was paid by the word. Enjoyable, but challenging. The plot twists and turns became wearying at times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rand Harker | 11/4/2011

    " My favorite of the early novels. Good and evil are much simpler here than in the great later novels (compare the Cheerybles with John Jarndyce) but there is an effervescent youthful zest that infuses language, plot and character. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jodi | 10/27/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. Nicholas is a great character, very likable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Makenna | 8/29/2011

    " Slightly hard for me to get through....maybe I was too distratcted during the time I tried to read this... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Molly | 7/25/2011

    " Oh, Dickens. Just SO great. I enjoy his writing so deeply. And, when I think of how young he was when he wrote these books, and how he wrote them serially, for magazine publication, it just astonishes me, I wish i could do that. He's just so incredibly enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 6/22/2011

    " I read this for the online book club, but couldn't finish it in time. The story went slowly and the melodrama was a bit too thick at times. I had GREATer EXPECTATIONS. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Yasmeen | 6/5/2011

    " i read it about two years ago. i remember parts of the story and i remember enjoying it so much. very interseting but no clear purpose or advantage that you take of this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frank | 5/16/2011

    " Funny,witty, entertaining, and a scathing satire on the English education system. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 4/13/2011

    " Read it when i was really young, remember enjoying it but cant remember enough to rate it
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin | 3/16/2011

    " “…for if the scene were acted over again, I could take no other part than I have taken; and whatever consequences may accrue to myself from it, I shall never regret doing as I have—never, if I starve or beg in consequence.” "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 3/2/2011

    " Loved the humor and the characters! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Braden | 3/1/2011

    " Another amazing work of genius from Dickens, with the usual mind-boggling web of plots and subplots, hilariously different characters, and more than the regular dose of Dickens' complex sarcasm. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caryn | 2/13/2011

    " This one truly deserves the 5 stars!

    This is the tale of Nicholas Nickelby with his mother and sister in early London and surrouding areas. It tells of their struggles after their dad passing away, and their happinesses, as well. "

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About the Author
Author Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812–1870) was born in Landport, Portsmouth, England, the second of eight children in a family continually plagued by debt. A legacy brought release from the nightmare of debtors’ prison and child labor and afforded him a few years of formal schooling. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his early writings brought him the amazing success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. He was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, and he remains popular, responsible for some of English literature’s most iconic characters.

About the Narrator

Martin Jarvis, OBE, has recorded more than 150 Just William stories for the BBC. These have become international audio bestsellers. He won the Theatre World Award for his starring role on Broadway in By Jeeves; his West End appearances include works by Ayckbourn, Frayn, Pinter, and Wilde. Screen successes include everything from Stargate Atlantis, Doctor Who, and Numb3rs to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the Oscar-winning Titanic.