20 December 2020

Review: THE CHIMES, Charles Dickens - audio book

  • format: audio book from audible.com
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 3 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 12-11-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • originally written in 1844
  • aka A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In

Synopsis (Audible)

The magnificent Richard Armitage (Hamlet: King of Denmark: A Novel) performs The Chimes by Charles Dickens.

This classic story is the second in a series of five Christmas books Dickens was commissioned to write - beginning with A Christmas Carol. A haunting tale set on New Year's Eve, The Chimes tells the story of a poor porter named Trotty Veck who has become disheartened by the state of the world - until he is shown a series of fantastical visions that convince him of the good of humanity. Though much different from and certainly a bit darker than A Christmas Carol, the moral message of The Chimes is equally poignant - touting the importance of compassion, goodwill, and the love of friends and family. 

My Take

This is really not crime fiction at all, but rather a moralistic tale along the lines of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, where ghosts tell us how we should live. Trotty Veck is convinced that the cathedral bells are talking to him and on New Year's Eve, unable to sleep, goes up into the bell tower where they point out the faults of the way he lives.  It is actually a very sombre tale, not the least aspect of which is the squalid nature of daily life for those in England's poorer classes.

I think it is a reminder too of how fiction writing has changed. I can't imagine a novella like this being written today.

My rating: 4.3

I've also read A CHRISTMAS CAROL among many other Dickens titles

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