Library Ed. BBC Audiobooks America/ BBC Radio 2003
CS ISBN 0563496118 $54.95 Six cassettes
CD ISBN 0563496126 $74.95 Seven CDs
If the BBC doesn't have a monopoly on dramatizing Dickens, it should. The "good, hard, griping stock" of young Martin, who is cut off from his inheritance and goes forth to make it on his own, is brought to life with clarity, humor, and warmth. Listeners will feel as if they're in a drawing room with the entire cast of characters. Dickens, the inspired storyteller, was also a satirist. He used broad strokes to paint his portraits of the humble, bleak, and grotesque, especially when it came to Americans. The author had been appalled by the rough-and-ready United States he'd found on his 1842 visit, and his experience is evident in his stinging dialogue and observations. The BBC cast has a grand time faithfully reflecting Dickens's views with over-the-top renditions of nineteenth-century American accents from down east to down south. B.P.
(c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine [Published: APR/MAY 04]