In Love with Dickens

29 Jul

I just finished reading The Chimes, and I loved it. I felt a thrill of excitement every time I picked up the book and with every word I read I became conscious of how much I liked the story.

I cared about the characters, and I put myself in their place. I thought about people in financial stress, and how easy it is to lose everything. I thought about the news I read recently, about the minimum wage in the U.S. going up to a meager $5.85, and how there are people who actually live on $5.85 an hour, or less. It must crush the spirit to have a job and still not make it, still have to struggle to pay the bills and live a life of deprivation. I wonder what I would do, how I would fight, how I could win, if I were in their place.

Dickens is unashamed of his advocacy for the poor and downtrodden. I hear his voice in every page and it moves me. It speaks to my better feelings, to my sense of justice and my disgust for the arrogance of the cold-hearted rich, including entire governments.

The Chimes has a fast pace. It moves seamlessly from one scene to the other, like in a dream, and the imagery is very powerful, whirling and tumbling in a dizzying, sometimes frightening twirl. My mind is full of the little hunchback who dwindled to a leg.

The story is short, less than a hundred pages, and the characters move in and out of view, but they are well defined and Trotty, who is the center, is an endearing, vivid creation. He is playful, fragile and caring. Alderman Cute is funny and sad at the same time, mostly because he is so real. I am sure he is alive right now.

Jane Austen is my favorite writer, and I mourn the books she didn’t get to write. Six completed novels, one epistolary short novel, unfinished fragments and early satires plus her personal correspondence are all I have. I comb through the ivory over and over, reading the books from different perspectives, studying the background and the history. All because I yearn for more. 

Charles Dickens lived a long life and has a long list of published works. I am happy to have so much more left to read.

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2 Responses to “In Love with Dickens”

  1. imani August 4, 2007 at 12:44 pm #

    I love the quote from the book that you’ve highlighted in the sidebar. I’ve been considering a retread into Dickens’ novels but had not thought of including The Chimes in the plan. Now I will. :)

  2. lvmg August 5, 2007 at 9:03 am #

    Isn’t it a good quote? I like the spirit of it, because I think life has a way of delivering justice. Sometimes people are not aware of it, but it gets done. Whatever you do always comes back to you manyfold.

    Have fun with Dickens!

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