June Books 2) Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

It must be around thirty years since I read this book, which came towards the end of Dickens’ career (followed only by Our Mutual Friend and Edwin Drood). For today’s reader, the portrayal of the poor as either comic or villainous grates somewhat, redeemed a bit by Magwitch’s personal history when we eventually find out about it; and few of the middle-class characters are very nice people either (particularly the women). It seems a somehow mean-spirited book, holding a slightly distorting mirror up to society without really digging into the wider causes of human misery. Wikipedia has the original ending, where it is clear that Pip has lost Estrella for ever, and that seems actually a rather more appropriate send-off than the revised version’s reunion.

One thought on “June Books 2) Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

  1. Yes. Or in my case, 20-30 minutes to find out what you are allergic to, then an hour or so while they say “Gosh, we’ve never seen anyone react so strongly to so many things. Would you mind if we take a picture for the medical textbooks?” and then you trudge over to the other end of the hospital for the medical photography department and then back again before they let you wash it all off and put cream on it.

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