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Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens

Dombey and Son - Charles Dickens, Jonathan Lethem
bookshelves: winter-20142015, published-1848, victorian, tbr-busting-2014, fraudio, dickensphenalia
Read from July 27, 2013 to December 12, 2014


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Read by Frederick Davidson

Description from wiki: The story concerns Paul Dombey, the wealthy owner of the shipping company of the book's title, whose dream is to have a son to continue his business. The book begins when his son is born, and Dombey's wife dies shortly after giving birth. Following the advice of Mrs Louisa Chick, his sister, Dombey employs a wet nurse named Mrs Richards (Toodle). Dombey already has a daughter, Florence, whom he neglects. One day, Mrs Richards, Florence and her maid, Susan Nipper, secretly pay a visit to Mrs Richard's house in Staggs's Gardens so that she can see her children. During this trip, Florence becomes separated and is kidnapped for a short time by Good Mrs Brown before being returned to the streets. She makes her way to Dombey and Son's offices in the City and is guided there by Walter Gay, an employee, who first introduces her to his uncle, the navigation instrument maker Solomon Gills, at his shop the Wooden Midshipman.

Opening: Dombey sat in the corner of the darkened room in the great arm-chair by the bedside, and Son lay tucked up warm in a little basket bedstead, carefully disposed on a low settee immediately in front of the fire and close to it, as if his constitution were analogous to that of a muffin, and it was essential to toast him brown while he was very new.

Dombey was about eight-and-forty years of age. Son about eight-and-forty minutes. Dombey was rather bald, rather red, and though a handsome well-made man, too stern and pompous in appearance, to be prepossessing. Son was very bald, and very red, and though (of course) an undeniably fine infant, somewhat crushed and spotty in his general effect, as yet. On the brow of Dombey, Time and his brother Care had set some marks, as on a tree that was to come down in good time—remorseless twins they are for striding through their human forests, notching as they go—while the countenance of Son was crossed with a thousand little creases, which the same deceitful Time would take delight in smoothing out and wearing away with the flat part of his scythe, as a preparation of the surface for his deeper operations.

Mr. Dombey introduces his daughter Florence

Dombey and Son illustration by Phiz

TRIVIA: In the 19th Century, when the postal service was in its infancy, Charles Dickens lobbied for his own personal letterbox, writes Kathryn Westcott. Read More

3* A Tale of Two Cities
4* Great Expectations
3* A Christmas Carol
4* Oliver Twist
5* David Copperfield
5* Bleak House
4* Little Dorrit
4* Hard Times
4* Nicholas Nickleby
4* Our Mutual Friend
3* The Pickwick Papers
3* Martin Chuzzlewit
4* The Old Curiosity Shop
3.5* Dombey and Son
4* The Mystery of Edwin Drood
5* Barnaby Rudge
4* The Cricket on the Hearth
2* The Chimes
4* Sketches by Boz