dinsdag 14 april 2015

Charles Dickens: Bleak House


To make sure I’d read another novel by the literature giant named Charles Dickens, I asked my father what his favorites are. He had to think a bit but in the end he came up with Bleak House, Great Expectations and The Pickwick Papers.
I purchased Great Expectations before, but finding Bleak House in the Fnac, I decided to start with this huge book. It’s a 1055-page long novel with a 26 pages explanation about the novel.
You can find all my Charles Dickens reviews here.

“At the novel's core is long-running litigation in England's Court of Chancery, Jarndyce v Jarndyce, which has far-reaching consequences for all involved. The litigation, which already has taken many years and consumed between £60,000 and £70,000 in court costs, is emblematic of the failure of Chancery. Though Chancery lawyers and judges criticised Dickens's portrait of Chancery as exaggerated and unmerited, his novel helped to spur an ongoing movement that culminated in the enactment of legal reform in the 1870s.”

The novel is one big satire. 
You don’t ever really understand what the court case is about but it goes on and on and on. And that’s what it’s all about.
How people get so hung up on it. Ever hoping, ever waiting until they’ve won the case.
Richard is the prime example. He’s ruining himself and his fiancé. Always expecting to win the case and become rich and therefore he doesn’t feel the need to have a job. His degeneration from a bright, respectable youth full of potential into this doubting, obsessed man is heartbreaking. I felt even more so for his fiancé.

There are two narratives in this novel: Esther and a third unidentified, overseeing narrator. I liked that. Esther’s was generally more interesting to read. The third person’s was more about the court case and the lawyers and thus more frustrating to read. But it’s also about Lady Dedlock and other characters when Esther doesn’t meet them. Esther’s storytelling shows us how she feels inside; her wishes and dreams. The third person’s doesn’t’ of course.
I love Esther. She’s a hard worker, an optimist, she’s sweet, feminine and she always puts others first. And Lady Dedlock has so many layers! She has a weakness but she also has pride and other feelings.
Dickens is a writer who is able to write in depth characters.

Dickens’ descriptions read like you’re watching a movie it’s so amazing how he is able to describe everything with a lot of details without boring us to death.

It’s a funny novel too. There’s the spontaneous combustion of an evil alcoholic, the obsessed Mrs. Jellyby, Mr. Turveydrop and the funny and frustrating at the same time Mr. Skimpole.
Dickens describes characters of every social standing and in every social situation.

But it is a very, very long book and I had a hard time getting through it. It’s pretty boring in places and just way too long.

Happy reading!

I've been reading this one since the beginning of the month.