Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
Narrated by Eddie Izzard
I will admit that in a life full of fondness for Charles Dickens (I have on one bookshelf a full set of the Worthington Dickens, published in 1884), Great Expectations is not my favorite. Not my least favorite, but definitely not my favorite. I am also not an aficionado of audiobooks. Not that they aren’t without merit, but my particular attention span does not lend itself to auditory stimulus.
However, I absolutely adore Eddie Izzard, as a comedian, actor and person. So when the opportunity arose to download a copy of Eddie Izzard narrating Great Expectations for a mere pittance, I jumped at the chance. And for 20+ hours, I was completely entranced.
Eddie Izzard is simply amazing. The way he is able to bring all of the book’s characters to life – young Pip; acerbic, damaged Miss Havisham; aloof
Estella; Magwich, Mr. Jaggers, Wemmick, Herbert… all of them thoroughly captured my imagination. Ah, but the depiction that won my heart was of Joe Gargery. Dear Joe. Dear, dear Joe. Consummate voice acting, not only in the words spoken, but in the pauses, the sighs, inflections, the cadences… it was superb, throughout.
And in making the characters so alive, Eddie Izzard also brought Dickens’ environment to life – the landscapes, the times, the sensibilities. Oh, the sensibilities! He gave me Dickens at his essence, reinforcing for me what a gifted, insightful author Dickens was – something I already knew, but can now appreciate on an entirely new level. Never once throughout the entire reading did my attention wander, which is amazing as I do not have an audio/linear mind.
I cannot recommend this audiobook highly enough. Even if you are not a fan of Dickens, even if you found him bewildering when you were forced to read him in high school, even if all you know of him is through a Broadway musical or a holiday offering, check out his audiobook. I have no doubt that you will be entranced, as I was. And if you are a Dickens fan – ho, boy, are you in for a treat!