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Dombey and Son

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  7,518 ratings  ·  360 reviews
Dombey and Son, Charles Dickens’s story of a powerful man whose callous neglect of his family triggers his professional and personal downfall, showcases the author’s gift for vivid characterization and unfailingly realistic description. As Jonathan Lethem contends in his Introduction, Dickens’s “genius . . . is at one with the genius of the form of the novel itself: Dicken ...more
Paperback, 880 pages
Published April 8th 2003 by Modern Library (first published 1848)
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Cathy Pryor Don't know about Little Dorrit being over-praised but I love Dombey and Son - absolutely, it is under-rated.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Christopher H.
Dombey and Son is one of Dickens' best! This novel, in my opinion, rivals Little Dorrit. The main protagonist, Florence Dombey is an amazing woman, full of strength and character which guides her through some incredibly miserable years. Some of the characters that Dickens develops during the course of this novel are some of the most heinously evil or sad, or full of goodness and love, or are just plain funny. There's a powerful message about the influence of "wealth", not just money, on the indi ...more
MJ Nicholls
A big bloated behemoth Dickens. An instructive homily on pride and behaving like a coldblooded douche towards your daughter because she isn’t a son. Once Dombey’s son dies (not a plot spoiler, it happens early on), the novel seems to collapse, start again. Britain was in mourning for Paul Dombey’s demise, and this grief is reflected in the sluggish pace that follows. Wonderful, wrenchingly excruciating scenes between Dombey, whose hauteur builds to pitches of teeth-grinding stubbornness, and his ...more
Laura
I'm ashamed to admit that until I read this book, I hadn't read a lot of Dickens. I skimmed Great Expectations when I was in 9th grade, but only because I was forced, and I read A Christmas Carol for work once (long story, but I was working for an educational publishing company and we were doing a dumbed-down version). After finishing Dombey and Son, I'm afraid I don't have anything especially intelligent to add to the reams and reams that has been written about Dickens, except that I'm excited ...more
Sherwood Smith
Apr 12, 2013 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fiction
Reading Dickens always reminds me that there was no such thing as an editor as we understand the function of an editor now. Dickens did carefully plot out his books — we have the evidence not only in letters but of his actual outline of how carefully this one was worked out. We can see through his letters where he deviated and where he stuck to the plot.

This is the first of his books that features a heroine rather than a hero at the center of the story. Florence, an unwanted daughter, is beneat
...more
Everyman
This was my first reading of Dombey and Son, and I found it to be one of Dickens’s less successful novels. I know some rank it highly. But I found the plot mostly uninteresting and even more dependent than is usual for Dickens on unlikely events and coincidences, and much of the writing turgid and uninspired. The first third of the book managed to engage me as the situations developed, but after that I increasingly read more out of duty than out of pleasure. I have enjoyed so much of Dickens’s w ...more
Sarah
I always love Dickens. This is my sixth by him. I am always left a little breathless by the wit with which he sketches his characters. This book certainly had its unforgettable characters, my favorites were Cap'n Cuttle, Walter Gay, Mr. Toots and Susan, and for villain, the sheer toothiness of Mr. Carker is downright awful.

I found the book a bit slow in its first half though the gradual build of Florence and little Paul's relationship, especially down at the sea was pivotal to the whole story an
...more
Paul Bryant
This is a great mid-period Dickens written just about at the point where his optimism about human beings and his zest to improve the conditions of all the hapless grovellers is at the tipping point of being transformed by a horrible realisation that the corruption of the ruling classes, the venality of the middle classes and the ground-down-and-outness of the labouring men and women meant that only a root and branch revolution would do, reform would simply fail, be watered down by the circumlocu ...more
Julianne
Jan 10, 2013 Julianne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Absolutely
How the mighty fall. This book is literary genius, of course, and written by the master, Dickens. Beware your friends that serve too well with too bright and many teeth. Don't put all your eggs in one basket you might drop that basket. This book really brings to light all the mistakes that man can make in a broad spectrum but put them all into one man, Mr. Dombey. The lessons within the book are too numerous to mention; the plight of the poor who actually have so much contrasted against the plig ...more
K.
Jun 23, 2015 K. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K. by: krislynelliott@yahoo.com
Rereading Summer 2015. Just read chapter 19, "Walter Goes Away" during breakfast today (11 June 2015). Seriously, there is no competition. Tears shed over grapefruit.

Enjoyed this immensely, again.

I know that some might feel that Florence's goodness (and that her goodness remained with her) in her loveless life is impossible. For me, I believe that this book is about keeping our peace and faith under great trial. Florence could have chosen to become bitter and angry, so many people in real-life
...more
Jimyanni
Dickens as feminist? Not by 21st century definitions, perhaps, but by the standards of his own time, definitely. In this book, he very clearly perceives, and shows to the reader, the wrongness of a father discounting the value of his daughter simply because she is not a son, as well as various other indications of the wrongness of the discriminations visited upon women in his Victorian England, and the innate strength of many of his female characters in dealing with what their life forces them t ...more
Kim
I've been thinking alot about what my funeral will be like in the last few days. Not because I just finished reading "Dombey and Son" by Charles Dickens, even though the book does have a few deaths in it. Four that I can think of, one of which I sat and cried through, only Dickens can make me cry. I will say here before I get too far just in case you are expecting a review of "Dombey" that I don't usually write reviews of Dickens novels, I don't have to. My reviews are written mostly for me. I u ...more
Anna Matsuyama
My copy:Dombey and Son doesn't have notes at the end of the book, which I've found useful and interesting bonus material in Penguin Classic books.

Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son: Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation published in monthly parts from 1 October 1846 to 1 April 1848 and in one volume in 1848.

Favourite character: James Carker (the manager) and honorable mention to Miss Tox, Mrs Pipchin, Susan Nipper, Robin Toodle
Favourite couples: Miss Nipper/Mr Toots, Mr Carker/Mrs Dombey
...more
Peter
First, full disclosure, I admire the work of Charles Dickens.

I believe that D&S is the first novel that gives the reader a look at a much more mature novelist than his earlier works. While Oliver Twist is better known than Dombey, and Pickwick a greater romp of fun, Dombey and Son is fully crafted and realized. Whatever the shortcomings of plot and character, the novel gives the reader a full, mature and comprehensive vision of human greed, blindness to family and inability to judge charact
...more
Tristram
Pride Will Have a Fall

(view spoiler)
...more
Pat
Nov 14, 2011 Pat rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People seeking a return to classic novels' quality
Recommended to Pat by: Newsweek magazine
A RETURN TO DICKENS
As an English major, I had read (and enjoyed) virtually all of Dickens' biggees in high school and college. But why would I pick him up 35 years later? Well, last year, Newsweek listed "Dombey and Son" on its summer must-read list because of its sympathetic treatment of women. I downloaded it into my Nook months ago and finally started reading it on a monthlong overseas trip. First, I had forgotten how downright FUNNY Dickens can be. The droll turns of phrases reveal themselve
...more
Duffy Pratt
This one is 800+ pages, and has about 300 pages of material in it. Worse, it almost feels like Dickens stepped back, analyzed his previous stuff, and decided that the problem with all of it was that there was too much fun. So he deliberately went out of his way to excise the fun, and accentuate the grim. Of course, being Dickens, he couldn't get rid of all the fun, and there are still some very charming moments here. But they are fairly few, and spread out sparsely over the course of what otherw ...more
Ben Dutton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hugh Coverly
Not one of Dickens's better novels. It is generally neglected, and there are good reasons why.

None of the central characters are compelling enough to grab readers and keep them interested in their eventual fate. The novel drags until about chapter 40 or so when the pace picks up considerably after Edith Dombey runs off with James Carker, and when Florence Dombey flees from home after her father beats her. Not many readers will hold out this long, I suspect.

The only central character I followed
...more
Tony Talbot
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I think I've had my fill of Dickens for at least a couple of years. This is one of his earlier works and not quite up to what I've liked in the past. Or maybe it's that I've been enjoying the French writers so much, who are less confined in their treatment of male/female relationships.

There is a good plot in this, but the characterizations are sorely lacking. Goody-two shoes ingenue, blacker-than-black villain, and caricatures - who were not as funny as they should have been - make up the cast.
...more
Sandra
Well over 1,000 pages in the book-format, Dombey and Son is Dickens’ longest novel. The son in the title is actually a daughter, which is what originally piqued my interest. There are two strong women in Dombey and Son---Florence, the daughter Dombey barely acknowledges and will not love, and Edith, his much-deserved cold and proud second wife. The stories of old man Dombey and the two women plus the various other intertwining stories and characters make for the kind of reading you would expect ...more
Laurel Hicks
Dickens' seventh novel is packed with memorable characters. My favorite, I think, is Captain Cuttle, though perhaps he ties with the amiable and devoted Mr. Toots.
Rebecca
Resonate. Alas.

*shakes fist at urchin adolescence*
Jocco
Bloody brilliant. One of my favourite books ever.
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Mar 04, 2012 Susanna - Censored by GoodReads rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Susanna - Censored by GoodReads by: my mother
Paul Dombey, Sr., is a real piece of work!
Ross
Audio book version narrated by Fredrick Davidson, definitely recommended. You need to
have a lot of time available, however, since it runs to more than 40 hours.
This is a very large book, like "David Copperfield," because Dickens was being paid by the
word. The original publications were monthly magazine serials.
Also like "David Copperfield" this work is basically a farce with here an added important
element of satire of the portion of the English Bourgeoisie that the French would call
the Nouveau
...more
Lena
This was the best book choice for Christmas holidays. I immensly enjoyed it. What I liked best was that the main character was in the gray area. Not entirely bad or good. Of course Mr Dombey is a very proud and snob man and can't show a trace of feeling to anyone but at least as we find out in the end he has some. I liked that in the end he learns his lesson and becomes a better person. It makes me feel that there is hope for eveyone. Florence is an angel on earth. Her faith and persevereance ar ...more
Jackie
I haven't read Dickens since Great Expectations in ninth grade, which I hated greatly. Thus I did not relish the idea of reading this monster of a novel for my Victorian Novel class. I was surprised to find myself enjoying it from the very first sentence: 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 constitu ...more
Sullyfitz
Even though I had read many of Dickens' classics (Great Expectations, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Oliver Twist, and Martin Chuzzelwit) I had never heard of this book by Charles Dickens. I was looking for an engrossing tale to listen to on my Ipod and could not have come up with a better one. I downloaded it from audible and have to say that the narrator, David Timson, was fantastic--his ability to create unique voices for each of the odd characters (and in classic Dickens styl ...more
F.R.
Dombey & Son comes from mid-period Dickens, before he wrote his epic books on society like Bleak House and Little Dorrit. There are some parts where he tries to make the points about wealth and poverty across London, but none of it is as searing as in the later books. A lot of it is subsumed by following a buch of characters who are - oddly for Dickens - not very vibrant. There are a few of his stand out grotesques in this novel, certainly none that have lingered in the public imagination.

Th
...more
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239579
A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awarenes ...more
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A Tale of Two Cities Great Expectations A Christmas Carol Oliver Twist David Copperfield

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“If I dropped a tear upon your hand, may it wither it up! If I spoke a gentle word in your hearing, may it deafen you! If I touched you with my lips, may the touch be poison to you! A curse upon this roof that gave me shelter! Sorrow and shame upon your head! Ruin upon all belonging to you!” 23 likes
“Those darling byegone times, Mr Carker,' said Cleopatra, 'with their delicious fortresses, and their dear old dungeons, and their delightful places of torture, and their romantic vengeances, and their picturesque assaults and sieges, and everything that makes life truly charming! How dreadfully we have degenerated!” 9 likes
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