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Our Mutual Friend

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  20,035 Ratings  ·  1,065 Reviews
A satiric masterpiece about the allure and peril of money, Our Mutual Friend revolves around the inheritance of a dust-heap where the rich throw their trash. When the body of John Harmon, the dust-heap’s expected heir, is found in the Thames, fortunes change hands surprisingly, raising to new heights “Noddy” Boffin, a low-born but kindly clerk who becomes “the Golden Dustm ...more
Kindle Edition, 880 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by Public Domain Books (first published November 1865)
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Bill  Kerwin
Jun 15, 2007 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Although not quite the equal of those great late works Bleak House and Little Dorrit, this last completed novel of Charles Dickens has much to recommend it. It is particularly memorable for its symbolism, the way it uses a series of "dust mounds" (huge heterogeneous piles of waste, primarily of cinders and ash, waiting to be recycled as bricks) owned by the "Golden Dustman" to represent great fortunes, their barrenness and avarice, and their harmful effects on an increasingly money-mad society.

Anyone familiar with LOST understands where I'm coming from here, but just in case you're stuck under a rock and have never watched the show (looking at you, Josiah) the above cupcake image is the character, Desmond Hume. Our Mutual Friend is associated with him on the show - it's the one book he claims he will read before he dies and we find later he has named his boat - wait for it - Our Mutual Friend.

With that said, this connection to LOST is absolutely not the reason why I decided to read th
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
In completing Our Mutual Friend, I believe that I may well have just finished reading the finest book written in the English language. One could perhaps argue that the prose of Austen in her novel Emma is more perfect; but the plotting and characters of Dickens in Our Mutual Friend is exquisite. Our Mutual Friend rivals Tolstoy’s War and Peace in breadth, scope, scale, and number of characters; but while War and Peace proceeds forward majestically in a linear fashion; Our Mutual Friend, like Dic ...more
Feb 27, 2012 B0nnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-books
He do the Police in different voices
I will show you fear in a handful of dust
Trash Inc: The Secret Life of Garbage
Our Mutual Friend

What do we have here but mounds of dust - garbage - and an “old rascal who made his money by Dust", who grew rich ‘as a Dust Contractor, and lived in a hollow in a hilly country entirely composed of Dust. On his own small estate the growling old vagabond threw up his own mountain range, like an old volcano, and its geological formation was Dust. Coal-dus
Paul Bryant
Sep 27, 2007 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Before Goodreads, before the Internet (aka the dark ages) I kept a list of Books Read and I've finally added them all in here. On that list is Our Mutual Friend. The title is right there, in my handwriting. So I must have read it. As it is 900 pages long, you would think I'd remember it, but I don't. In fact I had thought it was the one remaining Big Dickens I hadn't read & was saving it for a rainy day, or 90 rainy days. Now I am wondering if I was possibly not sober when I added it to my B ...more
Jul 05, 2016 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
“No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.”

I have certainly been looking at Our Mutual Friend on my TBR shelf for years. He kept shaking my fist at it, muttering “One day, damn you! One day!”

Started July 5th, finished August 20th, that is almost two months. It took so long because it is over 800 pages in length, and I read it mostly it in audiobook format. On my commutes to work, which means no progress most weekends. Towards the end of the book,
MJ Nicholls
Better to read Dickens in week-long rushes—serialised readers, without the aid of Wiki or plot recaps, will have to summon the heroic powers of recall commonly the resource of Victorian bookworms. How torturous to be put on tenterhooks for months as to John Rokesmith’s identity enigma, to think of the vagabond Wegg ruining the sweet old Mr Boffin. Perhaps now, at the end of my Monster Dickens reading, it is pertinent to ask of these novels—page-turners of their day, morally instructional enterta ...more
Grace Tjan
3.5 stars


What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

1. You can use the same adjective 19 times in a short chapter to describe a single character and still be considered a great literary stylist. Yes, I get it, Mr. Dickens: Bella’s adorable father is CHERUBIC.

2. It is perfectly acceptable to deceive your wife-to-be, and even marry her under an assumed identity, for the noble purpose of ascertaining her moral worthiness.

3. Once you are convinced that she is no gold-digger, sh
Lance Greenfield
Feb 06, 2012 Lance Greenfield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-again
I first read Our Mutual Friend when I was thirteen years old, and I awarded it five stars on Goodreads based on my memory of that first read. I always remembered this as my favourite Charles Dickens novel, and I am still strongly of that opinion. If I could award it yet another five stars, I would. This is a classic masterpiece.

Yards of literary analysis has been written about this book over the decades, and I could not possibly compete with those who have written before me. After all, English L
Aug 02, 2008 R. marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I was supertired or Dickens gawt slawppy, but I spent three pages last night thinking I was reading about the inner life of a dinner table the family had nicknamed "Twemlow".

The confusing to passage: There was an innocent piece of dinner-furniture that went upon easy castors and was kept over a livery stable-yard in Duke Street, Saint James's, when not in use, to whom the Veneerings were a source of blind confusion. The name of this article was Twemlow. Being first cousin to Lord
Jan 16, 2016 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
3.5 stars

The way this book started gave me chills. Imagine a dark night in which a young woman is rowing a boat on the Thames, her father, a gruff man, steering the boat as he searches the murky water for drowned bodies that he can rob before tying them to his boat and dragging them to shore to turn them over to the authorities for a fee. The daughter keeps her gaze averted as her father leans over the boat and finally snags a body. He yells at her to watch him, her face a frozen mask as she wat

“This reminds me, Godmother, to ask you a serious question. You are as wise as wise can be (having been brought up by the fairies), and you can tell me this: Is it better to have had a good thing and lost it, or never to have had it?”

At first look, Our Mutual Friend seems to be a brick of a Victorian novel where the themes of family life, marriage, class and money will be treated in a strong fashion. This is correct and yet this description doesn’t even scratch the surface of this amazing boo
Feb 11, 2012 F.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s many a year since I picked up this book, and reading it through it now I did find myself wondering whether this was a favourite of Samuel Beckett’s. After all it’s the novel with three large dust piles sat in a yard - which may, or may not, contain valuables - and a one legged, ‘literary’ man who scours through them. (It is certainly echoed in ‘Happy Days’). Furthermore there is a young/old, tiny and crippled maker of clothes for dolls, and a character with a death-like name who – as his ho ...more
Feb 10, 2011 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The white face of the winter day came sluggishly on, veiled in a frosty mist; and the shadowy ships in the river slowly changed to black substances; and the sun, blood-red on the eastern marshes behind dark masts and yards, seemed filled with the ruins of a forest it had set on fire.

Seven months of nibbles, most of these clusters, all braced with serious efforts to remember characters, enlisting wikipedia and rereading, rather often, entire chapters. I'm glad I read such, though I felt most of t
Henry Avila
May 15, 2012 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
April (Aprilius Maximus)
DNF at 33% coz I almost fell asleep every time I read this. BOR-ING.
I wasn’t sure that I was going to review this novel at all, because it’s such a novel. It’s intimidating enough to look at, let alone to read, let alone to write about.
This decision, upon whether I would write a review for it or not, was pending…until I struck upon the following…

“ ‘One of Mr. Dancer’s richest escretoires was found to be a dung heap in the cow house; a sum but little short of two thousand five hundred pounds was contained in this rich piece of manure.’ ”

Well, as I toppled over,
Although it is probably an impossible question to answer, if anyone asks me 'what is the best book you have ever read?', my answer is always Our Mutual Friend. I have read it three times, and you really should read it at least once!

I've recently completed my fourth reading of this, my favourite book of all time....
I've enjoyed it every bit as much this time around.....I love the story itself, the messages it gives about avarice, jealousy, pride, snobbery and greed, and about the dangers of putti
Ayu Palar
Feb 21, 2009 Ayu Palar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sherien, Sindro, Dini, Boof
As Dickens got older, his novels were getting gloomier, either the themes or the tones. In Our Mutual Friend, the readers are taken to the dark side of Victorian society. And by dark, I do not always mean the world of the working class. In fact, here we’re served with the high class society, whose obsession with money disgusts me as the reader. Come to the dinner table of Mr. Veneering and you’ll know what I mean.

The main plot (since there are a couple of plots here) is about a gentleman named J
Ahmad Sharabiani
Our Mutual Friend (In Two Volumes), Charles Dickens
عنوان: دوست مشترک ما - دورۀ دوجلدی؛ نویسنده: چارلز دیکنز؛مترجم: عبدالحسین شریفیان؛ تهران، نگاه، 1369؛ در دو جلد، 1031 ص؛ چاپ جلد دوم 1370؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن 19 م
پدر «جان هارمون» مرد بسیار ثروتمند فوت کرده، و همه دارایی برای پسر به ارث گذاشته به شرطی که او با دختری زیبا به نام «بلا» ازدواج کند، در غیر این صورت ثروت به «بافرها» یعنی خدمتکارهای خانه میرسد. همه فکر میکنند «جان» مرده و این فرصتی است تا او همه چیز را از نزدیک زیر
Valentina  Vetere
Bello bello bello!

L'ultimo lavoro compiuto, prima della morte, del vecchio Charles è, a detta di molti, il romanzo che gli conferisce il diritto di essere annoverato, al pari di Shakespeare, tra i più grandi autori britannici della Storia.
Dickens è noto universalmente per i suoi romanzi sociali e di formazione, e "Il nostro comune amico" non fa eccezione, e in più porta con sé un giallo, una morte misteriosa..
Questa volta è molto difficile recensire senza svelarne la trama.
Accanto a dei netti
Witty, insightful, dense, political, intrigue, many characters all form together to make what could be argued as Dicken's best novel; it was his last. One must read carefully to mine the brilliant witticisms, and bear in mind that this was written first as a Victorian serial. There are plenty of characters to keep straight, and some twists and turns that can be rather unexpected but part of the fun of reading Dickens.

Initially I have this 4 stars, but the more I sit back and think about it, the
Along with the usual(I find hilarious)Dickensian caricatures, this book contains one of my most passionate literary crushes, Mr. Eugene Wrayburn. I love Dickens and enjoy novels, but I've rarely wished so much that I could meet a character in real life. Eugene is hilarious and suffers from ennui, observe: "'Generally, I confess myself a man to be doubted,' returned Eugene, coolly, 'for all that.' 'Why are you?' asked the sharp Miss Wren. 'Because, my dear,' said the airy Eugene, 'I am a bad idle ...more
Nancy Oakes
First: a word of warning: if you are intending to read the Modern Library Edition of this book (the one I own), do NOT read the introduction first! I did and I was incredibly sorry, because it gives away the show as far as the "mystery" part of this book. OH! I was SOOOO disappointed and I couldn't believe anyone would do that right at the front of the book. So now I have a new practice: I will only read introductions at the end.

Second: Who would like this book? Well, it's one that readers of Di
Sep 10, 2007 Burt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of language
I started by listening to this book on my iPod via audiobooks. The story is so complex and the language so achingly well done that I finally bought it just to look at the words because hearing them is not enough.

Reading them is better. I believe this is Dickens' last work; it may well be his best. It's long (the guy was paid by the word) but, like all his works, it is well worth the effort.
Jan 08, 2016 Geoff marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm gonna read some Dickens this year for reals.
Jun 23, 2015 Leslie rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, classics, british
4.5 stars.

I would have given this 5 stars except that there were certain passages (too many in my opinion) which were too obviously Dickens getting on his soapbox and not really relevant to the story. Dickens does this in most (all?) of his novels and I have often enjoyed the sarcastic wit in these asides but for some reason, I found them less funny and more bitter in this novel & therefore less enjoyable. (I will try to track down some examples to include here later)

The plot itself I loved.
Apr 26, 2012 karen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
i am horrible. i meant to read this on my vacation, but i got 100 pages in and then there was drinking and i was reading it... compromised and then the week after that, i got the flu or something, and for the past few weeks i have been so involved in a slow nervous breakdown, that i have not picked this up since then. i am going to re-start this after ALA, and everything will be good with a clean slate and i won't feel so much guilt over my short attention span.

i suck.
“They were all silent for a long while. As it got to be flood-tide, and the water came nearer to them, noises on the river became more frequent, and they listened more. To the turning of steam-paddles, to the clinking of iron chain, to the creaking of blocks, to the measured working of oars, to the occasional violent barking of some passing dog on shipboard, who seemed to scent them lying in their hiding place. The night was not so dark but that, besides the lights at bows and mastheads gliding
Duffy Pratt
Apr 25, 2010 Duffy Pratt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
Not quite as good as Little Dorritt or Bleak House, but very much in the same vein, and I liked this one way more than Barnaby Rudge, or Dombey and Son, or The Old Curiosity Shop. It's Dickens at very close to his best: heavy handed, overblown, and brilliant.

We start by following a father and daughter who make their living by fishing dead bodies out of the Thames and robbing them. The father, mind you, has principles. He only robs the dead, and would never think of robbing the living. For a whi
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Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and sho ...more
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“And O there are days in this life, worth life and worth death.” 1848 likes
“No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.” 506 likes
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