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Dombey and Son

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,584 Ratings  ·  402 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
Kindle Edition, 893 pages
Published (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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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dombey and Son is a novel about pride and ambition. Paul Dombey, proud, wealthy, arrogant and frigid, is a man to whom the idea of "Dombey and Son" is paramount. There has always been a "Dombey and Son"; there will always be a "Dombey and Son". It is his whole world, his reason for being. Everything in his life is focused and directed towards this.

The full title of the book is Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son: Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation. Therefore the "son" of the title, alth
Jan 31, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
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
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
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
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
Jun 23, 2015 K. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K. by:
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
Sherwood Smith
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
Paul Bryant
Mar 09, 2012 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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
May 14, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 24, 2010 Jimyanni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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
Webster Bull
Apr 06, 2016 Webster Bull rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This moves near the top of my list of Dickens favorites, to my surprise. I didn't expect "Dombey" to grab me as it did–and right from the start. Centered on the simplest of nuclear families, a widowed father and his two children, Dickens' novel opens out into an enormous human comedy of character and coincidence.

I don't know which is my favorite comic character: the lovelorn Mr. Toots, whose unrequited love for Miss Dombey knows no bounds, though he claims it is "of no consequence"; or the sea-
Jan 10, 2013 Julianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Anna Kļaviņa
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
Feb 09, 2015 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Pride Will Have a Fall

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Duffy Pratt
Sep 16, 2012 Duffy Pratt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
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
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
Nov 14, 2011 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People seeking a return to classic novels' quality
Recommended to Pat by: Newsweek magazine
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
Nancy Burns
Jan 24, 2016 Nancy Burns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Dickens....what more can I say!

My review:
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Mar 04, 2012 Susanna - Censored by GoodReads rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susanna - Censored by GoodReads by: my mother
Paul Dombey, Sr., is a real piece of work!
Ben Dutton
Feb 06, 2012 Ben Dutton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Jun 03, 2011 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This book is intense and, in some ways, very modern.

'Dear me, dear me! To think,' said Miss Tox, bursting out afresh that night, as if her heart were broken, 'that Dombey and Son should be a Daughter after all!' (Chapter 16)
Jenny's Book Life
Jumped a bookish hurdle! Whew!

Finished my Dickens' novel, "Dombey and Son" and have to sit under the spell of it for awhile!!
Husband Michael asked me, "What was the best thing?" I told him: the depth of the characters. A contemporary bestseller just pales in comparison to Dickens's characters, to the incredible way he weaves his story, and to the astonishing...yes, even magical...way he PUTS his images right in your brain with words.
The trendy way to refer to building an extensive 'setting' in a
4 1/2 stars is what I'd like to give... Very Dickensian, which I love, with a large cast of characters & trials and tribulations ending with punishment for the wicked and virtue rewarded.
I can't really tell you much about the story, I just finished the book and was disappointed with how it ended. I could perhaps wait an hour or two before writing my review, but no. This could have been such a great book!

A female protagonist seems unusual from Dickens and it was a very pleasant surprise. The simple family drama that on its own is so simple but told from the inside is exactly that - dramatic.

Parts of it were clearly the material of the century but other parts really pulled it all
Nov 24, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, faves
Resonate. Alas.

*shakes fist at urchin adolescence*
Jun 02, 2015 Jocco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Bloody brilliant. One of my favourite books ever.
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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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“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!” 25 likes
“The two commonest mistakes in judgement ... are, the confounding of shyness with arrogance - a very common mistake indeed - and the not understanding that an obstinate nature exists in a perpetual struggle with itself.” 10 likes
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