F.R.'s Reviews > Dombey and Son

Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
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Nov 30, 08


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.

The story largely concerns Mr Dombey and his relationship with his neglected daughter Florence. These are actually two difficult characters to follow, as Dombey is so cold and unbended that it's very difficult to care about his ultimate redemption, while Florence is so ridiculously good and kind (a flaw that also afflicts Twist, Oliver) that it's impossible to see her as anything other than a literary conceit.

I first read this book about five years ago and I picked up largely the same faults then. However, there are passages in this book of tremendous beauty and power - for example the death of the 'son' (Dickens writes passionatly about dead child shock) and the death of the main villian - and like all Dickens it's never a wasted experience.
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