Alan Marchant's Reviews > Our Mutual Friend

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
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Jul 19, 09

bookshelves: fiction
Read in November, 2006

The Complete Dickens

Immediately upon starting Dickens' "Our Mutual Friend," I was struck by parallels with Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo." Both big novels revolve around a powerful character who conceals his identity in a complicated plot to obtain social justice. The Count deals with the darker theme of revenge. Our Mutual Friend is an exploration of the corrupting influence of wealth.

The novel is lively throughout, as Dickens displays his tremendous diversity of writing talents. The tone ranges from heavily ironic criticism of upper-class politics and antisemitism, to delicate romance, to witty visual humor. The characterizations are highly original; even those at the extremes of vice and virtue display engaging ideosyncracies.

Most impressive to me was the consistency of Dickens' plot. Our Mutual Friend was written and published in installments, as was The Count of Monte Cristo. But Dickens keeps his story on track throughout, never dropping a character, while Dumas' tale is full of gaps and inconsistencies.
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