Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Old Curiosity Shop” as Want to Read:
Old Curiosity Shop
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Old Curiosity Shop

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  14,294 Ratings  ·  857 Reviews
The sensational bestselling story of Little Nell, the beautiful child thrown into a shadowy, terrifying world, seems to belong less to the history of the Victorian novel than to folklore, fairy tale, or myth. The sorrows of Nell and her grandfather are offset by Dickens's creation of a dazzling contemporary world inhabited by some of his most brilliantly drawn characters-t ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published April 5th 1995 by Wordsworth Editions (first published 1840)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Old Curiosity Shop, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Julia Macfarlane
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
The Old Curiosity Shop was the most popular of Dickens's novels during his lifetime. Yet now there is perhaps no other novel by him which splits opinion so much. How can that be?

The simple answer is that tastes change. Just as with modern-day fantasy stories the reader has to suspend their disbelief, accepting the basic premise of the magical or dystopian world described, with Dickens one has to "go along with" his unique view of the world. Yes, he was writing about everyday characters and the h
Jason Koivu
Charles Dickens likes to beat the shit out of his main characters. It's like a form of domestic abuse!

Has he beaten the crap out of another character more than poor little Nell from The Old Curiosity Shop? Certainly Pip and Oliver get theirs. But at least with them there's some sort of happy ending or comeuppance for the villains. Like Little Dorrit without the uplifting ending, Nell is flat out beat down. Time and again she is taken advantage of and there is no redemption, not in my eyes. Sure,
Paul Bryant
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels

You have rarely read a novel in which the bad stuff is so so so bad and the good stuff so good and the crunching wrenching sounds of the gear changes between the good bits and the bad bits can be heard from three streets away. Little Nell and her grandfather will revolt modern readers – the former is treated with a religious sanctimoniousness which would make a vicar throw up into the collection plate, and the latter is a gambling addict and depressive
Henry Avila
In the slums of London, in the mid 1800's, on a dirty, lonely, and obscure street, a crumbling house still stands, The Old Curiosity Shop. Inside lives an old man (never named), and his pretty, young granddaughter, Nell Trent, in the back of the building. An older, lazy brother of Nell's, Frederick, is always coming to the house, trying to get some more cash ( he already has wasted, too much), from the grandfather, he needs for his drinking. The almost worthless merchandise the store, has, stran ...more
MJ Nicholls
Not too sentimental. Oscar Wilde was clearly in a bad mood. Boasts the evillest dwarf outside German folklore, the irrepressible Qulip. Cute kid (view spoiler) and her put-upon granddaddy (view spoiler) in King Lear and Cordelia metaphor. A crackerbox of eccentrics: the morally unsure Dick Swiveller, the ruthless Brasses (precursor of the legal vipers in Bleak House), the hero-in-waiting Kit. A rodomontade of freaks and carnies, from Mrs Jarley’s ...more
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excess of Sentimentality
"One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing."
Oscar Wilde

In this third Dickens novel (1841), one can see Dickens stropping his sharp sabre of social satire with the tale of "little" Nell Trent (almost 14) and her emotionally unstable grandfather going on the run across the dismal English countryside to escape the monstrously malevolent Daniel Quilp, a grotesque, hunchbacked dwarf usurer, once gramps runs up a huge debt to Quilp after b
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Another masterful confection of pathos and comic genius, this time featuring such characters as the slacker Dick Swiveler and the cruel Daniel Quilp.

My generic comment about Charles Dickens:
First of all, although I am a partisan of Dickens' writing and have read and relished most his works, I concede to three flaws in his oeuvre that are not insignificant. First, while he seemed to develop an almost endless variety of male social types, his female characters are much less well developed. Second,
Barry Pierce
Dickens, how dare you end the novel like that! MY EMOTIONS YOU PIG-DOG! This was great, really great (obviously, it's Dickens for goodness sake). The story of Little Nell and her grandfather is tragic and beautiful, while Daniel Quilp is an incredibly dastardly Dickensian villain (he's no Bill Sikes though). Read this because it's Dickens and he's a fucking genius.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A Dickensian "Alice in Wonderland"

"Curiosity Shop" vs. "Alice

This novel, serialized in 1840 and 1841, and published as a book in 1841, reminds me in some respects of "Alice in Wonderland" (published in 1865).

Maybe it's that they're both British Victorian novels. Maybe it's the abundance of eccentric (and even lunatic) characters that seems to be the specialty of British novelists of the time. Maybe it's the original (and quite wonderfully demented) illustrations by George Cattermole and Habl
The book itself is okay--(a young girl and her grandfather flee London to escape an evil creditor)--but for me the real fun was reading a story that people got so excited about over 150 years ago. According to Wikipedia, "In 2007, many newspapers claimed the excitement at the release of the last volume of 'The Old Curiosity Shop' was the only historical comparison that could be made to the excitement at the release of the last Harry Potter novel .... Dickens fans were reported to storm the piers ...more
Feb 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm revising my rating because I just don't have good memories of this book. I got a two-volume set from around the 1880s, and decided to read through it; I kinda liked Nell, but it was like slogging through mud for me to get into the story. Well, I made it to the end of the first volume, and by then I'd invested enough time to put it aside, so I gritted my teeth and ploughed into it. I could hardly wait to finish the final chapter, because this villain is utterly bad and was totally creeping me ...more
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am quite worried by this insipid-looking woman on the cover...

So far my favourite character is Whiskers the pony. I'm not sure if that bodes well.

I confess: I abandoned Little Nell. In a drawer, in a B&B in Tobermory. I did however finish the book, after lugging it about since March. I'm afraid my initial reservations were confirmed: Nell was insipid, and Whiskers the pony was ace. Especially as it is reported that his final act was to kick his doctor in his last illness. The doctor is nev
Dec 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian
The Old Curiosity Shop seems the perfect title for this novel, even thought the titular shop hardly features beyond the first few chapters. It's a perfect curio, a ramshackle assortment of strange Dickensian characters and one never knows what one will find from one chapter to the next. There's no overarching plot or purpose, and the novel revolves around a bunch of characters, namely Daniel Quilp, Richard Swiveller, Little Nell and Kit Nubbles - for starters - all vaguely loosely connected, but ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"

"...and so do things pass away, like a tale that is told."

When I started this novel I got all excited, thinking it might be even better than Great Expectations, my favorite Dickens novel to date. What always happens to me with Charles Dickens, though, is that my interest starts to fade about 2/3 of the way through the book. He has many sub-plots going all at once, and he abandons some of them for so long in order to focus on just one. Often the one he favors is the one I'm least interested in,
Ayu Palar
Apr 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
More than a century ago, people were waiting on the docks at New York to ask a question to passengers from England ‘Is Nell dead?’. So influential Old Curiosity Shop to those readers’ lives! And how Little Nell has stolen many readers’ hearts! I adore the novel so much and I do think that Little Nell’s life is tragic, yet I didn’t shed any tear when I closed the last page of the book. There are other elements of the book that attract me more, especially the rich description that successfully bui ...more
More so like a 2.5 star. It’s a bit stereotypical and I felt like Dickens never fully did Nell justice in the end. And the dwarf being the obvious evil dude is also eye roll worthy.
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There’s Little Nell, an orphan, and her grandfather says, “she shall be rich one of these days, and a fine lady.” They are devoted to one another, and as the story unfolds, we see that Nell is the most devoted. The girl cares for the old man, and when they leave the shop she leads him on their journey.
The narrative is full of picturesque and amazing characters, vivid images of city life and nature, with the villains plotting cunningly and the honest people coming to rescue, but not always in ti
A Treacly Treat

Written between the spring of 1840 and the late autumn of 1841 for the weekly serial “Master Humphrey’s Clock”, Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop is utterly blemished by the constraints on a writer’s imagination such a serial publication demands, for the novel is extremely ill-composed, its plot comes out as threadbare and rather pointless, and some of the characters undergo rather improbable changes. In fact, had this been the first Dickens novel I had ever laid eyes on, I would p
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Old Curiosity Shop, Charles Dickens
مغازه عتیقه فروشی
چند فیلم و سریال بر اساس این داستان ساخته شده
Duffy Pratt
Apr 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
Daniel Quilp stands short in stature, but has a large spirit. A dwarf, he has endured the prejudice and the malign intentions of people who judge him solely on his appearance. For example, one character (Kit) says of Quilp that he is uglier than anyone you might pay to see in a circus freak show. Despite the relentless hostility towards him, Quilp, through his intelligence, his energy, and his large spirit, has managed to rise in the ranks of the business world. But even his success does nothing ...more
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for a book club, would not have read it on my own, and in fact I found it a lot more engaging than I expected. Not surprising that this was written to be serialized, and a lot of it is very formulaic. I find that I am reminded of the little girl with a curl right in the middle of her forehead – when she was good she was very very good, and when she was bad she was horrid. The very very good here is Nell, who is so good that she is described as an angel, and apparently is too good to ...more
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Sono tanti i mutamenti che avvengono in pochi anni, e tutto passa come la narrazione di una fiaba".

La bottega dell' antiquario è un negozio di chincaglierie e curiosità che funge solo da scenario al luogo della storia.
Siamo a Londra dove si muovono una serie di personaggi che sono tutti contraddistinti da una grande umanità.
Ciò che sorprende maggiormente di questa vicenda sono i vari personaggi, tra cui spiccano il nonno e la nipote, Nell, che sono legati da un rapporto di amore, fedeltà e l
Mar 11, 2018 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
From BBC radio 4 Extra:
Episode 1 of 5

Deep in debt, Little Nell and her grandfather must flee the evil moneylender Quilp.

Starring Emily Chennery as Nell, Alex Jennings as the Narrator, Trevor Peacock as Grandfather, Phil Daniels as Daniel Quilp and Ben Crowe as Dick Swiveller.

Charles Dickens's fourth novel was published in 1841.

Dramatised in 25 episodes by Mike Walker - Omnibus of episodes 1-5.

Music by Melanie Pappenheim and Anne Wood.

Director: Jeremy Mortimer

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 200
Mikey B.
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Once more I find Dickens to be a story-teller of the first rank, full of zest and a love of life. Almost everything is perfect, but more on this qualification later. The book is so engaging – all the physical and psychological traits of the characters are so well rendered. The images of streets, houses, and the countryside are superb. In a biography of Dickens I read some time ago it was related that he was a massive walker – wandering, sometimes daily, several miles through city streets and cou ...more
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderfully enjoyable book. The classic Dickens formula is put to work: good vs. evil, hardship, the sad reality of real life, the journey, the secret, the bittersweet happy ending. All this equation performed amongst a myriad of extremely colorful characters and scenes so pictographic in description and prose that the landscape seems to pop up out of the book and play out in animation before the eyes. Dickens has such a way with his characters. They are always to the extreme. When the ...more
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this strengthened my opinion that Charles Dickens was a genius at creating memorable characters, but not so skilled at creating plots. Who could ever forget the devilish dwarf Mr. Quilp, the brother and sister lawyers Samson and Sarah Brass, and the kind-hearted rogue Dick Swiveller. The curious thing about the Old Curiosity Shop is that the namesake venue ceases to be location of the story very early on, and the so-called main character Nell is not half as memorable as her supporting ca ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Tačno je da je tu prodavnica. I da je stara. I da u njoj možete naći svakave retkosti. Isto tako je tačno da iz nje sve kreće i da njena sudbina jasno prikazuje sudbinu glavnih likova. Međutim, kako se vrlo lako uvidi nije poenta u tome da je prodavnica stara, već da prodaje starine, retke starine, pa samim tim je primereniji naslov, bar po mojoj proceni, „Prodavnica retkih starina“. Ne zvuči toliko pompezno kao pravi naslov, ali je ipak bliži istini. Za ovu priču i nije preterano, ako je uopšte ...more
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, classic, 2017
Moon Rose
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the beginning was the lonesome shop that creeped in the grimness of the dark like a long standing specter riveted on its haunted spot. It stood isolated and unnoticed amid the light and bustle of the night as it appeared like a stump of some neglected tombstone in a forgotten cemetery left to its own blight. In it were some of the old and curiosity things, of knickknacks, trinkets and stuff, of unwanted items left to rot in their own dust. From which dark corner, two unlikely souls emerged in ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What do you think about this book? 4 22 Jan 17, 2016 11:04AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens 3 21 Jan 05, 2015 06:43AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Different cover 5 28 Jun 24, 2014 11:33AM  
Goodreads Librari...: What to do when ISBNs match but cover doesn't? 6 28 Jun 22, 2014 02:01PM  
Trans-Atlantic Bi...: The Old Curiosity Shop 5 16 Apr 11, 2013 08:23AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Adding a Dickens edition 7 31 Sep 02, 2012 12:26PM  
  • Basil
  • Aurora Floyd
  • Scenes of Clerical Life
  • The Heart of Mid-Lothian
  • Two on a Tower
  • The Newcomes
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
More about Charles Dickens...

Fiction Deals

  • War Brides
    $3.99 $2
  • Bluebeard
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad
    $10.74 $2.99
  • Orphan Train Girl
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Want Not
    $14.95 $2.99
  • Finding Rebecca
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Twelve-Mile Straight
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Cafe by the Sea
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Everybody's Son
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $2
  • The Word Game
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Cats Are Weird: And More Observations
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Wake Up
    $4.99 $2
  • The Way to London: A Novel of World War II
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ask the Dust
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Saving Abby
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Vanessa and Her Sister
    $13.99 $2.99
  • The King's Mistress
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Midnight Sun (The Northern Lights Series, No 3)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Cement Garden (Ian McEwan Series Book 2)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Under the Wide and Starry Sky
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen
    $14.95 $1.99
  • The Cove
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Jailbird
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
    $15.95 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fire by Night
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bagombo Snuff Box
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $3.99 $1.99
  • If I Was Your Girl
    $9.99 $2.99
“It is a pleasant world we live in, sir, a very pleasant world. There are bad people in it, Mr. Richard, but if there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.” 208 likes
“Fan the sinking flame of hilarity with the wing of friendship; and pass the rosy wine.” 16 likes
More quotes…