Hard Times

9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 10¾ hrs. Naxos Audiobooks. 2011. ISBN 9781843794431. $59.98; 3 CDs. retail ed. abridged. 4 hrs.; digital download. CLASSIC
OrangeReviewStarHard Times is Dickens's most political novel. Taking place in the industrial burg of Coketown, the drama among the characters illustrates the author's view of the dehumanizing effects of industrialization and utilitarianism on the lives of all involved and is essentially a "moral fable" illustrating the principle that one reaps what one sows.
VERDICT Anton Lesser, a classical actor and an award-winning audiobook reader, gives a spirited reading, bringing out the character of each persona—the dictatorial Gradgrind, the pompous Bounderby, and the meek Sissy—with skill and verve. An entertaining and captivating listening experience; all libraries should consider. [See the Dickens roundup, p. 68.—Ed.]
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