Hard Times is Dickens’s most political novel. Set in the industrial north of England, in Coketown, he examines the lives of working people, who are taught by the capitalists Gradgrind and Bounderby to think only of the facts of life and not to indulge in imagination. Gradgrind’s own children have been so educated and as a result are dysfunctional and disconnected from their feelings. Only the travelling circus company of Sleary seems to offer any hope of humanity in Coketown. Hard Times is a deeply moving story written in anger to strike a blow for the victims of the dehumanising processes of industry.
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Would You Paper a Room with Representations of Horses?
This is a wonderful novel, and the narration is mind-blowingly good— every sly joke and beautiful turn of phrase is effortlessly communicated. Besides that, the social critique at the heart of Hard Times seems especially relevant, at this moment.
The reader is astonishingly talented. It's hard to believe he could so easily move between such disparate characters while reading. It makes the listening experience addictive and fun. I'm looking forward to finding more Dickens read by him.
Recording quality is excellent. Well worth the money and time.