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Hard Times Audiobook

Hard Times

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Publisher's Summary

One of Dicken’s best works appraising English society. Highlights the social and economic pressures of the times. A masterwork.

Public Domain (P)2013 Trout Lake Media

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.8 (4 )
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4.7 (3 )
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Story
4.5 (4 )
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Performance


There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

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  • David
    Halethorpe, MD, United States
    11/03/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gradgrind and M'Choakumchild"

    I first read this in high school - for some reason, our English teacher chose this rather than one of Dickens's better-known novels. I liked it well enough at the time but was not a huge Dickens fan, but some parts of it stuck with me all these years, and in many ways this is the most quintessential Dickens novel.

    With such wonderfully Dickensian names as Thomas Gradgrind and Mr. M'Choakumchild, Hard Times begins by introducing us to Mr. Gradgrind's pedagogical philosophy:

    “You are to be in all things regulated and governed,’ said the gentleman, ‘by fact. We hope to have, before long, a board of fact, composed of commissioners of fact, who will force the people to be a people of fact, and of nothing but fact. You must discard the word Fancy altogether. You have nothing to do with it. You are not to have, in any object of use or ornament, what would be a contradiction in fact. You don’t walk upon flowers in fact; you cannot be allowed to walk upon flowers in carpets. You don’t find that foreign birds and butterflies come and perch upon your crockery; you cannot be permitted to paint foreign birds and butterflies upon your crockery. You never meet with quadrupeds going up and down walls; you must not have quadrupeds represented upon walls. You must use,’ said the gentleman, ‘for all these purposes, combinations and modifications (in primary colours) of mathematical figures which are susceptible of proof and demonstration. This is the new discovery. This is fact. This is taste.”

    Hard Times may also be Dickens' most karmic novel. Gradgrind, the extinguisher of fancy, imagination, and joy, raises two dour children on his regimen of facts and mathematical figures, and sees the results in a way that finally teaches him the error of his thinking, after his daughter has been unhappily married to a much older man and his son has become a dissolute wastrel forced into exile.

    Hard Times refers, by its title, to issues that dominate Dickens's usual social commentary, here being the conflict between the haves (represented by Bounderby) and the have-nots. The main plot revolves around Stephen Blackpool, a decent uncomplaining man who falls afoul of his master, Bounderby, and then gets set up by Thomas Gradgrind junior as the fall guy for his embezzlement scheme.

    Eventually, of course, everything is sorted out, good men are acquitted, nosy old spinsters and pretentious bankers get their come-uppances, pure-hearted Victorian maidens get their (eventual) happy endings, there are Dickens's usual tear-jerker deaths, and lots of wondrous Dickensian prose. Hard Times is one of the author's more obscure novels, but I think it ranks as one of my favorites, maybe just behind David Copperfield and Great Expectations.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Frank
    Stone Mountain, GA, United States
    13/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another Classic"

    No one paints a better visual picture than Dickens. His mastery of the English language is unrivaled.

    At least for me he never disappoints. I'm always sad to finish one of his books.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Aaron
    21/08/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book, but"

    Great book, but it can be hard to follow sometimes. A much easier read than listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Kristi Richardson
    Milwaukie, OR, United States
    20/05/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "With a name like Choakemchild what could go wrong?"
    If you could sum up Hard Times in three words, what would they be?

    Facts or Fun?


    What other book might you compare Hard Times to and why?

    This is very much like Dickens' Oliver Twist but more on the factory workers plight and the parents who thought facts were all important for children in factories and should have little fun time.


    Which character – as performed by Peter Batchelor – was your favorite?

    Louisa Gradgrind Bounderby was the person I identified with and became my favorite character. She married for duty and was extremely unhappy. She falls in love with someone else and almost runs away with him but instead returns home and explains to her father what she has done. Mr. Gradgrind repents his ways and welcomes Louisa home. <br/><br/>Peter Batchelor was a wonderful narrator.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I nearly cried when Louisa returns home and confronts her father. I also loved Sissy Jupe and her devotion to helping Louisa and the rest of the Gradgrind children. This was an interesting family and I loved the kids.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a fairly dark novel and there isn't a really happy ending. The story was well done and I enjoyed the characters.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • .hack//fan
    17/07/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "characters"

    I really liked the characters and performance. story doesn't seem to wrap everything up but almost does for every main character.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Karen L.
    20/02/16
    Overall
    "this narration is a little distracting"

    I long ago read this text, but still can't follow the story clearly. However, I also own the DVD with Alan Bates--only $1.20 now at Amazon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David A. Jones
    Carrollton, TX USA
    14/05/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A somewhat dreary story"
    What disappointed you about Hard Times?

    The story is very depressing and the characters are somewhat lifeless.


    Has Hard Times turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I am on a quest to read all of Charles Dickens' titles so I can get a better impresion of the world that he lived in.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Peter Batchelor?

    The narrator was excellent however it might have improved the story if more narrators were involved (for the women in particular).


    What character would you cut from Hard Times?

    The characters are absolutely necessary to this story.


    Any additional comments?

    Though it is a classic story, I doubt I will be in any hurry to read this selection again.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hopeful1
    SALINA, KS, US
    15/10/16
    Overall
    "Delayed speech"

    The narrator is annoyingly slow. It's as if he felt the need to speak slowly because of an obviously dim witted audience. No thanks.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Eager
    30/03/16
    Overall
    "Bachelor's narration of this classic is pure class"

    Listening to Batchelor narrate this classic novel is like savouring every mouthful of your favourite food.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    16/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very poor narration"

    Very poor narration. Awful attempts at northern accents and a kind of comical tone that distracts from the story. I had to abandon it as he was killing the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • L. Kelly
    22/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pretty good work."

    Peter Bachelor does a fair job of it. The sound is a little low in quality which can be a struggle when some of the less annunciated characters speak. can't complain for the price though.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Martin
    North Walsham, United Kingdom
    14/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Dickens well read...bargan"
    If you could sum up Hard Times in three words, what would they be?

    Thought provoking tale


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Hard Times?

    Mr Sleary


    What about Peter Batchelor’s performance did you like?

    Excellent


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Great story very well read by Peter and what a price.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Clavs
    22/06/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dickens does Dickens"

    Hard Times is an excellent example of Dickens social commentary, it also has the merit of being one of his shortest.

    Set in the fictional Coketown, it follows industrial manufacturers and circus performers in an examination of morality and money, fact and fancy. The hard, emotionless upbringing that Mr Gradgrind insists on for his children impacts the decisions they make as they grow. Dickens is criticising the emerging capitalism of the time and how a life focused purely on money is empty and cold.

    Peter Batchelor gives an average performance. His voice is amazing but he doesn't truly bring the characters to life. Dickens are some of my favourite books to listen to rather than read because of their length and structure, if you wish to get in to Dickens I recommend you start with this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    12/06/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it"

    Narrator is brilliant. the variety of voices is excellent. Easy and enjoyable to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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