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The Dickens Boy

Narrated by: David Tredinnick
Length: 14 hrs and 41 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (65 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The 10th child of Charles Dickens, Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens, known as Plorn, had consistently proved unable 'to apply himself ' to school or life. So aged 16, he is sent, as his brother Alfred was before him, to Australia. 

Plorn arrives in Melbourne in late 1868 carrying a terrible secret. He has never read a word of his father's work. He is sent out to a 2,000-square-mile station in remotest New South Wales to learn to become a man and a gentleman stockman, from the most diverse and toughest of companions. In the outback he becomes enmeshed with Paakantji, colonists, colonial-born, ex-convicts, ex-soldiers and very few women.

Plorn, unexpectedly, encounters the same veneration of his father and familiarity with Dickens' work in Australia as was rampant in England. Against this backdrop and featuring cricket tournaments, horse-racing, bushrangers, sheep droving, shifty stock and station agents, frontier wars and first encounters with Australian women, Plorn meets extraordinary people and enjoys wonderful adventures as he works to prove himself.

This is Tom Keneally in his most familiar terrain. Taking historical figures and events and reimagining them with verve, compassion and humour. It is a triumph.

©2020 Tom Keneally (P)2020 Penguin Random House Australia

What listeners say about The Dickens Boy

Average Customer Ratings
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Excellant

So excellent the story and the narration was the best ive ever listened to thank you

1 person found this helpful

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Most Enjoyable Tale

Great story of Dickens' sons in 19th century New South Wales, told in Kenneally's great style. Tom just keeps getting better. I noted one minor error in geography but it did not detract from the story. Narration is excellent.

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a great story.

An intricate story which brings the imagined character of Mr Dickens alive. The narrator includes many colourful descriptions of colonial life.

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Great story, beautifully narrated

I was mesmerised by this book. A beautiful story, which evokes the Australian bush themes so well. It has inspired me to read more of both Dickens and Keneally. Highly recommended.

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Highly readable novel based on fact.

I enjoyed Tom Keneally's novel so much I really did not want it to finish. The reading by David Tredinnick is outstanding - apart from doing an amazing array of accents, he keeps the story moving well, without rushing. Keneally knows a lot about Dickens and about Australia in the 19th century, and has included some fascinating information in this novel, while keeping its fictional integrity. It is firmly placed in the NSW outback, in the Wilcannia region, but the characters refer continually to 'the old country' and to Dickens the writer, inevitably - his fame was so great that many of the station hands had read at least one of his novels. One can understand Plorn's despair over his inability to read any of his father's works - but finally he does. This is perhaps the most enjoyable novel I have read, or listened to, in years.

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absorbing account

What an absorbing account of the early jackarooing system of growing up young lads. Authentic.

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Not sure if it is the writing or the narration

Struggled to get past chapter 10. The attempt by the author to write in the style of the 19th century is a good try, but falls short. The narration drags. And the ending is very unsatisfactory.

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Thoroughly enjoyed the tale of Plorn

The coming of age of young 'Plorn' by Tom Keneally is a great listen. Brilliantly narrated, it tells of the struggle for young Dickens as he navigates his way to adulthood and the struggle to prove his worth to his legendary father, and himself. Each listen I found myself transported to the dusty Moonbah station in far western New South Wales, or to the billabongs along the Darling, with the Bonney brothers gently guiding their young apprentice, merinos by the thousands, Waler horses, Captain Starlight, young Connie, Mrs Wivenhoe.. A great yarn from an iconic era. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

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  • P. Thomas
  • 05-09-2020

Not one of Toms best

I as looking forward to this but ultimately disappointed. Well performed as usual and interesting story but not the impact one hopes for from Keneally.