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Publisher's Summary

This edition of The Pickwick Papers features an exclusive introduction, written and narrated by Neil Gaiman.  

This Audible Exclusive retelling of Charles Dickens’ first novel, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, or as we now know it, The Pickwick Papers, is brought expertly to life by multi-award-winning actor Rory Kinnear.

A huge success, The Pickwick Papers catapulted young Dickens to fame and sold over 40,000 copies by the release of the last instalment. Stage adaptations were soon performed and merchandise quickly sold out to a public who dreamed of owning their own Pickwick cigars, song books and china figurines. 

About the book

When Samuel Pickwick decides to establish and preside over a travelling society, he unknowingly brings together three of the oddest men in all of London: Tracy Tupman, the loveless self-professed ladies’ man, Augustus Snodgrass, the poet who’s never put pen to paper, and Nathaniel Winkle, the endlessly clumsy sportsman. 

Introductions made and plans established, the ‘Pickwickians’ set off in search of new adventures outside of the confines of the city. Along with a host of other colourful Dickensian characters such as Mr Pickwick’s love-struck landlady, Mrs Bardell, and his trusty sidekick, Sam Weller. 

The Pickwick Papers manages to both move and amuse the listener as the protagonists find themselves in a whole host of bizarre situations they had not bargained for. 

About the author

With his father incarcerated, Charles Dickens had to abandon his studies at a young age and worked in a factory to support himself. Despite his short-lived education, Dickens went on to write 15 novels, various articles, novellas and short stories. He lectured and led campaigns for children's rights and education and arguably became the ultimate self-made man. Dickens had strong values, and they pervade The Pickwick Papers, which is not only one of his most comical texts but one in which he lays the groundwork for future satires expressing his deep-felt discontent with Victorian values. 

About the narrator

Rory Kinnear is an award-winning actor for his work both on stage and on screen. He is known for his portrayal of Bill Tanner in the James Bond films and is also recognisable for his television work including Black Mirror and Count Arthur Strong. His audiobook credits include Anthony Horowitz’s The Word Is Murder, Nutshell by Ian McEwan, and now this fantastic version of The Pickwick Papers.

Public Domain (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Pickwick Papers

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  • Tad Davis
  • 26-12-2019

Done with gusto

Audible started listing this title months before it first appeared. I wasn't familiar with Rory Kinnear’s work, so I didn't know what to expect. Having listened to it now, I’m happy to say that Kinnear is a brilliant narrator, and the symphony of voices he employs here is masterful. I do have one (very small) reservation, which I'll get to shortly. The Pickwick Papers is one of my favorite works of Dickens: just thinking about reading it makes me smile. Rory Kinnear does it justice. The novel starts off with a series of loosely-connected comic episodes, originally intended to accompany a set of commissioned illustrations. As Neil Gaiman points out in his introduction, this was Dickens’ first novel, and you can see his skill expanding and his sympathies deepening as he writes. His haphazard structure eventually develops a plot without sacrificing the wonderful characters. Everyone gets his moment, even Jingle, the actor, cad, and con-man. Episodic it may be, but Dickens has an unerring instinct for picking up each thread of the story at exactly the right moment. It’s not all sweetness and light. Long before the main plot takes a serious turn, Dickens gives us glimpses of life on the other side. At several points, he pauses the action to record a traveler’s tale, usually a grim or spooky one: the death of an actor in abject poverty; the tragic career of a son who turns to crime and breaks his mother’s heart. One or two concern a drunken thug who beats his wife — a dress rehearsal, possibly, for Bill Sykes. Pickwick Papers is a comic masterpiece, but it’s not an unclouded one. Kinnear rises to the challenge. He populates the novel with several dozen voices, each instantly recognizable. His Wellers, father and son, Tony and “Samivel,” are masterpieces: they alone are worth the price of admission. (Already grinning about the book itself, my smile threatened to split my face open whenever one of the Wellers showed up.) Mr Pickwick himself begins as a figure of fun, but by the end of the book he's attained genuine stature and a kind of moral greatness. My one reservation? Depending on whether I was using my “treble” or “bass” earphones, I occasionally had to fiddle with the volume. The treble ones seemed more prone to this. There were times when a moment of almost whispered narration was interrupted by one of the Wellers, who both have voices that “carry.” The book is an international treasure. There are two or three other recordings of the unabridged novel on Audible, all of them excellent. But this one, for me, captures more of Dickens’ comic gusto.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Kim C.
  • 23-10-2019

Wonderful old english story

Rory Kinnears performance is pure perfection! I hope he does many more readings with that voice!

3 people found this helpful

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  • MHGreen
  • 28-05-2020

Rory Kinnear was AWESOME!

Amazing job with multiple voices. Really made this sensational. What a talent! Please do some more Audible books!

2 people found this helpful

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  • libbromus
  • 15-03-2020

Unrelenting hilarity

Rory Kinnear is a marvel. I have gotten so much more out of listening to this story than I EVER would have gotten by reading it. He has given depth and range to characters I will NEVER forget (looking at you Sam Weller (Vellah)). This performance, for it is no mere reading, is well worth your time.

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  • Juli A. Dunn
  • 29-01-2020

A Great Favorite Well-Done

I already had the David Timson reading of this book and loved it. I enjoy Rory Kinnear’s voice so decided to splurge. So. Glad. I. Did. This was brilliantly performed and every bit as enjoyable as Timson’s version. Highly recommended!

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  • Jill F
  • 21-12-2019

Best narrator ever!

This was a long lesson, and if the narrator hadn’t been so good, I might’ve given up. The story was sweet, but not really a plot, just small vignettes knitted together. I’m glad I stuck it out to the end as it was a very sweet conclusion. But iMessage me at there were times when my mind wandered during the story. The narration was amazing. I’m really hoping he branches out and as many other works.

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  • Elsie
  • 24-11-2019

Hip Hip Hurrah

Mr Kinnear brings this classic story to life. Listening to this enriched my experience in a way I never could have anticipated— similar to watching a Shakespeare play brings new depth and meaning to a work only previously read. Dickens was meant to be read out loud, and how lucky are we that this incredibly talented actor is around to bring humor, pathos, and an occasional wink to this timeless chronicle.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Paula Connolly
  • 28-07-2020

Excellent

Reawakens the awe and love of Dickens story telling skill. I had forgotten over time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-07-2020

A Wild Ride

It took a little time to get into this. because the characters were numerous but once your head is engaged it runs along with humor and some sadness, adventure and drollery. loved it.

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  • Adam
  • 02-02-2020

Sir! My dear sir!

Justly treasured as one of the finest literary comic masterpieces in the English language, this is a hilarious and unforgettable road trip of a mismatched company of friends, as well as a moving depiction of some of the worst injustices, vices and absurdities of life in Dicken's Britain, all of which he would develop in alter works, such as debtors prison, lawyer sharks, and the nonsense of "so-ciety." Mr Pickwick heads a London club, the purpose of which is to both to entertain and improve its members. We have the young, accident prone Mr Winkle, the amorous Mr Tuppman, and the stalwart Mr Snodgrass as the core members, and we join them in their British travels, on the way encountering mysterious stones, unpredictable horses, lethal shooting parties, mishaps on ice, deadly misunderstandings and duels, and Mr Pickwick's misunderstood approaches to his landlady that lead to the epic lawsuit of Bardell vs Pickwick. It is this story thread that holds the story's darker themes, as we learn of the relentless and unforgiving practices of the the lawyers Dodson and Fogg in the pursuit not of justice, but of enriching themselves at the expense of the people they involve, or who involve them. This is timeless human theme, and no more relevant than today. It leads to moving and disturbing scenes in the Fleet debtors prison, as countless debtors disappear and starve forgotten within its walls. The book strains at the seams with unforgettable supporting characters, such as the redoubtable servant Sam Weller (or "Veller), with his witticisms and Pancho like perseverance and loyalty, Mr Jingle and his servant Job Trotter, arch scoundrels, and many more. The book belies its serial format by containing a number of tales within the tale, narrated by various characters, that range from comic tales, to ghost stories, to fable, to crime. The narration is another standout for Audible's Dicken's Collection. Rory Kinnear is perfect for this, his range and consistency is alike wonderful, and he nails the comic ebullience of the tale. Bravo!

10 people found this helpful

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  • c.g.mobbs
  • 22-04-2020

Superb reading

Much as I enjoyed Miriam Margolyes reading of Bleak House, Rory Kinnear's recording of The Pickwick papers surpasses it. The characters and humour came alive, Old Mr Weller in particular had me laughing out loud. Please Audible can somebody record some of R.S.Surtees novels, Facey Romfords Hounds and Sponges Sporting Tour are of a similar humour to The Pickwick Papers

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-09-2019

Here we go again

What can I say about Pickwick papers? For a start I must confess, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve read this classic masterpiece. Rory Kinnear brings even more delight to the story. Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou. I’ve now another 8 days before my next credit arrives, should make it through again by then.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 09-08-2019

Perfect

One of my favourite books made even better by the wonderful and extremely well judged narration. I'm now going to start listening from the beginning again.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Brig
  • 23-09-2020

Truly great narration of English classic

Loved this recording. Sometimes Dickens can be a little wordy and its easy to fade out a bit if the narration isn't good. Add to that the large cast of characters and confusion sets in. Not with this recording. I loved the different characterisations of the 'cast' and this book definitely a keeper; I can imagine going back to it every couple of years for a not-so-quick Dickens fix. Its quite refreshing not to have to listen to poor narration of neurotic millenials with stress issues.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Tommy b
  • 04-03-2020

Superb

Dickens brought to life. Excellent acting, though some voices a little quiet in the car. Absorbing to permiate its idiosyncrasies into your life, can't wait to listen, buy it, capital idea.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Beth
  • 29-12-2019

Not a fan of the narration

Love the story but not sure about the narration. It started off entertaining enough but the voices soon grated on my ears. No doubt Rory Kinnear is a very talented narrator but alas, his narration here is just not for me.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Trevor Cayless
  • 28-08-2019

A joy from start to finish

Charles Dickens and Rory Kinnear have been the most amusing companions over the past few weeks and I was sorry when this ended. Kinnear's many characterizations deserve the audiobook equivalent of an Oscar, with his Sam Weller in particular a constant pleasure. Do yourself a massive favour and buy this audiobook.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • N. B. Jones
  • 13-10-2019

Pickwick Papers

An engaging and humorous story read with great skill by Rory Kinnear. This reader (performer) makes a complex and rather rambling story easy to follow. His diction is clear and, as a result, some of the obscure Dickensian vocabulary used for atmosphere and comic effect can receive the listener's attention with the need to worry that it may have been misheard.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. J. Moir
  • 07-03-2020

Great listen and well performed.

Very enjoyable. Remarkable for early Dickens 😄😄😄 great listen and loved the narration by rory kinnear

3 people found this helpful

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