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Nicholas Nickleby
Charles Dickens, Mark Ford

Barnaby Rudge (Penguin Classics)

Barnaby Rudge - John Bowen, Gordon W. Spence, Charles Dickens I bought the complete works of Dickens for my Kindle and I'm working my way through the ones that interest me (and I haven't already read).Barnaby Rudge is, it seems, regarded as one of Dickens' least popular novels, and it's not hard to see why. The plot for the first third of the book wanders and roams, and even the usual delightful bevy of characters that populate Dickens are flat and uninspired.The book only really takes off when describing the Gordon riots of 1780, although the motivations for the riots require a bit of background reading to discover what all this 'No Popery' business is all about (my Kindle book wasn't annotated, and it would really have helped!)The title character has perhaps only the equivalent of a 1/10th of the book devoted to him, and maybe a better title would have been 'The Locksmith', but that's a minor gripe. Barnaby's simple trust in everyone is mercilessly exploited by everyone he meets, and it's only really him and his mother we empathise with. The women in the book - the 'real' ones, that is, not the caricatures like Miss Miggs - are really quite flat and melodramatic, and don't stick with you at all.One for dedicated fans only. Read A Tale of Two Cities; it knocks this out of the park.