Wednesday 18 January 2023

Mr. Dickens and His Carol

Finished January 13
Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

This debut novel reaches back into the past and focuses on a real historical figure, Charles Dickens. Silva fictionalizes him, changing aspects of his family and timing of his works, but sticks to the larger facts of his life. Following the less popular publishing of Martin Chuzzlewit, Dickens must fulfill a publishing bargain and create a work to be released for Christmas. Dickens is financially stretched, and with his wife planning a large Christmas celebration including generous gifts, his family members repeatedly asking for loans that are never repaid, and his usual charitable giving, he finds himself with a writer's block as well. 
Dickens finds himself reaching back into his own past, haunting old homes and streets, and looking for a muse. When he finds one, he goes through periods of doubt and indecision as he tries to meet the looming deadline. 
I liked how Dickens was brought to life here. He is a person with flaws like we all are, a man who thrives on compliments of his work, who feels that he has been taken for granted by some, and who must reach deep into himself to find the story that will become one of his most popular books and a seasonal classic. 
We also see, through his wanderings the London of his day, the streets and buildings, the people that populate the streets and that dine in the restaurants, how weather affects the behaviour and mood of the city's inhabitants, and still we get a sense of his comfort with the city and his knowledge of all its areas. 
A very enjoyable read. 

No comments:

Post a Comment