‘In the little world in which children have their existence, whosever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice' Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Pip's life as an ordinary country boy is destined to be unexceptional until a chain of mysterious events lead him away from his humble origins and up the social ladder. His efforts to become a London gentleman bring him into contact not just with the upper classes but also with dangerous criminals. His desire to improve himself is matched only by his longing for the icy-hearted Estella, but secrets from the past impede his progress and he has many hard lessons to learn.
"He's a marvellous writer... He's very, very good" - William Trevor
"A story of the traumas of sex and class. My favourite moment is the one where Magwitch makes his stumbling way up the shadowy staircase towards an unnerved but unsuspecting Pip: the halting but inexorable rise of the repressed 'from the darkness beneath'" - Sarah Waters
"This was the author's last great work, the defects in it are as nearly imperceptible as spots on the sun or shadows on a sunlit sea" - Algernon Charles Swinburne
"I would always prefer to go get another Dickens off the shelf than pick up a new book by someone I've not read yet... I love the tradition of Dickens, where even the most minor walk-on characters are twitching and particular and alive" - Donna Tartt
"There is no one Dickens novel I could pick over all the others. Dickens is huge-like the sky. Pick any page of Dickens and it's immediately recognizable as him, yet he might be doing social satire, or farce, or horror, or a psychological study of a murderer-or any combination of these" - Susannah Clarke
Charles Dickens was born in Hampshire on February 7, 1812. His father was a clerk in the navy pay office, who was well paid but often ended up in financial troubles. When Dickens was twelve years old he was send to work in a shoe polish factory because his family had be taken to the debtors' prison.Fagin is named after a boy Dickens disliked at the factory. His career as a writer of fiction started in 1833 when his short stories and essays began to appear in periodicals. The Pickwick Papers, his first commercial success, was published in 1836. In the same year he married the daughter of his friend George Hogarth, Catherine Hogarth. The serialisation of Oliver Twist began in 1837 while The Pickwick Papers was still running. Many other novels followed and The Old Curiosity Shop brought Dickens international fame and he became a celebrity America as well as Britain. He separated from his wife in 1858. Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1870, leaving his last novel, The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, unfinished. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.