The Chimes by Charles Dickens; frontispiece illustrated by Daniel Maclise
Thank you Audible, for giving Richard Armitage fans ( and Audible fans) a free holiday story. That’s the kind of marketing I like. The kind that gives a little something back. From Audible’s point of view, it’s a good teaser for the upcoming David Copperfield and makes customers and fans feel warm and fuzzy.
So, no matter what I think of the story, I appreciate the gesture.
Richard Armitage might have had a blast finding and executing those voices, no doubt making use of some he created for David Copperfield. Still, The narrator was my favorite character/voice.His occasional sarcasm, was a high point for me and I thought I detected some echoes of Francis Dolarhyde, Thorin and John Proctor, usually from the narrator. I personally got a kick out of Armitage speaking again about goblins, dwarves and elves. No dragon this time.
Like Dickens’s prose, the narration is at times overdramatic. Appropriate, though. As usual, after a while, I forgot it was Richard Armitage who I was hearing, until the narrator would come back in. Forgetting it was Richard Armitage was a detriment in this case. I had to constantly remind myself why I was listening to this.
I don’t like Dickens much and I surely didn’t like The Chimes. The only fully developed character was the protagonist,Trotty Veck. I can see why the Dickens contemporary public might have enjoyed it, but I had to use outside sources after the fact to fill in some plot and references , and to understand the full extent of some of the satire . On my own, I had some difficulty sussing out what sin Trotty committed that triggered his episode with the chimes. It seems to boil down to a lack of faith in humanity, or at least his class of humanity.
My familiarity with A Christmas Carol was a sort of spoiler, since I thought I knew what was real or imagined, and I anticipated the ending. I eagerly anticipated the ending.
The Chimes is a much darker work than A Christmas Carol. It lacks the happy, heartwarming scenes that break up and balance the misery in the latter. The dinner scene in the beginning, when Trotty is presented with a hot dinner of tripe, was the lightest part; but in the end, it turned out that figuratively and literally, it was all a bowl of tripe.
David Copperfield is a lot longer. I’ll do it, but I won’t like it.