‘I love Dickens but I'm particularly fond of Nicholas Nickleby… It's one of those books I can just read and reread’ Nigel Havers
When Nicholas’s father dies he, his mother and sister, Kate, are left penniless. To earn his keep, Nicholas becomes a tutor at Dotheboys Hall but soon discovers that the headmaster, Wackford Squeers, is a one eyed tyrant who insists on a harsh regime. Nicholas embarks on an adventure that takes him from loathsome boarding schools to the London stage. Dickens confronts issues of neglect and cruelty in this blackly comic masterpeice.
“The novel has everything: an absorbing melodrama, with a supporting cast of heroes, villains and eccentrics, set in a London where vast wealth and desperate poverty live cheek-by-jow”
Jasper Rees, The Times
“Nicholas Nickleby was a revelation. Here was a school - Dotheboy's Hall, with its grotesque headmaster, Wackford Squeers - which was even worse than the prison camp to which my poor innocent parents had confined me! The story of Dotheboy's Hall seemed horribly familiar - the beatings, the bad food. But here was something to which even a child could respond. As well as being sympathetic to the plight of the children, the author was hilarious”
“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”