Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens

Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens

Aww. Just awww.

What, you want a longer review? Oh, all right...

Our Mutual Friend is Charles Dickens' last completed novel, and it's long been my favourite. It follows a large cast of characters, from the nouveau-riche Veneerings with their society dinners to old, poor Betty Higden, whose one remaining goal in life is to stay out of the workhouse. All of them are in some way connected to the murder of John Harmon, heir to a massive fortune which on the event of his death passes to the worthy Boffins...and so the story begins, launching us into a London that is rich and poor at the same time, a London where the great river Thames links the destinies of all its citizens, a London rife with greed and hypocrisy and meanness, but also with compassion and friendliness and love.

In every Dickens novel I've ever read, there's inevitably been a character with whom I've fallen in love. Herbert Pocket in Great Expectations, Sam Weller in The Pickwick Papers, Walter Gay in Dombey and Son. In Our Mutual Friend, it's the indolent lawyers Eugene Wrayburn and Mortimer Lightwood. They just make me laugh. All the time. And they're not perfect - they're lazy and often manipulative - but they are real, and gentlemanly, and, well, just hilarious in a sardonic, English way.

This isn't a very coherent review, I realise. Basically, this book is wonderful, if you have the patience for it.