Last month, I mentioned that this was a combination read/listen. The CDs remain my constant companions in the car, but there has been very little reading at home. Bleak House has been mostly an audio experience this month. Robert Whitfield's narration is excellent, and I'm turning to my Penguin Classics edition primarily to look up quotes, reread passages, check footnotes, and look at the drawings. But things can, and often do, change... next month I may find myself reading again.
The characters, so far, have been a delight! Even the less likable can bring a smile to my face. I believe Dickens must have had fun with his characters. Take this description of Sir Leicester Dedlock, for example:
"Sir Leicester is generally in a complacent state, and rarely bored. When he has nothing else to do, he can always contemplate his own greatness. It is a considerable advantage to a man, to have so inexhaustible a subject. After reading his letters, he leans back in his corner of the carriage, and generally reviews his importance to society." (page 183)
And then there is this description of Lady Dedlock:
"Lady Dedlock is always the same exhausted deity, surrounded by worshippers, and terribly bored to death, even while presiding at her own shrine." (page 196)
The passage continues with a bit about Mr. Tulkinghorn, and a hint of suspense and intrigue to follow:
"Mr. Tulkinghorn is always the same speechless repository of noble confidences: so oddly out of place, and yet so perfectly at home. They [Lady Dedlock and Tulkinghorn] appear to take as little note of one another, as any two people enclosed within the same two walls, could. But, whether each evermore watches and suspects the other, evermore mistrustful of some great reservation; whether each is evermore prepared at all points for the other,and never to be taken unawares; what each would give to know how much the other knows - all this is hidden for the time, in their own hearts." (page 196)
I completely trust Dickens to weave the characters and their plot lines together... in his own time. For now, it's enough to meet them all, get to know the principles a bit better, and hear their stories. Esther and Mr. Jarndyce, her guardian, are my favorites at the moment. Stay tuned...
Click over to Amanda's latest update to see how other read-along participants are faring. She has included links to everyone's blog.