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Great Expectations

Written by: Charles Dickens
Narrated by: Anton Lesser
Length: 19 hrs and 9 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

In this, perhaps Dickens' most profound and personal novel, we are invited to share in the sentimental education of Pip, the poor boy from the village forge who risks losing himself in snobbery and selfishness when he mysteriously inherits a fortune. The story moves from the bleak Kentish marshes of Pip's childhood to a thrilling climax that mingles tragedy and triumph.

Public Domain (P)1996 Naxos AudioBooks Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"We take great joy in recording our conviction that Great Expectations is a masterpiece." (The Atlantic Monthly)

What listeners say about Great Expectations

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  • Bonny
  • 04-07-15

Complex characters and beautiful narration

I started and abandoned another audiobook of Great Expectations a while back. While I found the narration excellent, the beginning of the book, with Pip's terrorizing by the convict and then the abuse by his sister, was just too bleak and intense, and I gave it up. However, I am running out of Dickens, and decided to try Anton Lesser's recording. I am familiar with his acting work on Wolf Hall and Endeavour but had never listened to his narration. It is exquisite. His portrayal of Pip is straightforward, gentle, almost minimalist, very moving, and his voicing of the other characters is varied and marvelous. It was utterly engrossing.

Great Expectations does not contain the comic relief that Dickens used in so many novels. There is so much horror and sadness: Mrs. Joe, the convicts, Orlick, Miss Havisham, but there is also love and tenderness: Joe Gargery, Wemmick and his Aged Parent, Biddy. It's a rich and beautifully-written story, and well worth your time.

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  • Martin
  • 02-03-13

A Worthy Favourite

There's nothing much that Anton Lesser can't do -- from Hamlet to Homer, his performances are always superlative. So he's the ideal narrator for Dickens' best novel, the wide range of vivid characters drawing out all the actor's virtuosity. Three minutes in, the convict appears out of nowhere, the listener is gripped by the neck, and this eerie and enthralling story begins to unfold in lifelike colour.

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  • Sue Koopman
  • 11-07-12

Anton Lesser's narration is amazing

Would you consider the audio edition of Great Expectations to be better than the print version?

Yes... the narration is that good.

What about Anton Lesser’s performance did you like?

His talent for various voices and accents makes the story come alive.

3 people found this helpful

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  • keahi
  • 25-04-12

Dickens paints wonderful imagery with his words.

What made the experience of listening to Great Expectations the most enjoyable?

Anton Lesser is a master of voices and characters.

What did you like best about this story?

Pip's life lessons parallel many of our own youthful misguidance that only straightens itself out as he actually lives life.

Have you listened to any of Anton Lesser’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

no

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  • Bonnie
  • 22-04-12

A superb narration for this classic.

What did you love best about Great Expectations?

Dickens has always provided characters that are memorable; the narration here has managed to truly bring them to life.

Which character – as performed by Anton Lesser – was your favorite?

I can't choose a favorite character in this performance--Mr. Lesser caught them all so very well indeed.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was moved as Pip realized just how much his mysterious benefactor had suffered unduly, and as we watch him fully change his attitudes and turn around his expectations both of other and of himself.

Any additional comments?

A rendition I most firmly recommend by a superb narrator.

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  • XtraBlu
  • 27-05-19

One of the best performances Audible has to offer

If you’re a lover of classics, this version of Great Expectations is one of the best I’ve heard. I had read this book many times and loved it most of my life, but Anton Lesser’s superb performance brought it to life and immersed me in a well-loved story in a way I did not expect. His renditions of the voices of the many characters is utterly realistic and never sounded silly or false. The first person character of Pip is warm and endearingly human for all his foibles and mistakes. This book is one of my top audible titles (out of 100+) due to this absolutely amazing performance.

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  • Kurt Hoffman
  • 15-06-18

Amazing narration performance

I love Anton Lesser’s narrations. I will look for other books read by him (this is my second). His characterizations are amazing and consistent throughout. The realistic and varied voicings flesh out the character whether they be male, female or young,old or poor, privileged. And don’t forget how great this story is. This was my third time reading it. Good job Charles. Good job Anton.

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  • James
  • 23-12-17

What a Performance by Anton Lesser!

Any additional comments?

All I'll say about the book is that it deserves every bit of its reputation. But Anton Lesser's performance is in my Top Five. Listening to the sample doesn't do him justice, at least I don't remember being blown away by it; I usually like male readers with deeper voices with more gravitas. But Lesser's middle-range voice is full of nuance and unsentimental friendliness. His voices for the characters are vivid without being hammy, and he makes such intelligent choices of where to emphasize (not often) and where to emote (even rarer), the result being a calm performance that is never flat. I was never fatigued by his attack, but also never lost interest. It was brilliant and perfect. If you lean towards dry performances that are nevertheless animated and confident whenever it is called for (the word "effortless" comes to mind), you will likely appreciate this one.

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  • Karen
  • 08-04-16

Beautifully performed

Anton Lesser reads this late novel by Dickens beautifully. He excels in his range of voices and accents. Warmly recommended.

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  • Katherine
  • 24-06-15

Love the narration, disliked the book

I just love Anton Lesser as a narrator. He is an amazing reader, with an incredible knack for creating rich characters with just his voice.

On the other hand, I've never cared for Dickens, and his popularity has always been puzzling. This seemed like a good opportunity to see if Mr. Lesser could open the door of Dicken's magic.

As always, Mr. Lesser made magic with his voice. These characters will remain with me as rich individuals. But I still don't understand Dickens' popularity, because the story was not engaging in the least - at least, not for me. Instead, I was simply annoyed by the passive and discontented Pip, who is never happy no matter what life gives him.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Val Waite
  • 02-06-11

Dickens brought to life.

The last time I encountered Dickens was at school (some 40 odd years ago) when our English teacher read Oliver Twist to us and made it come alive. In order to relive this experience I downloaded Great Expectations and was not disappointed. Anton Lesser is an inspired choice as narrator...along with Dickens descriptive talent he made this a magical experience and I want to move on to more of the same.

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  • Derek Thorburn
  • 11-09-15

Best Reading Ever

Where does Great Expectations rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Definitely in my top five.

What about Anton Lesser’s performance did you like?
The beginning where Magwitch leaps out at Pip - he yells.

Any additional comments?
For anyone who wants to start on Dickens, I recommend you choose this book. It's a sudden beginning and you've just got to read until you reach the end. You feel for Pip right the way through, especially in his love for Estella.

Since writing the above, I now listen to my Audible books through Alexa and whilst I was listening to this narration I noticed that Pip mentions the Hubbles being surpassively conceited and vainglorious at his sister's funeral. I didn't know what the word vainglorious meant, so I asked Alexa and I found it meant feeling self-important. It's just great to have a dictionary I can call on now at times when I'm unsure what a certain term means whilst listening to a classic with old English language in it.

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  • Roderic
  • 23-01-14

Dickens and Lesser are a Perfect Combination

Where does Great Expectations rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Equal top with other Dickens/Lesser collaborations and some Virginia Woolf / Juliet Stevenson works.

Which character – as performed by Anton Lesser – was your favourite?

Wemmick, or rather the home and story of Wemmick and the Aged P, is a wonderfully endearing construct.

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  • Mr. T. Whittaker
  • 03-07-12

Great Expectations Fulfilled

Anton Lesser is brilliant at creating the characters Dickens portrays in this wonderful story – he never falters in bring the imagination to life, making me laugh out loud or shed a tear whilst listening to him on the bus - I will listen to this story over and over again. My great expectation was fulfilled. Thank you Mr Lesser.

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  • PMQ
  • 11-08-17

Excellent

A classic Dickens' novel; the narration by Mr Lesser is especially good (as are all his narrations) with a very good range of voices for the different characters. Highly recommended.

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  • Libby Hall
  • 30-07-20

Absolutely superb narration of a great masterpiece

Anton Lesser's narrations are all extraordinary, but this has to be one of his very finest. I have read Great Expectations three or four times in my long life - and only a few months ago I listened to a perfectly reasonable audiobook of it - not then knowing about Lesser's narrations.

Once I had discovered that Lesser was a narrator of astonishing talent, I listened to Great Expectations all over again. I got more out of listening this time than from all my previous experiences of the book. 

Best of all for me were my favourite scenes in all of Dickens. The ones with Wemmick and the Aged P. The voice of the Aged is perfect!  And Miss Havisham is terrifying and Magwitch is heart rending and.... it is simply a masterpiece.

It must have taken an enormous amount of thought and preparation by Anton Lesser.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-04-20

lesser is brilliant

lesser is brilliant.
pace of the story is good but many of the storylines left hanging or closed too quickly

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  • Handserai
  • 12-04-20

Fabulous narration

Anton Lesser brings the energy of the text alive. He is a master of the range of voices and characters required.

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  • andrew cuthbert
  • 08-04-20

Brilliantly read

I enjoyed it very much and congratulate the reader. I shall. Probably want read it again

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  • David
  • 26-09-19

Masterly!

I know the story well as I have read/listened to it many times, but this was the first time I’d heard it read by Anton Lesser. How brilliant is he? What a scary Orlick; what a terrifying Miss Havisham; the latter not the doddery Edith Evans type impression other readers often go for. An absolutely brilliant performance and the book isn’t half bad, either.

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  • Monica O'Brien
  • 05-12-15

Wonderful Narration

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I had great expectations of the story and it met them all ;)