Claire Tomalin, Charles Dickens: A Life
Thanks to Geoffrey and Rachel Paul
There is a great deal of interest in Charles Dickens this year, the bicentenary of his birth. Claire Tomalin’s biography is a remarkable contribution to this, combining academic rigour, engaging narrative and penetrating analysis. It is extraordinary in its scope, leaving the reader with a holistic picture of the great, albeit flawed, author. Tomalin manages to make a long, detailed work absorbing – it actually reads like a novel and certainly moves at a faster pace than an average Dickens. I found her portrayal of Dickens’s memory and attention to detail especially interesting – she gives the impression that apart from his obvious literary capabilities, he often wrote about small but endearing quirks in people he had once come across. A really memorable work, one I intend to reread.