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Our Mutual Friend

Charles Dickens

Book Overview: 

Our Mutual Friend begins with an intriguing fortune offered to John Harmon by his late father, a rich dust contractor, in his will.

To receive the money, John must marry a certain Bella Wilfer who he does not know from Eve. He is returning from the exile enforced by his father and confides in a ship’s mate who attempts to murder him. The mate gets killed instead, leaving one inconvenient corpse. Because John is considered dead (the body is found with his papers), the money passes to Mr Boffin, old Harmon’s foreman. Harmon adopts Bella and John comes into his employ disguised as John Rokesmith. Bella does not fall for John but through kindly Boffin’s contrivances learns to hate money and fall for her suitor under his false name. Eventually she learns of his true identity as the Boffins had previously, and the villainous one-legged Silas Wegg’s plot to blackmail Mr Boffin is brought to light.

There is also a story running behind the main plot about a certain Eugene Wrayburn and his love for Lizzie Hexam, and his rival’s attempt to murder him. The two plots are only really connected through the waterside murders but it allows Dickens to indulge in an extremely socially diverse cast of characters.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . present reporting, but that two heads were better than one (especially when the second was Mr Inspector's); and that the reporter meant to share the watch. And forasmuch as crouching under the lee of a hauled-up boat on a night when it blew cold and strong, and when the weather was varied with blasts of hail at times, might be wearisome to amateurs, the reporter closed with the recommendation that the two gentlemen should remain, for a while at any rate, in their present quarters, which were weather-tight and warm.

They were not inclined to dispute this recommendation, but they wanted to know where they could join the watchers when so disposed. Rather than trust to a verbal description of the place, which might mislead, Eugene (with a less weighty sense of personal trouble on him than he usually had) would go out with Mr Inspector, note the spot, and come back.

On the shelving bank of the river, among the slimy stones of a causeway—not the spe. . . Read More

Community Reviews

In completing Our Mutual Friend, I believe that I may well have just finished reading the finest book written in the English language. One could perhaps argue that the prose of Austen in her novel Emma is more perfect; but the plotting and characters of Dickens in Our Mutual Friend is exquisite. Our Mutual Friend rival...more

"And this is the eternal law. For, Evil often stops short at itself and dies with the doer of it; but Good, never."
- Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

Our Mutual Friend (In Two Volumes), Charles Dickens
Our Mutual Friend, written in the years 1864–65, is the last novel completed by Charles Dickens and is one of his most sophisticated works, combining savage satire with social analysis. It centres on, in the words of critic J. Hillis Miller (quo...more

Charles Dickens is one of my favourite authors and I have read fair number of his books. And so far, two have become my favourites; those being David Copperfield and Bleak House . But if I were asked to name my three favourites, none of the Dickens works have made it through, until now. I say...more

¡Terminada la segunda #lcmagrat!
Y oye, muy fan.
Este es uno de esos libros que lo tiene TODO: asesinatos, engaño, misterio, romance, giros sorprendentes y personajes inolvidables.
A estas alturas de su vida la pluma de Charles Dickens no podía estar más afilada ni ser más perfecta, es...more

Well, well, well, my dear Dickens!

It is time for my Christmas letter to you, which I impose on your powerless spirit like a Marley not quite as dead as a doornail, if you please?

Unsurprisingly, I show my consistent inconsistency by telling my son that this is my favourite Dicke...more

I listened to this for the first time on audio. And I know!!! I'm not supposed to do that with first time books because I can't comprehend audio as the first read. I already have the book in my Amazon wishlist.

But! I couldn't stop listening to it because the marrator (Simon Vance) was freaking a...more

Money. Filthy lucre. The love of money may be the root of all evil, but money, whether you like it or not Dickens tells us, is also Our Mutual Friend.

Nothing misses Dickens’s sharp penetrating eye. In this final completed novel he is at his most astute, most bitter, and most brilliantly sardoni...more

Although not quite the equal of those great late works Bleak House and Little Dorrit, this last completed novel of Charles Dickens has much to recommend it. It is particularly memorable for its symbolism, the way it uses a series of "dust mounds" (huge heterogeneous piles of waste, primarily of cinders and a...more

Anyone familiar with LOST understands where I'm coming from here, but just in case you're stuck under a rock and have never watched the show (looking at you, Josiah) the above cupcake image is the character, Desmond Hume. Our Mutual Friend is associated with him on the show - it's the one book he claims...more

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