Death and Mr. Pickwick: A Novel

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Pickwick. One name, two syllables, and a world of influence. The Pickwick Papers, or, as the serialized work was originally titled, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club was by far the most popular work of its time, one that launched the career of writer Charles Dickens into the stratosphere, and the career of illustrator Robert Seymour into an early grave.

Death and Mr. Pickwick is a lavishly detailed, fictionalized account of how The Pickwick Papers came to be. But it’s also a novel about influences and associations, about the many characters, large and small, major and inconsequential, who contribute to a life, a project, or a legacy. This is an epic work about an epic work, one that deftly blurs the line between reporting and storytelling.

Much like any Dickens work, this novel is indulgent in the extreme. Every player, no matter how minor, gets their due, and as a reading experience, at times, it’s exhausting. But it is an impressive, ambitious work that inspires such exhaustion, a novel that aspires to the lofty echelon of “literature,” and very much deserves it.


Reviewed By:

Author Stephen Jarvis
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 816 pages
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date 2015-Jun-23
ISBN 9780374139667
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2015
Category Modern Literature
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