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David Copperfield


I started reading ‘David Copperfield’ a couple of months back. It took me all that time to read the first 200 pages and the last 4 days to read the next 568 pages (in small font). I like to read, but I am not exactly well read. For this, I like to blame lack to free time. My collection of books is extremely small and there is hardly any with more than 500 pages. This one is probably the biggest fiction I have read. I was quite apprehensive before starting it simply because of its size. Any fiction that goes beyond 4-5 days starts to give me pangs of annoyance.

Back when I was in school, I managed to get my hands on an abridged version of ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘Tale of two cities’. I decided to read the original versions some day. I remember I liked them, but I couldn’t recall anything more about the book or the story by the time I grew up. But it stayed as a consistent itch in the back of my head that I was supposed to read the original version of these books. When I started earning three years back, I finally started to spend money on my luxuries, which included books. Somewhere in 2009, I bought three books written by Charles Dickens, which were ‘David Copperfield’, ‘Tale of two cities’ and ‘Oliver Twist’.

But I could not read any of the above back then due to limited free time available to me for reading. I could afford to spend money on books but I couldn’t afford time to actually read them. Besides, these books require more time to read than any other regular work of fiction. First of all, the language used in these books is not easy to follow; it includes some words and phrases which today are hardly ever used in written English and almost extinct in spoken English. Secondly these are written by ‘The Charles Dickens’, who knows how to play with words better than just about anyone else I have read so far and of course the depth of the characters and human emotions explored and expressed by him in his books leaves a deep significant mark on readers, at least on me. One can not breeze through a book written by Charles Dickens. And hence, I knew I will need time and focus when I pick one of these books. I put all three in my to-do checklist for the long break I had planned to take from work.

I started with ‘Tale of two cities’. I still can’t believe I finished it in 4 days. I was so engrossed in the story that I couldn’t put it down despite the difficult language. The story was immensely intriguing; the characters were well defined; and the play of words was inexplicably beautiful. Next on target was Oliver Twist. After this I felt exhausted with the centuries old times and lives of his novels. And the next on list was ‘David Copperfield’; the size itself was enough to make me delay it. I finally picked it up a couple of months back while I was also busy with some part time project I was involved with. Wrong timing; the first 200 pages dragged. This weekend I found myself free from all work and decided to spend some time with my long pending book.

Today afternoon, I finished it. There is obviously the satisfaction of crossing off one item from the checklist. But there is more… in my mind I am still living in the story of David Copperfield; I guess it will take me another day or perhaps another book to get over it. I find it hard to concentrate on anything other than David Copperfield and certain golden moments of the story which couldn’t have been expressed better in any other words or any other form of story telling. I sat down to write my review of the book. And I realized I lack the vocabulary and the ability to put together right words to be able to review a piece of work like this. This book, just like ‘Tale of two cities’, has left me with an unparalleled appreciation and respect for the author. I have always been aware of the hype around the name Charles Dickens but never entirely comprehended it. It is truly deserved and earned. What an immense pleasure it was to read books written by him.