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  • Oliver Twist

  • The Audible Dickens Collection
  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Pryce
  • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (473 ratings)

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Oliver Twist

By: Charles Dickens
Narrated by: Jonathan Pryce
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Summary

This Audible Exclusive production revisits one of Dickens' most popular novels: Oliver Twist, narrated by internationally acclaimed, award-winning actor Jonathan Pryce. 

Part of the Dickens Collection, an exclusive series of unmissable performances, Oliver Twist is a gleaming example of the genius and foresight of Charles Dickens.   

When young orphan, Oliver Twist, is sold into an apprenticeship with an undertaker, he leaves behind years of miserable servitude and mistreatment at an English workhouse. Hoping to move on to better things, he decides to escape his new, equally dreary surroundings and head to London.  

It is there that the novel unravels as Oliver meets a host of larger-than-life characters, including The Artful Dodger, a high-ranking member of a juvenile pickpocketing gang, and their elderly leader, Fagin. 

Desperate for affection and the sense of belonging that he has never known, Oliver unwittingly throws himself into a life of petty theft, which soon takes a violent turn with the introduction of one of Dickens' most terrifying characters, Bill Sikes. 

Exposing the cruel and inhumane treatment of orphans in 19th-century England, Dickens created one of the most significant social novels of all time. With it, he condemned the establishment for neglecting homeless children and leaving them vulnerable to recruiters who would exploit and abuse them. Oliver Twist cemented Dickens’ reputation as one of the most talented, influential and revolutionary of English authors.    

Following his father’s incarceration, Charles Dickens had to abandon his studies at a young age and set to work in a factory so as to support himself. Despite his short-lived education, Dickens went on to write 15 novels, various articles, novellas and short stories. He lectured and led campaigns for children's rights and education and arguably became the ultimate self-made man.

Jonathan Pryce is an award-winning actor of the stage and screen. He is best known for Brazil, Glengarry Glen Ross, Evita, Tomorrow Never Dies, and the Pirates of the Caribbean series as well as his widely recognised performances as High Sparrow in HBO’s Game of Thrones and Cardinal Wolsey in BBC’s Wolf Hall

Jonathan most recently starred opposite Glenn Close in the critically acclaimed film The Wife, directed by Björn Runge. He can soon be seen as Don Quixote in Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and in the upcoming Netflix feature film The Pope, directed by Fernando Meirelles, in which he stars as Pope Francis opposite Anthony Hopkins.

Public Domain (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

Behind the scenes with Jonathan Pryce

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What listeners say about Oliver Twist

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A brilliant rendition of an absorbing book.

As with most of Dickens, his novels are full of characters. Jonathan Pryce bring the to life superbly even the most minor ones. I congratulate him.

5 people found this helpful

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Not for me

I found it hard to listen to... then he said and he said and someone else said... Rrrrrrrr!

3 people found this helpful

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If you’ve seen the musical, you know nothing

Bleak, telling, romantic and if it were not for Eliza Davis, outright racist, this is a story worth knowing.

A vivid depiction of its era and values, with characters and themes which are both timeless and oft referenced.

It meanders in the second half of the second act, perhaps a victim of Dickens’ penchant for serialisation. Did he forget his propagandist? Still all come good in the end. And Fagin, despite the visceral hatred of both audience and author; concludes as perhaps the most interesting and relatable of Dickens’ characters.

Jonathan Pryce’s performance is beyond excellent; it perseveres, engaging one as if you were present in the room.

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Long, unfocused and dull

When I purchased this classic, I was very surprised to see it was 18h long. How could the story I know really take that long. Turns out the story I know is just one small part of the larger Oliver Twist narrative.

This book was long, very unfocused and frankly dull passed the 6 hour mark. Dickens jumps between seemingly unrelated characters on a whim, and makes decisions with the plot and pacing that often feel like they are going no where. While there are some likable characters, they are either left behind (as is The Artful Dodger), or find themselves neutered in ability and interest.

Where the book shines is in Dickens's prose and descriptions of England and London. Sadly, it does not make up for the poor storytelling.

Jonathan Pryce delivers a good performance, it's just a shame it's let down by the material.

Skip this one, or grab an abridged version.

2 people found this helpful

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A truly gripping story

The story is familiar to many through film and TV but it is only when you hear it word for word as written that the power and depth of the tale of Oliver comes to life, the narration brings real life to the characters and this very moving and sometimes tragic story demonstrates the true talent of Charles Dickens as a story teller.

2 people found this helpful

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How to rate such hate?

I am so torn with this. It is quite right, that Dickens should write this story, lest we forget the evils of the past and never return to the time of the workhouse. So first, I am going to discuss the merits of the book.

The tension, regardless of the length of the book, was maintained throughout. I rooted for Oliver from the get-go and the tension Dickens maintained was the need to see Oliver safely into adulthood, which at many, many times became damned unlikely.
The story is well written. I have no doubt that it is true to the life of the time. The characters become alive in a way only a truly great artist can accomplish. We all love Oliver, Mr Brownlow and Rose. While in equal part hating Fagin, Sykes, and on occasion Nancy.
Well written. Interesting. But...

I hated the story. I hated being party to the abuse of a small child. I hated those who had it in their power to at the very least not harm him, but still did so. There were several times I nearly switched the book off. It was merely the need to know Oliver's outcome that kept me listening. As Dickens intended.
I hated that Nancy wouldn't leave Sykes. I hated that Fagin's boy's couldn't be just that. Boys. I hated the squalor and filth that Dickens' description brought so vividly to my consciousness that at times I thought I could smell Sykes's bad breath.

Above all that though was the term 'The Jew'. It was always phrased as an insult. As if his badness came from being Jewish, and it rattled me as much as the child abuse. It incensed me so much I felt pity for Fagin. For all the things we should hate him, his race is NOT one of them. He was not bad because he was Jewish, he was just a wicked man, and would have been cruel no matter what his ancestry was. I understand that we need to see history in this context, so that we might never repeat it, but I just can't stand race hate and antisemitism. It was most certainly not the excellent oratory of Jonathan Pryce, but every time the phrase was used, I had to swallow down bile.

Jonathan Pryce brought all the characters to life most excellently. Especially Fagin and Mr Brownlow.

I will not, as long as I live, ever re-read this book. Nor will I watch the movie Oliver, or attend the theater to see the play or a musical. I had not fully comprehended the truth behind this book, as I had never read it, but who in their right mind would make a song and dance about such a vile story? It is not fun. It is not romantic. It is however an essential read, if only to take a glimpse into the hell that was life for poor people in Victorian England, to ensure the vile occurrences of the past do not repeat.

So to sum up. Absolutely bl**dy spellbinding in its horribleness.

1 person found this helpful

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more Dickens genius

who hasn't seen the film or read the book on Oliver Twist but the superb portrayal by Jonathan Pryce brought a new level of enjoyment to me as I walked the streets during lockdown. brilliantly done.

1 person found this helpful

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wonderful narrator

We all know the story so well and Jonathan Price,s superb reading brought it to life.Excellent!

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Brilliant

The best narrated thing I’ve listened to on Audible so far. Jonathan Pryce is amazing.

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Superb

J Pryce’s excellent narration brought the whole book to life a non put downer by golly did I enjoy well worth a credit

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  • victor j chriest
  • 27-12-20

Narration

I have listened to many books over the years I have been with audible and never had I experienced such wonderful narration. Jonathan Price voiced the characters perfectly. I had no trouble understanding what character was speaking. Each character had his or her voice and peculiarly which made it very easy to relax and get lost in the book. Well done!

6 people found this helpful

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  • robert
  • 22-09-20

A classic tale and masterful performance!

Jonathan Pryce's performance is equal to the task of Dickens' colorful characters. I enjoyed every minute.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jane
  • 23-01-22

Jonathan Pryce is a one man broadway show

Jonathan Pryce does not simply read this; he performs it. Not in an over acting way, or even with extra sound effects of any kind. He created with his tones, tempo, and voice complete characters for my imagination which made the story quite vivid and so easy to follow. I’ve read many of Dicken’s books but I’m inclined now to look for more read by Jonathan Pryce. The story of course, is a classic and much fuller and darker than it’s musical versions which I’ve also enjoyed over the years. This by far my favorite Audible book experience.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-12-21

Amazing performance

Pryce does a wonderful job portraying multiple different voices. Dickens is incredibly loquacious so the story drags on at times. It’s also much darker than I anticipated. However it’s a lovely story in the end and I enjoyed the experience overall.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kid at Heart
  • 10-01-21

Jonathan Price is my new favorite narrator!

Everyone has heard of Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist. But, have you heard it masterfully performed by Jonathan Price? This telling was exquisite in every definition of the word. Price's skill as an actor brought to life each character. I will be a forever fan and am on the hunt for another novel he has narrated. Just superb!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mary
  • 07-12-20

Narrator was perfect

Classic story as it is, it was the narrator’s performance that truly made it worth the investment in time to revisit the timeless story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alina
  • 21-09-20

indeed

love it after a well vocal voice rells it to again i see why it is a story of love of hope and forgiveness

1 person found this helpful

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  • ramseygirl
  • 28-03-23

Love and 2nd Chances

I cannot believe I waited this long to read(listen) to this Classic Masterpiece!

I have always known the highlights of Oliver Twist. I knew he was an orphan, that he was tricked into being a thief because his need to survive. But that was about it.

Meeting all the other characters was like finding the lost puzzle pieces that finally brought the whole picture together.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Jonathon Pryce tell the story of poor Oliver. The only thing I wish, if something could be changed, would be for his voices of the different male characters to more detectable. At times it was hard to differentiate between the “gentlemen” he was voicing. With that being said, everything else about this book was absolutely wonderful!

I would definitely tell anyone that was thinking about listening to this book to do it! It’s never too late to read, or listen to a Classic Masterpiece!

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  • Chuck
  • 27-03-23

Great story! Great performance!

Oliver Twist is one of my favorite stories. It still holds up today. I've listened to other performers and they're all good, but this one is certainly top notch. I'd recommend it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-03-23

Oliver Twist - Classic Reading of the Classic Story

Absolutely superb listening experience! Jonathan Pryce’s reading of Charles Dickens’ classic tale could not have been better! You’ll be amazed at his dexterity in character voices - he jumps around conversations between a child, a ruffian bloke, a commoner woman, a cultured gentleman, and a refined lady with such speed and realism that you are just sucked right into the conversation yourself. Coupled with his incredible intonation of the narrative details, you almost forget that you are not in the room right beside the characters! So good…just so very good! Anyone who loves a great story full of suspense and emotions will love this one! If you’ve never read classic literature, this one would be a great introduction to the genius of these authors of a bygone era!