But I digress. Sometimes I've fallen behind in the reading/posting, and for this, I apologize. As far as a plot summary goes, if I describe too much at this point, it would spoil it. I'll just say the action has really moved along here -- one of our characters is on a major downward spiral, one is in serious trouble, one is dead, and others are suspected of the crime. Inspector Bucket, one of my favorite characters, had been introduced previously, but now he's really involved in the story. He's one of the first detectives in English literature, if not THE first, which is pretty cool. He may have been inspired in part by an actual detective in Victorian history, Mr. Whicher.
I have to admit that I've never actually read the print version of the book the entire way through -- it's so long, and I have so much else to read, that I've combined the audio and print versions. I'm fortunate that my library has the Naxos audiobook version, narrated by Sean Barrett and Teresa Gallagher, and I think it's just wonderful. Both of them are such great readers, and can do so many voices so well. I'm always amazed when a male reader does a distinctive female voice, and vice versa. With both of these excellent readers, I'm able to tell instantly when Ms. Gallagher is doing Mr. Jarndyce, or Mr. Vholes, or when Mr. Barrett is reading Lady Dedlock's part. There are more than 40 characters in Bleak House (seriously, I once made a list!) and to be able to so many parts so well is real talent. The right reader can make or break an audiobook -- I am quite sure that the audio of Wuthering Heights may have been what ruined it for me.
|Alun Armstrong as Mr. Bucket|
I still have more than 200 pages to go, with a lot of unanswered questions -- who is the murderer? Will everyone learn Lady Dedlock's deep secret? Will the Jarndyce case EVER be settled in Chancery Court? And will Esther find true love? And will someone finally smack Harold Skimpole upside the head? See, I told you it was a Victorian soap opera -- stay tuned for the next episode.