When John Harmon—who has been left a fortune if he will marry the girl his miserly father chose for him—is found floating dead in the Thames, he sets in motion a story overflowing with cases of deception and mistaken identity, of murder and attempted murder, of sin and redemption. The influence of the notorious Harmon inheritance ripples through a large cast of vividly drawn characters from every level of society, including Noddy Boffin, known as “the Golden Dustman”; the one-legged villain Silas Wegg; willful Bella Wilfer; saintly Lizzie Hexam; the sharp-witted doll’s dressmaker Jenny Wren; the social-climbing Veneerings; the ruthless speculator Fascination Fledgeby; and the river-scavenging corpse robbers Gaffer Hexam and Rogue Riderhood. Out of this flurry of invention Dickens creates in Our Mutual Friend a portrait of a city and a civilization that is at once indignant, compassionate, and utterly unforgettable.
Charles Dickens’s last completed novel features one of his most surreal and haunting visions of London, shadowed by towering dust heaps that supply the corrupting riches at the heart of the plot and washed by the dark river that winds its way insistently through the story.
This edition reprints the original Everyman’s preface by G. K. Chesterton and features forty illustrations by Marcus Stone.
“The fact that Dickens is always thought of as a caricaturist, although he was constantly trying to be something else, is perhaps the surest mark of his genius.” —George Orwell