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Publisher's Summary

The magnificent Richard Armitage (Hamlet: King of Denmark: A Novel) performs The Chimes by Charles Dickens.

This classic story is the second in a series of five Christmas books Dickens was commissioned to write - beginning with A Christmas Carol. A haunting tale set on New Year's Eve, The Chimes tells the story of a poor porter named Trotty Veck who has become disheartened by the state of the world - until he is shown a series of fantastical visions that convince him of the good of humanity. Though much different from and certainly a bit darker than A Christmas Carol, the moral message of The Chimes is equally poignant - touting the importance of compassion, goodwill, and the love of friends and family.

The Chimes was followed by The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and finally The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain.

Public Domain (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Chimes

Average Customer Ratings
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Best Version of "The Chimes" on Audible!

Charles Dickens can be a dark, dark soul and "The Chimes" can be a dark, dark story, depending on who narrates it. But with Armitage at the helm, we don't have to worry.
This is one of three versions I have, and trust me: It's the best! (Really! Dickens on Dickens is downright scary!)
Trotty Veck's soul is tested at the turn of year's end: just what are the poor worth? Are they indeed worthy of being "put down" at every turn as those above him say? As he has come to believe?
One night, he is "killed" and comes to see the future and everything that he believes comes to pass through his beloved daughter. Does she deserve it? It's a painful, painful listen, and with any other narrator besides Richard Armitage, it comes off as heavy-handed. With Armitage, however, it's beautiful and heartfelt.
And the prose! God, how Dickens can write! Every bit of squalor and poverty, of filth and suffering is brought through with his choice of words. It's lyricism at its best. It's genius.
Trust me when I say that perhaps you'll be stuffing a dollar into that bell ringer's tin can outside the store this year. Or that you'll be donating food for the hungry.
Please do...! After all, it's what Trotty and Meg would do.
For more audiobook reviews of all genres (And Christmas ones too!) go to Audiobook Accomplice!

69 people found this helpful

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Only for fans of Dickens

If you're a Dickens fan, this might be worth listening to. I'm not, but I wanted to give him a fair hearing.

It's very wordy and over-written, but occasionally charmingly poetic. It rambles around, taking four hours to tell a story that could easily be told in one.

It uses the same gimmick as A Christmas Carol. A man is shown a possible future somehow, inexplicably, caused by his actions. It makes no sense, though. In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge had obvious bad characteristics and a bitter soul. In The Chimes, Trotty is the exact opposite.

I must compliment Richard Armitage, however. His performance is magnificent. The best narration of an audiobook I've ever heard.

13 people found this helpful

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A most beautiful gift

Thank you so much for this gift of a story. It keeps me company as I sit alone with the dogs. It also gives me hope, as I am poor, that the new year could be better than this last.

38 people found this helpful

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Thanks, Audible!

This is another version of A Christmas Carol. Well, what I mean is that Dickens uses a similar plot device where Trotter (the hero) travels in time and learns a few key lessons about life like Scrooge with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. It's totally five star IF YOU LIKE DICKENS. If you don't, you will find it verbose and slow-moving. But, I do so I really enjoyed it.

Happy New Year to us all!

11 people found this helpful

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I'm a fan, but not this one

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Since this novella has survived the ages I suppose a lot of people liked it but it did not hold my interest. I really tried to follow the story but I kept falling asleep. It was slow moving and the characters were not very interesting. I could not quickly preceive their motives or the point of the story. In the early part of the story one character completely devastated the happiness of a young couple. The purpose of the action was made clear later on but it still was a downer for the listener.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I am currently reader one of Lee Child's books. I like high drama and a faster pace.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Richard Armitage?

He has a wonderful English accent and that was very appropriate for this book. It was that after an hour or two I was bored and couldn't go on.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The characters although dull were very well described and it was easy to find them in your mind's eye. I could also see the church and feel the cold. The church was beautiful and I wanted to see it in real life.

Any additional comments?

I have read David Cooperfield and A Christmas Carol both were excellent books. I have read other works but contemporary artist but this one did not do it for me.

14 people found this helpful

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A Holiday Classic

Charles Dickiens gave us classic stories that taught us valuable lessons at the same time. Narrator Richard Armitage did a superb job of bringing the characters to life and increased the enjoyment of the book. Thank you to Audible for this wonderful Christmas present. I highly recommend this book.

9 people found this helpful

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wonderful audible gift!

Very much enjoyed this complimentary Dickens story. I likely would not have chosen it but am glad to have listened. It's Dickens at his best. reminiscent of Christmas Carol. Thank you!

8 people found this helpful

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Perfect

The performance was perfect. Exactly as i imagined when first read. Recommend this reading very highly

12 people found this helpful

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fantastic

As most Americans, I'm familiar with Dickens mostly through The Christmas Carol. This is not that, but it it quite similar, like a cross between Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful life.
I was unsure what the moral would be right until the moment it was delivered, and that delivery was excellent. A must read. Big thanks to Audible for giving this book as a holiday gift!

11 people found this helpful

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Excellent Performance

Charles Dickens' classic novel is a darker and, I believe, more moving version of A Christmas Carol. Richard Armitage's performance is easily the best I've heard in an audio book. He made each character come alive with his amazing oratory. I definitely recommend this title.

9 people found this helpful

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  • bookylady
  • 03-17-16

Beautifully Read

Any additional comments?

I had never heard of this Dickens' Christmas story before listening to it and now I understand why. The language is very old-fashioned and the 'goblins and ghosts' element is very much in a Victorian style, as I expected. The attitudes of the Victorian gentry towards the poor were, as outlined in the story, very shocking indeed and the story does not have many redeeming features.BUT, the performance of the narrator is very much a high quality one with an interesting range of voices, interpretations of characters and excellent pacing. The book is worth listening to for Richard Armitage's excellent narration - then go and listen to his other audio performances. Every one of them is fantastic.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs. K. Sowden
  • 12-26-15

Beautifully read

I find Charles Dickens quite difficult because of the old fashioned language but Richard Armitage made this tale much more accessible. I really loved all his characterisations and will make sure I listen to all his other narrations. The story is very thought provoking - the representations of the attitudes of some Victorians were truly shocking in places.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lynda Lewis
  • 09-06-21

An afternoon very well spent!

I am a lover of the novels of Charles Dickens and this was the first narration of my Richard Armitage library. It was wonderful, I can't wait to listen to the next one.

1 person found this helpful

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  • TIllytoodle
  • 02-04-20

Beautifully narrated rather eerie, dark little tale

Beautifully narrated by Richard Armitage, as always, but there is a reason you've never heard 'The Chimes' of Dickens; it's rather eerie . Perhaps Dickens had one too many one New Year's Eve when he wrote it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • M K.
  • 12-08-19

typical Dickens...

If you liked 'A Christmas Carol ' then this is not bad and it is very much Dickens at his best....

1 person found this helpful

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  • nought
  • 12-01-19

Lovely tale

Unusual story with typical Charles Dickens
Empathy great characters each with their own
Tale very well read good listen

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-25-22

Little known classic

Beautiful and emotive and by Mr Richard Armitage, who makes the tale come alive. More RCA please audible.

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  • Kez
  • 12-24-21

A superb reading by Richard Armitage

The Chimes was Charles Dickens second Christmas novella following on from the huge success of its predecessor, A Christmas Carol. This story like A Christmas Carol was also written as a vehicle to carry Dickens’ social message.

The Chimes takes place on New Years Eve and concerns Toby "Trotty" Veck, a poor elderly messenger or "ticket-porter,” who comes to believe that he is worthless and
that working-class people are wicked by nature. The working class are only fleetingly shown in A Christmas Carol which mainly concerns a wealthy protagonist in Ebenezer Scrooge. In The Chimes we look through the eyes of those working classes. The Chimes has Dickens’ usual grotesques and in the form of Alderman Cute a man who’s opinions of the poor match those of Scrooge, ‘You see, my friend,’ pursued the Alderman, ‘there’s a great deal of nonsense talked about Want —“hard up,” you know; that’s the phrase, isn’t it? ha! ha! ha! — and I intend to Put it Down. There’s a certain amount of can’t in vogue about Starvation, and I mean to Put it Down. That’s all! Lord bless you,’ said the Alderman, turning to his friends again, ‘you may Put Down anything among this sort of people, if you only know the way to set about it.’

I found The Chimes a more challenging read than A Christmas Carol, it doesn’t flow as easily as Carol, it’s heavier going, pointing the way to Dickens’ later, bigger novels such as Bleak House. It’s also a lot darker than Carol dealing with prostitution, drunkenness, suicide and infanticide. The difficulty in reading Dickens today is that satire requires a knowledge of the people and conditions satirized. This is more so with Chimes (The Chimes is fierce satire). The novel's setting is the 1840s the ‘hungry forties’ which was a period of social and political unrest. The message Dickens is putting out in The Chimes is not a moral one as in Carol but a political one. Because of this The Chimes is a more satisfying read than A Christmas Carol although Carol is the more entertaining.

I have read The Chimes before, and as I have pointed out it is a difficult read. However Richard Armitage’s reading of this on the Audible version is superb, especially his characterization. He brilliantly brings the book to life making it less of a challenge and a lot more entertaining.

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  • Eve
  • 12-20-21

Great narration. Just couldn't get into this

I just couldn't relax into this, the characters and the narration were enjoyable though. I think the slight "magic bells" atmosphere put me off.
I was hoping this might be a new favourite to listen to at this time of year, but for me it is no contender for Scrooge's exploits (and yes I know that has an "other worldly" aspect too of course!!)
I probably should give it another try but not this year.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-06-21

Brilliant

Once again Dickens brings a take that is hard, gritty, confusing but up to date.
Once again Richard Armitage was sublime, his character portrayals, voices and expressions are ( in my opinion) second to none.

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  • vishnu
  • 01-15-22

Such a good reading voice. Loved the book & reader

Loved the reading and the book, reader and the app!!!! Can't wait to start my second book of the year on audible!!!