by Charles Dickens
Narrated by Richard Armitage
Trotter, a destitute messenger, has often been lured by the sounds of the bell that ring over London. After a particularly difficult day of listening to the elite of the city tear apart the few hopes and happinesses of himself and his nearest and dearest, he is drawn to the bell tower and finding himself long dead at the foot of the tower, is taken on a journey to see the way his daughter’s life is destroyed without his love to sustain her.
This story comes off as a low-rent version of A Christmas Carol. The themes of a man’s impact on the world continue through, as well as the corruption of wealth. Both stories take place at the holidays, although The Chimes takes places on New Years Eve instead of Christmas Eve. Both feature an old mean being taken on a journey by a ghost to see the way things might have been.
The narrator did an excellent job personifying each character as an individual, and particularly excelled at the snobby, wealthy patrons of the city. Not only does he alter his voice, but he changes accents as well, and does a wonderful job capturing the different dialects.
That said… I hated this story.
It felt gloomy, unoriginal, and enraging. Most of Dickens’ stories discuss classism, but this particular tale is made mostly of pompous men telling poor folk they have no right to live. It was frustrating and over-stated. It took up so much of the story that it ceased to be a story and became a ranting slap in the face.
And the ending, after A Christmas Carol, was utterly predictable.
I got this book for free Christmas 2015 from Audible, but I don’t think I would have picked it up otherwise. Studies of Victorian literature and Dickensians should definitely pick up this story, but for the average reader, I’d go with A Christmas Carol and stop there.