The Signalman – Charles Dickens

“There is danger overhanging, somewhere on the Line. Some dreadful calamity will happen.”

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Blurb: “When the narrator of Charles Dickens’ masterful ghost story The Signalman climbs down into lonely railway siding on a whim, he finds himself in ‘as solitary and dismal a place as ever I saw… it struck chill to me, as if I had left the natural world.’ His misgivings turn out to be justified, for the signalman who lives there has a secret, a ghostly visitor who has twice warned him of impending disaster, and now appears again, foretelling a coming catastrophe that neither man can predict or understand.”

Anyone who know me, will know how much I adore Charles Dickens. When I discovered this short story and that it was the last of his works to be written to completion, how could I resist?

In real life, Charles Dickens had a mistress named Ellen Ternan. One day the duo were on board a train when it derailed, leading to the death of ten people. Dickens was greatly affected by the events and experienced symptoms we would recognise in modern day as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He wrote The Signalman a year after the incident and then went on to write The Mystery Of Edwin Drood but died before its completion.

The Signalman is a ghost story about an unnamed narrator who goes down to the tracks one day to see the lonely man who works by the tunnel. Through their conversation, the signalman reveals the strange happenings at his outpost which he believes are a prelude to a fatal accident.

Dickens had a fantastic way of writing gothic and setting up scenes that can’t help but make you feel uncomfortable. It’s just so well thought out (even with the short length) and just a testament to the wonderfully talented writer I know Dickens to be.
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Manga Classics: Great Expectations – Nokman Poon, Crystal S Chan and Stacy King

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Blurb: “Great Expectations has it all: romance, mystery, comedy, and unforgettable characters woven through a gripping rags-to-riches tale. Naive Pip, creepy Miss Haversham, beautifully cold Estella, terrifying Abel Magwitch, and the rest of Dicken’s fantastic cast are perfectly envisioned in this new adaptation in this 300-plus page volume featuring artwork by artist Nokman Poon. Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions.”

*I was sent this book by the publisher but this in no way affects my review*

Without a doubt Great Expectations is one of my favourite books. I was introduced to this book (and Charles Dickens) in High School when we were studying Chapters 1 and 8 in my English class. I instantly fell in love and brought the book as soon as I could. There’s just something about the characters, story and writing that ha stayed with me over the years. So when Undon Entertainment sent me a manga edition of it to review, I was overjoyed.

If you want to read Great Expectations but the idea of tackling Charles Dickens’ wordiness makes you want to run away, then this is the edition for you: a lot of the story is condensed, leaving behind the important plot points to focus on.

The art is utterly beautiful, the design of the characters is so distinctive and just so elegant. Not to mention the scenery images are gorgeous.The only issue I have is that Pip is from a low class background and can’t read or write well, let alone speak at an “acceptable standard” but in this edition, he speaks like someone educated from the very start. I felt like this was out of character.

I’m happy that a manga classics series is allowing more people access to Dickens. And if you’re a manga fan, I highly recommend this!

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