Cover image for The final recollections of Charles Dickens : a novel
The final recollections of Charles Dickens : a novel
Hauser, Thomas, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley, California : Counterpoint, [2014]

Physical Description:
161 pages ; 22 cm
"England, 1870: His health failing, his most important work all but done, Charles Dickens is readying himself for the final bed. But there is still one more story that he must tell. As a young journalist just getting his start, Dickens encountered a story that would affect him for the rest of his life. As his "Sketches by Boz" column is just beginning to find acclaim, young Dickens encounters the wealthy and powerful Charles Wingate. While researching the mysterious businessman, Dickens uncovers a horrific story of corruption and violence, centered on a mutilated prostitute and the murder of her lover. Dickens's investigation could wreak havoc on Wingate and, more importantly, his beautiful wife Amanda. Dickens, already betrothed to his publisher's daughter, realizes just how loveless his future marriage will be as he falls in love with Amanda--even as his story threatens to ruin the Wingates"--Provided by publisher.
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England, 1870: His health failing, his most important work all but done, Charles Dickens is readying for the final bed. But there is one more story that he must tell.

The Final Recollections of Charles Dickens blends a historically-accurate telling of Dickens's life with a gripping portrait of betrayal, murder, corruption, obsession, and love. It's the story of Dickens's coming of age, caught between the worlds of England's ruling elite and the seamy underside of London society. The novel captures a full range of Dickensian characters: Dickens; the hauntingly beautiful Amanda Wingate; Geoffrey Wingate, Amanda's scheming financial-swindler husband; and Florence Spriggs, a mutilated prostitute whose once-lovely face has been carved into a mask of horror.

Meticulously researched and masterfully told, The Final Recollections of Charles Dickens captures the voice of the beloved author, the divided city of London, and the uncertain tenor of the times.

Author Notes

Thomas Hauser is the author of forty-seven books on subjects ranging from professional boxing to Beethoven. His first novel Missing was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize, and the National Book Award, and was the basis for the Academy-Award-winning film starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek. He wrote Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times - the definitive biography of the most famous man on earth - which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Hauser has written extensively about the sport and business of professional boxing and has published articles in in The New Yorker, The New York Times , and other publications. He is currently a consultant to HBO and lives in Manhattan.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Before Charles Dickens became a famous British novelist he was a struggling London journalist, inspired by the poverty, disease, hunger, and despair of the city's lower classes, and exposed to the arrogance and indifference of the rich. This beautifully crafted historical novel by the prolific Hauser (Waiting for Carver Boyd) is a fictional autobiography of Dickens. Speaking from 1870 when his health is failing, he recounts his miserable childhood, early writing career, loveless marriage, and later fame. The core of the story, however, focuses on the year 1836, when he is introduced by his editor, George Hogarth, to a wealthy financier, Geoffrey Wingate. With Hogarth's blessing, Wingate encourages Dickens to write about him and his investment business in the Evening Chronicle, for the dual purpose of attracting readers and advancing Wingate's business interests. Wingate is hoping to use the young, naive journalist to lure rich clients. Dickens's initial inquiries reveal much about Wingate's business, including a rumor that he once killed a man. Intrigued, Dickens investigates further, uncovering cold-blooded murder and mutilation, as well as London's seamy underworld of prostitution and the kept women of aristocrats. Dickens takes his suspicions of Wingate's crimes to the police, only to find rampant corruption. But he does find an honest policeman in Inspector Ellsworth of the Metropolitan Police Force, a man of integrity and grit who believes Dickens, and the two men work tirelessly to unmask a clever swindler and vicious killer. Complications arise when Dickens falls hopelessly in love with Amanda, Wingate's wife-their unfulfilled love affair haunts Dickens for the rest of his life. Hauser delivers a crisp, colorful narrative with vivid pictures of London's rich and poor, as well as a suspenseful, perilous drama in the style of Dickens. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Hauser (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his nonfiction works Missing and Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times) channels the great English novelist in his new novel. In 1870, in poor health and at the end of his writing career, Charles Dickens still has one more story to tell. And what a story it is-fit for the plot of a classic Dickens composition. In his youth, just as Sketches by Boz was earning him attention, the Victorian author meets the powerful and wealthy Charles Wingate. Researching Wingate for his column, Dickens unearths an appalling incident from the successful businessman's past, involving a mutilated prostitute and murder. Revealing Wingate's unsavory deeds could destroy the man's position in society, but, more important to Dickens, the truth could also destroy Wingate's beautiful wife, Amanda, with whom he has fallen in love despite his engagement to his publisher's daughter. VERDICT Hauser's mastery of Dickensian language and dramatic flair creates engaging historical fiction, and his depiction of Dickens's social philosophy of championing the poor will resonate with contemporary readers who are concerned about income inequality. Fans of the 19th-century author or of well-researched historical fiction will savor this work.-Barbara Clark-Greene, Groton P.L., CT (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



"As I travel the circle of my life near to its completion, I remember a time when my faults were not yet confirmed; when I was young and more idealistic than I am today; when my step was lighter and my hair not so gray. I write now of that time. For many of my days, I have been the most public of men. Yet I have kept the most important chapter of my life private and hidden from view. I write now with the wisdom of a life fully lived and with the honesty of one who senses that the grave is near. I write so that, when I pass from this world, the events and people that I am about to describe shall be remembered forever." Excerpted from The Final Recollections of Charles Dickens by Thomas Hauser All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.