Dickens: A Life
Viking, $39.95 hb, 574 pp, 9780670917679
Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist
by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
Harvard University Press (Inbooks), $39.95 hb, 389 pp, 9780674050037
This is how Claire Tomalin closes her Dickens biography: ‘He left a trail like a meteor, and everyone finds their own version of Charles Dickens’, followed by a long list of types. I consider Dickens the surrealist, or thesentimentalist, but then I pick Dickens the tireless walker. And I concede, with Tomalin, that regarding his life and work, ‘a great many questions hang in the air, unanswered and mostly unanswerable’.