It was after the publication of Dombey and Son that the literary reputation of Charles Dickens as a world-class writer was finally and irrevocably established. And what had served to stimulate this unparalleled imaginative genius was the very city he lived in: London. Dickens routinely walked anywhere from 10 to 20 miles every day through the narrow, winding streets of the great city on the Thames. And what a city! London in the mid-19th century was easily the largest, most spectacular metropolitan area in the world. By Dickens' day there were four million souls living there.
The novel centers around Mr. Dombey, a wealthy merchant who struggles to cope with the death of his wife and the care of his infant son as the story opens. He hires a nurse to bring up little Paul. Meanwhile, other new characters are brought into the story, including Captain Cuttle, Sol Gills, and Walter Gay.
As their lives come into contact with the Dombey household, complications arise. When Dombey discovers that Walter, a lowly clerk in his office, is infatuated with his daughter, Florence, he sends him to the West Indies to prevent any possibility of a romance developing, and, with the disappearance of the lad in a storm, his purpose is apparently fulfilled. But destiny deals Mr. Dombey a fatal blow in his quest to glorify the firm Dombey & Son. The rest of the novel deals with Dombey's reaction to his unforeseen tragedy.
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Loved the story, not so keen on the reader