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It must be around thirty years since I read this book, which came towards the end of Dickens' career (followed only by Our Mutual Friend and Edwin Drood). For today's reader, the portrayal of the poor as either comic or villainous grates somewhat, redeemed a bit by Magwitch's personal history when we eventually find out about it; and few of the middle-class characters are very nice people either (particularly the women). It seems a somehow mean-spirited book, holding a slightly distorting mirror up to society without really digging into the wider causes of human misery. Wikipedia has the original ending, where it is clear that Pip has lost Estrella for ever, and that seems actually a rather more appropriate send-off than the revised version's reunion.

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