Fall 2022: Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

Sep. 25, Oct. 23, Nov. 27, and Jan. 22 at 1:00-3:00 PM (PDT) | Virtual Event


Charles Dickens published Our Mutual Friend in twenty monthly parts from May 1864 to November 1865. It was the fourteenth and final novel in his vast corpus of novels, only to be followed by The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870), which remained unfinished at the time of his death.

Murder, Money, Marriage, and Mounds... of dust, of human refuse, of cultural debris, of industrial by-production. These are the grand themes and objects this novel's world spawns, with such horrible inevitability you will think its Thames river-mud could foster spontaneous generation. For the world of Our Mutual Friend is a dirtied and cynical place. Here, even literacy and education–the "power of knowledge" that give heart and decency to Pip and Biddy in Great Expectations–may become, in the wrong hands, mechanical instruments for self-aggrandizement. And the good may need all the wiles of the bad to manufacture a happy ending. 

Join Professor Karen Hattaway (San Jacinto College) for a series of discussions about the book that stunned Conrad and Dostoevsky.


Reading Schedule

Our Mutual Friend reading schedule
Sep. 25 Book the First: The Cup and the Lip
Chapters 1-17, Parts I-V
Oct. 23 Book the Second: Birds of a Feather
Chapters 1-16, Parts VI-X
Nov. 27 Book the Third: A Long Lane
Chapters 1-17, Parts XI-XV
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Jan. 22 Book the Fourth: A Turning
Chapters 1-16, Parts XVI-XX
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Our Mutual Friend Resources


Recommended Edition: We recommend the Penguin Classics edition of the novel, but other versions are fine. Download the novel to read at Gutenburg.org or to listen at LibriVox.org.

The Santa Cruz Pickwick (Book) Club, a branch of the Dickens Fellowship, is a community of local bookworms, students, and teachers who meet monthly to discuss a nineteenth-century novel. The Santa Cruz Public Libraries provide support for the reading group.