From a bitter and poverty-stricken childhood to a career as the most acclaimed and best loved writer in the English-speaking world, Charles Dickens had a life as full of incident as any of those he created in his novels of life in Victorian England. His well-documented life - the enormous quantity of work, his public readings and his difficult relationships - has always made fascinating reading. We see Charles Dickens as his contemporaries would have done and get to know him more intimately than ever before. At the same time Smiley offers interpretations of almost all of Dickens' major works, showing how 'his novels shaped his life as much as his life shaped his novels'.
Jane Smiley is the author of nine novels including Moo, The Age of Grief, Horse Heaven and A Thousand Acres (which won the Pulitzer Prize). She lives in Northern California.