The New York Times ran a review late last week of Stephen Jarvis's novel on the creation of Pickwick. Reviewer Michael Upchurch writes:
"Jarvis echoes Dickens’s own narrative strategies by packing 'Death and Mr. Pickwick' with numerous digressions, flashbacks and tales within tales (many of them recastings of episodes found in 'The Pickwick Papers'). But Jarvis’s approach to digression is often more suffocatingly mechanical than zestily harebrained. Immediately upon being introduced, his characters, however minor, have their backgrounds explained. Most of these plodding flashbacks bring the central story to a halt."
I'm not yet to the halfway point of Death and Mr. Pickwick, so I'm not ready to write my own review. I will say only that so far, Upchurch's impressions strike me as pretty accurate.