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A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
by Charles Dickens
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I should have read this classic by Charles Dickens sooner, but I finally made time for it. Old English is hard to read, and sometimes I had to ponder the meaning. Still, Dickens had an excellent understanding of human nature and how to portray unforgettable characters. The revolution in eighteenth-century France was bloody when peasants turned on the ruling class and each other. Dr. Manette and his daughter Lucie are caught in the melee when they travel from England to France to save Lucie's husband, Charles Darnay, from the guillotine. However, Darnay only escapes after another's ultimate sacrifice. It was worth the time invested. ( )
Read the book, watched several performances, and decided to try as an audiobook. It was still wonderful. Great narration.
FROM AMAZON: From the echo of the first line ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ to the final ‘It is a far far better thing that I do than I have ever done’, Dickens’ classic novel of the French revolution tells a story of the redemptive powers of love in the face of cruelty, violence and neglect.
Set in London and Paris, it shows the plight of the French people under the brutal oppression of the aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, and the corresponding savage brutality of the revolutionaries towards the former aristocrats in the years immediately following. Among the memorable characters are Charles Darnay, a French former aristocrat who falls victim to the indiscriminate wrath of the revolution, and Sydney Carton, a dissipated English barrister who tries to redeem his ill-spent life out of love for Darnay’s wife, Lucie Manette. In this moving, intricate tale spanning eight tumultuous years, Dickens orchestrates the wider political picture behind the story of Lucie, Darnay and Carton with his customary brilliance.
Read many years ago, watched many productions of this classic book, but was amazed how great this book is.
FROM AMAZON: A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a historical novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The novel tells the story of the French Doctor Manette, his 18-year-long imprisonment in the Bastille in Paris and his release to live in London with his daughter Lucie, whom he had never met. The story is set against the conditions that led up to the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.
Se me hizo un mamotreto difícil de terminar, la grandilocuencia de esta novela termina siendo irritante, en mi opinión.
I highlighted like crazy (on my kindle-don't worry) while I was reading this. So many great lines and paragraphs that I wanted to go back to and read again. I can't list all of them, but I'll include a few. I like the sarcasm of this one:
...and being a responsible jury...must positively find the prisoner Guilty, and make an end of him, whether they liked it or not. That, they never could lay their heads upon their pillows; that, they could never tolerate the idea of their wives laying their heads upon their pillows; that, they could never endure the notion of their children laying their heads upon their pillows; in short, that there never more could be, for them or theirs, any laying of heads upon pillows at all, unless the prisoner's head was taken off.
I like the wrenching description in this one:
Sadly, sadly, the sun rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.
And I like Mr. Lorry's description of memory and growing old, when Carton asks him if his childhood seems far off:
Twenty years back, yes; at this time of my life, no. For, as I draw closer and closer to the end, I travel in a circle, nearer and nearer to the beginning. It seems to be one of the kind smoothings and preparings of the way. My heart is touched now, by many remembrances that had long fallen asleep, of my pretty young mother (and I so old), and by many associations of the days when what we call the World was not so real with me, and my faults were not confirmed in me.
Besides the quotes that just rang true to me, I loved the dialogue, especially if it involved Sydney Carton.
And the overwrought conversation between Mr. Cruncher and Miss Pross at the end is something I could read over and over and laugh every time.
I think the weaker part of the book, and maybe it was intentional, was the uneven amount of characterization for the leads. I didn't feel like I knew much more about Lucy than that she was sweet and kind; I didn't know much about her father except that he had serious PTSD; and Charles Darnay, who everyone's concerned about and whose life is saved not once but twice... I knew the least about that guy. We get the most characterization for Sydney Carton, the guy who despises himself, wastes most of his life and is miserable until
And there were some dull bits, especially at the beginning. If you're tempted to give up on it early on, I encourage you to wait until the first trial to decide. I was glad I stuck with it.
I thought Dickens did a nice job (Good job, Charles Dickens. I'm sure he would appreciate my pat on the back) of presenting the seeds of the revolution and developing sympathy for the oppressed and then contrasting that with the extremes the revolutionaries went to for vengeance, embodied in Madame DeFarge and her cronies.
Overall, I thought it was a thought-provoking book, and well worth my time.
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Oliver Twist / A Christmas Carol / David Copperfield / A Tale of Two Cities / Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations / Hard Times / Oliver Twist / A Christmas Carol / Bleak House / A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Shorter Novels of Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist / Hard Times / A Tale of Two Cities / Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
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Relates the adventures of a young Englishman who gives his life during the French Revolution to save the husband of the woman he loves.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.8Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Victorian period 1837-1900
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5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.
Editions: 0141439602, 0141031743, 0141325542, 0141196904, 0141199709
An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.
An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.
An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.