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A Tale of Two Cities (Clothbound Classics) Hardcover – 2 Jun 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (2 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141196904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141196909
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 14.5 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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82 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 July 2007
Format: Paperback
I will never, the rest of my life forget these two sentences. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...." and at closing "It is a far, far, better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."

Wow, this is not your usual Dickens. No quirky characters with strange names and laugh out loud moments, just a darn good story -- the story of two cities, London and Paris. It is difficult to put the plot into words, but when the book begins you are in London at the time of the American revolution and spies (or suspected spies) abound, and the story eventually switches to France prior to and during the French revolution.

Dickens does a marvelous job (as always) of building his story one step at a time and slowly peeling back the layers one at a time. This is not a put down and pick it up a week later kind of a book, it is very intense and complicated and you have to pay close attention. I was just floored at how he sucked me in with his descriptions of the mobs, terror and the madness of the revolution leading you to a nail biting finish. I admit to holding my breath during those last few pages!

Highly recommended, and well worth the time to discover (or rediscover) an old classic.
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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE on 27 April 2005
Format: Paperback
The period from 1775 - the outbreak of the American Revolution - to 1789 - the storming of the Bastille - is the turbulent setting of this uncharacteristic Dickens novel. It is his only novel that lacks comic relief, is one of only two that are not set in nineteenth-century England and is also unusual in lacking a primary central character. London and Paris are the real protagonists in this tale, much as the cathedral was the 'hero' of Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris. Dickens was writing at a time of great turmoil in his personal life, having just separated from his wife, and no doubt the revolutionary theme was in tune with his mental state.
The result is a complex, involving plot with some of the best narrative writing to be found anywhere, and the recreation of revolutionary Paris is very convincing. The device of having two characters that look identical may seem hackneyed to modern readers, but it is here employed with greater plausibility than in Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson or Collins's The Woman in White.
Dickens was inspired to write this story by reading Carlyle's newly published history of the French Revolution. Those events and their aftermath stood in relation to their time much as World Wars I and II do to ours, that is, fading from living memory into history, yet their legacy still very much with us. In many nineteenth-century novels, especially Russian and British works, you get a sense of unease among the aristocracy that the revolution will spread to their own back yard. In the case of Russia, of course, it eventually did.
I have often recommended A Tale of Two Cities as a good introduction to Dickens for younger readers. This is based on my own experiences, because it was a set book in my English Literature class when I was 15 and I remember thoroughly enjoying it. Yes, it is challenging, with its somewhat archaic language and its slow development, but you cannot progress to an enjoyment of great literature without being challenged.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Oct 2001
Format: Paperback
In most of his novels, Charles Dickens sticks to one central theme - love. "A Tale of Two Cities" faithfully adheers to this principle, yet, as with every Dickens book, retains a certain individuality and freshness.
The story is perhaps a little slow to start, but that matters little. Not only is it difficult to stop reading the novel after a while, given the many little mysteries Dickens hints at throughout, but it is next to impossible not to be absorbed into the lives of the central characters and feel a certain closeness to them. It also notable that the devoted love displayed by so many of the novels cast does not seem at all implausable or out of place, despite the cold and uncaring backdrop used - the French Revolution
"A Tale Of Two Cities" leaves you feeling both thourghly happy and extremely sad, such is the skill with which Charles Dickens - beyond any doubt a master of his craft - tells this moving tale.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Ian Gillibrand on 20 Nov 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review will not focus on plot specifics or characters, which have been described very well earlier, but on what Dickens can offer a modern reader.

Well thanks to the free/low priced classics available on my new Kindle I have been tempted at last to try a Dickens.
As a voracious reader of modern British and foreign novels I had nonetheless been intimidated to an extent at the thought of reading Dickens and could not have been more wrong.

As a description of the "madness of crowds" during the French Revolution, whilst at the same time bringing the back stories of the individuals caught up in the events into focus.

As well as the famous first chapeter and the last which I found incredibly moving the whole book revealed the brilliance of Dickens' writing in both and observational and stylistic sense.There is humour and cynicism in the book as well as the developing drama around the main characters and i would heartily recommend this book to anyone (like myself) who was uncertain as to whether Dickens could still be enjoyable or relevant today.
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