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A Tale of Two Cities (Vintage Dickens) [Paperback]

Charles Dickens
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
RRP: £5.99
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Book Description

4 Sep 2008 Vintage Dickens
Lucie Manette has been separated from her father for eighteen years while he languished in Paris's most feared prison, the Bastille. Finally reunited, the Manettes' fortunes become inextricably intertwined with those of two men, the heroic aristocrat Darnay and the dissolute lawyer Carton. Their story, which encompasses violence, revenge, love and redemption, is grippingly played out against the backdrop of the terrifying brutality of the French Revolution.

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A Tale of Two Cities (Vintage Dickens) + Great Expectations (Penguin English Library) + Oliver Twist (Penguin English Library)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; Reprint edition (4 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099511851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099511854
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 761,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"It is really one of his best. There are passages so spattered with violence and blood that you look out for the red blotches on the page in front of you...brilliantly plotted" (A.N. Wilson Daily Telegraph)

"Dickens's story of love, espionage and Anglo-French relations" (Scotsman)

"When I was very much younger I used to think that A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens was the most wonderful book in all the world. I was particularly moved by Sydney Carton dying in the place of Charles Evremonde and thought this was a wonderful act but, in fact, of course in later years if you read it, it becomes an incredibly selfish act" (Anne Widdecombe Independent)

"Dickens writes about Parisian and London society with such grittiness and truth, you become immersed" (Anne Charleston (Madge from Neighbours!!))

"Dickens's magnificent account of the revolution and one of his best (and shortest) novels" (Observer)

Book Description

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...'

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Turbulent times in London and Paris 27 April 2005
By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible! 14 Oct 2001
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Kindle. 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Lovely edition
Published 25 days ago by Eclecticrajistani
5.0 out of 5 stars Great novel!
The story was totally absorbing,good characterization,a social history of the rebellious times in France. Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. J. Harding
5.0 out of 5 stars Great audiobook
Not be faulted. A wonderful story, told in a wonderful way, and reasonably priced as well. Great for long journeys and a perfect introduction to Dickens.
Published 3 months ago by LadyJaguar
5.0 out of 5 stars An audiobook triumph!
I read A Tale of Two Cities for the first and last time at at school, far too long ago to have remembered more than the barest outline of the story. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Em
5.0 out of 5 stars Indescribable and unforgettable
In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens has written one of the most unforgettable books of the history of literature. Read more
Published 6 months ago by A. Harsono
5.0 out of 5 stars To my shame I have only ever read one of his books and this is the one
As is probably true of many people, I am familiar with Dickens' work and have seen countless of his books dramatised on TV and in films. Read more
Published 10 months ago by subject2status
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of two cities - Dickens
Charles Dickens said this was his best work, and I agree. He must have done a lot of historical research, and just one hundred years after the events he writes about - the French... Read more
Published 10 months ago by H O'Reilley
5.0 out of 5 stars classy classic
Loved this and so nice to see it with the original illustrations which really are nice looking. A rip roaring adventure and one of my fave dickens so far.
Published 13 months ago by Jim..
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Charles Dickens
I love the book. It is my favourite Charles Dickens and is an excellent commentary on the French Revolution. I have read it many, many times.
Published 14 months ago by bri
5.0 out of 5 stars My only Charles Dickens read-up to now.
How to describe it- Classic historical story . It has everything you could want, the French revolution, romance and the je ne sais quoi of the period
Published 14 months ago by dennis hutchinson
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