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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
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...
Published on 27 April 2005 by Peter Reeve

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Unable to access audible part of book only reason for me to purchase .why make so difficult to get the spoken book that is stated as a free extra
Published 20 months ago by Jeff Pinnock


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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 (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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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82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most unforgettable opening and closing sentences ever found in a book!, 1 July 2007
By 
Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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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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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
By 
Mr. Ian Gillibrand "A dreamer" (Cornwall.UK) - See all my reviews
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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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Master Novel, 1 Nov 2003
This Dickens novel, as his others, is written in a delightfully clever way. It makes the historic tale, mostly of France, come alive through the rich character and situation description; it makes the historic tale become interesting by the wit (and ocassional sardonic pokes) with which it is told; it makes the historic tale come alive by enticing you to laugh, suffer and rejoice with the characters. As all good novels, the end reveals surprising twists in the tale that create a great climax. A true masterpiece...the word recommendable just isn't strong enough!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!, 1 Dec 2011
By 
Harry the book monkey (Citizen of the world) - See all my reviews
This is really an excellent book. If you are not too keen on picking up one of the more voluminous Dickens's tombs I would suggest this book without reservation. The opening contains one of the best know beginnings in English literature and although the first couple of chapters can be a little tiring because they are setting the scene, the rest of the book is quick paced. This is mainly due to the fact there are no lengthy descriptions of what people are like or what they are thinking, instead character are drawn from their actions, making for a concise an exciting story. Something I enjoyed was noticing how much the number two figures in the story. The title of course refers to two cities, but also certain scenes are acted out twice, for example Mr Lorry talks to Lucie in a particular way in book one and then the same particular way of speaking is again used in book two when Mr Lorry is speaking to Dr Manette. In more mundane examples are that Charles Darnay has two names and Jerry Cruncher has two jobs. It gave me much pleasure spotting instances of the number two whilst reading.

One particular thing to note about this penguin edition is the copious introduction, end notes and appendix. These are all very interesting and well worth reading, however if you have not read the book, or do not already know the story, avoid reading these as they give to much away and ruin the surprises and lessen the suspense for the reader. Unfortunately this is true of the end notes as well. although I enjoy reading end notes to help my understanding I would suggest attempting to read the novel without any reference to the notes, introduction and appendix if its your first time reading and perhaps refer to them only if you are re-reading. It will maximise your enjoyment if you do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars product only, 3 Oct 2010
By 
O. McGonagle (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There is no need to comment on the novel at this stage so I can offer my opinion that the production of the book is excellent, comfortable to handle and to read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 20 Nov 2006
By 
Room For A View - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
In my opinion Dickens is the master craftsman of English literature. The ultimate storyteller, he didn't just write these tales he, as we know, acted the parts as well. Dickens has the exceptional ability to conjure up a feast of colourful characters, served on platters of sublime emotional intensity and gorged on by generations of readers. A Tale of Two Cities is just such a banquet. Its opening sentence being one of the most well known in English literature which, for me, conveys what it means to be human: striving for a life of peaceful security and happiness, but occasionally tainted by uncontrollable forces of darkness. And Dicken's historical context (the butchery and appalling vengeance of the French Revolution) acts as a dramatic contrast to his themes of love, friendship and loyalty. Parisian chaos and the implied serenity of London provide a captivating medium for the story's principle protagonists and their interweaving lives: the undying love of a daughter for a lost father; Ancien Regime injustice and abuse; the ever present danger of arrest and incarceration; and, ultimately, heroic self sacrifice. The `twin town' setting provides a remarkable mix of urban texture, filtering through the narrative and providing the reader with moments of humour, humanity and respite (Tellson's Bank, Mr Cruncher, a quite corner in Soho) from the hatred of the mob and the menace of the Guillotine. As with the opening the last sentence is sure to remain in the mind of the reader for a long time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars classy classic, 18 Sep 2013
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, 18 Jun 2013
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"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."
Since reading these closing lines, this story has haunted me with its tragic tale of turbulent times and a man called Sydney Carton who, accepting his fate of being a broken man, lays down his life so that the woman he has loved for years could be with the man she loves.
The story had such a profound affect on me that I honestly don't think I can do this novel justice in words. The descriptions of the mob mentality, the sinister character of Mrs Defarge and the guillotine were so vivid I was left contemplating the human capacity for violence and revenge for a long time. At the same time, the story of the love that bound Lucie to many of the characters, Dr Manette, Charles Darnay, Mr Lorry, young Lucie and Sydney Carton gave a polar opposite impression of the human capacity to love so deeply and in so many different ways, whilst enduring times of suffering and uncertainty. Sydney Carton's sacrifice led to one of the most emotional and heart-rending closing chapters I have ever read. Despite awaiting the horrifying and tragic end which he has condemned himself to, he has an air of peaceful and almost grateful detachment and acceptance that he has been given a chance to redeem himself for his unsavoury existence.
The first few chapters start slow but I found myself drawn into the book and, before I knew it, I was woven into the characters lives and could not put it down. It does not have Dickens' usual humorous characters but this only goes on to highlight what a tragic and brutal time in history this was.
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A Tale of Two Cities (Cover to Cover)
A Tale of Two Cities (Cover to Cover) by Charles Dickens (Audio CD - 15 Mar 2011)
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