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A Tale Of Two Cities (Everyman's Library Classics) Hardcover – 18 Mar 1993
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This is an historical romance which takes place in Paris and London during the French Revolution. It is also a powerful study of crowd psychology and the dark emotions aroused by the Revolution.
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A must read classic novel but consider other Charles Dickens novels too.
If you haven't come across this novel before, it's the one that famously begins: 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times'. Yes, there's your small fact for a pub quiz. Set in the time of eighteenth century London and France, there is a lot of history as Dickens describes the bloodied and violent streets of Paris. With the guillotine ominously hanging over society, (pun definitely intended!), many innocent civilians are somewhat slaughtered as the spies close in. There's a fair bit of fighting in this novel, a lot of chat and even more description. Lacking the humour of say, Austin, Dickens grimly portrays a social mess that I found confusing and difficult to properly appreciate. In honesty, it was the final part of the novel that I enjoyed the most and one where I really understood what was going on!
There are plenty of classic novels out there and a range of Dickens to encounter. I won't read this again; I am glad I did but would try a different one to see if I enjoyed it more.
I am reviewing the DVD with Gillian Anderson, Charles Dance, etc - STELLAR! Cast, costumes, sets, script - everything - captured the essence of the novel amazingly well. I am still ploughing through the novel, mind you, but so far it is a faithful adaptation with only very minor changes which did not affect the story at all.
I found the characters in many cases well rounded and enjoyable, indeed I’d say I found many more deep and engaging than, somewhat saccharin Nicholas himself (I’m think Ralph, Newman Noggs and John Browdie). The occasionally funny Dickensian turn of phrase equally entertaining. I’d recommend getting a version with a character list and the original illustrations. It is a very, very long book, which although written in bite sized chapters, I think requires that the reader keeps to a sustained reading pace otherwise risking it becoming, even for me in places, lacking drive and focus. For me one for the better Dickens, helped by me not actually knowing the, usefully uncomplicated story at all.
I downloaded this on Kindle because it was a freebie and I had often wondered about the story. I accept without question that Charles Dickens is the master of characterisation. The books of his that I have read have always been stories of wonderful and colourful characters. This story was no exception. It was dynamic and gripping. I knew the character that would say the famous last lines straight away. As soon as the person began to paint his profile for the reader I knew. Everything about this story was wonderful. People of all social persuasions come together. The rogues were splendid too. One could understand their dissatisfaction and how their ways had been tempered.
Everything built to a dynamic climax as the Reign of Terror is engulfing France. The guillotine is working overtime as the French Revolution is enforcing the genocide of the entire nation’s aristocracy. I can’t recommend the book highly enough. I have not read something that gave me an adrenalin rush like this for a long time. Brilliant!