Title: Tale of Two Cities
Author: Charles Dickens
Year I read it: 2004, 2006
One sentence summary: The classic novel of the French Revolution; of doppelgangers; of family devotion, betrayal, and shame; and of the relation of two cities: London and Paris.
Interesting fact: Dickens's only historical fiction novel.
Three reasons to read it:
- If you, like me, think Dickens is a bit heavy-handed in his symbolism and caricatures and length, etc... Let me assure you, this book is better than most. [It's like Spielberg's Lincoln - he seems to have stepped back enough to let the characters breathe and fill the space he's created.]
- Sydney Carton. No, I'm not
justfangirling. I may have a thing for complex, quasi-scoundrelly protagonists. But it's not just that. Sydney is genuinely amazing. He's brilliant creation and he makes the rest of this story work.
- This is one of those books that you have to trust that the author is weaving a web of plots and that they will somehow connect in the end. Dickens does a fabulous job of bringing all his threads together for a spectacular climax - no loose ends, no characters wasted.
One reason you maybe shouldn't:
- Being that it's Dickens, there are still (in my opinion) the issue of the weak-or-evil-female conundrum.
“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
“I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul.”
"Oh, you will let me hold your brave hand, stranger?""Hush! Yes, my poor sister; to the last.”