Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Review of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Name of book: A Tale of two cities

Author Name: Charles Dickens

ISBN: 0-451-51076-3

Publisher: Signet

Type of book: Young adult to Adult, French revolution, 18th century, France

Year it was published: 1859 original. Version I have 1960


The storming of the Bastille...the death carts with their doomed human cargo...the swift drop of the guillotine blade-this is the French revolution that Charles Dickens vividly captures in his famous work, A Tale of Two Cities. With dramatic eloquence, he brings to life a time of terror and treason, a starving people rising in frenzy and hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent regime. With insight and compassion, he casts his novel of unforgettable scenes with unforgettable characters: the sinister Madame Defarge, knitting her patterns of death; the gentle Lucie Manette, unswerving in her devotion to her broken father; the heroic Sydney Carton, who gives  his life for the love of a girl who would never be his.


Very one dimensional characters that one cannot relate to. One minute there's a chapter about them but in the next minute they disappear. It's a confusing book, not only because of the constant switching of cities, but also because of the time jumps. (Dickens does explain some things in there at the end, but still...) While reading this book, I was never allowed to see the inner souls of the characters in a great depth. I get attached to one character, but all of a sudden I get moved on to another.


Umm, there's a theme in this book? I don't know what theme there is. In order to have stability and avoid revolution be sure to have an upper middle class?


He writes in a third person narrative but has too many characters and goes way overboard in metaphors and descriptions and tends to repeat himself a lot. And I do mean a lot. Yes, I do mean a whole lot. Despite the 300+ pages of characters, I cannot relate or attach myself to any of them. How indeed is Lucie a golden thread that holds everyone together? And again, why are blond women good but brunnetes aren't good? And why is Dickens painting these peasants so negatively? Especially women who want a brighter future for their children and are willing to do anything for it? How is Madame Defarge evil? Just because she wanted to destroy holier than thou Lucie and her family?

Author Information:

Charles Dickens was born on February 7th, 1812 in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in his Gads Hill home in Kent on Jun 9th, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not onyl hunger and privation-but also the horror of the infamous debtors' prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and "slave" factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years' formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney's clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, characteristically while still engaged in a multitude of work.


The only reason I started to read this book was because I thought that someone I liked also read it. No, the person hadn't. This book is not genius and either you hate it or love it but nothing in between. The best way I can think of saying it is that it's modern art:

Andy Warhol, pictures of Marilyn Monroe
VS traditional art (Romanticism in this case.)

Sorry have no idea who painted it or the name of the painting. 
Thus, I fall into the type that prefers traditional art rather than modern art. The 0 out of 5 is simply my opinion for people who prefer tradition over modernity. While there were glimmers of promise in this book, I found it to be a mess and if it weren't for wikipedia entry, ironically, I would never have understood what the story was. I read it, and at last I can say that I tried reading Charles Dickens but failed to like him.

0 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...