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I read this book over a period of five weeks for school, and it made me really appreciate the story. The way Dickens sets up the plot and characters make you really feel for them. It is a beautiful love story that really depicts the horror that people can do when they've been oppressed. But the Unsympathetic English towards the Suffering French did throw me off a little, but it is a wonderful story and I can see why it's considered a classic novel.
I had no idea how many "famous" and oft used quotes were from this book. I really enjoyed it even though book was a bit of a plod to get through.
I read this on an international flight once, and I found it quite beautiful.
Exciting and sad. I have ready this a few times and loved it every time.
The best novel written by Dickens. It is a love story and history lesson, which forces you to ask "what would I do in similar circumstances".
I enjoy reading this book when I want to immerse myself in the English language. Dickens' prose is beautifully laid out and captivating. However, I find I cannot enjoy this particular book without giving it my undivided attention so I can soak in the author's decriptors in order to fully understand the characters and various settings.
I love reading Dickens, but I did not love reading this book. I doubt that it’s in the curriculum any more, but I can understand a blogger who recently wrote that he avoided Dickens for years after being forced to read it. True, it opens and closes on two of the most memorable, and quoted, sentences in English fiction, and it contains some stirring scenes. There’s also a satirical tone in many places, comparing the grandiose pretensions of the English nobility with the imperiousness of the French. The tone initially suggests some of Dickens’ usual humour, but it is far more bitter than usual with Dickens. This turns into the deep pathos of a broken man and his daughter, to be followed by the triumph of love (both familial and romantic), reversal and finally rescue and transcendence. The transcendence is big here.
But it’s a general humourlessness and shallowness that makes the book hard to read for me. Dombey and Sons, the last Dickens novel I read, was perhaps equally somber in tone, but it had sympathetic characters and psychological depth. In Two Cities, the only sympathetic character is old Dr. Manette, wrongly imprisoned in the Bastille for 16 years and psychologically fragile when released. His friend, the banker Mr. Lorry, is surprisingly sympathetic as well, although a side character to the central events of the story. The other lead characters are so thinly drawn that they have no real presence. Lucie Manette is a typical Dickens heroine, devoting her whole life first to her father, then to her husband. Charles has apparently renounced his French title in disgust, but we know little about him beyond his nobility of character and courage. Both are idealized stereotypes that I never felt any connection to, so when they first find happiness, then tragedy, I found myself wishing they’d just get on with it and bring the story to its end.
Even the minor characters, usually so interesting in Dickens, hold little interest. Jerry Cruncher and his young son seem to be there only to entertain the English working class readers, but they add nothing to the storyline. The French nobles seem to be deliberately drawn as indistinguishable archetypes, while the French revolutionaries are so exaggerated that they are more like scary nineteenth-century cartoons than even Dickens’ usual figures. Dickens, while acknowledging their oppression, portrays the residents of the countryside, and particularly the St Antoine district of Paris, as terrifyingly out of control, insane and diseased. This contrasts starkly with the orderliness of Lorry’s good English business sense, and the common sense of Miss Pross, Lucie’s nursemaid and friend.
Was this because Dickens’ abhorrence and fear of the French revolutions, writing just 10 years after the wide-spread upheavals of 1848, drove him to choose to demonize everything about it? The novel seems to be as much a propaganda piece against working-class revolution, and in support of British stability, as it is a paean to true love and noble virtue. Unfortunately, this thought makes me suspect many of Dickens’ other popular works. Dickens is known for his depictions of the oppressed and impoverished life of the English working class, and this is reflected here in his many references to the extreme poverty and privation of the French peasants and labourers. But the reaction that he depicts in France is so ignorant and brutal, and unbalanced, that it appears to be a warning to English readers not to do anything rash in trying to overcome the conditions he depicts in England. The novel comes across as profoundly conservative and reactionary, and makes me wonder about his actual political leanings (particularly after becoming a wealthy property owner himself). Perhaps the most charitable reading of the novel is as a warning to the English upper classes to avoid oppressing the working class so much that they have no alternative but revolution.
-its 1st page is so amazing that I have to make it a top classic
-it is amazing how society has remained the same in so many aspects throughout time
-felt that Dickens can tell a love story but for some reason the romance will never be completely gripping to the reader as opposed to the rest of the book
-it was a great classic that left me wanting to discuss it with people around me just so they could know how amazing what I read just was.
The story was one of bravery and love. Though a bit slow at first with backstory, it was hard to put it down the 2nd half!
No wills of war can be more cruel than those of the victors. This is revealed quite clearly in Dickens' classic Tale.
"Who kissed La Guillotine, looked through the little window and sneezed into the sack. It was the sign of the regeneration of the human race. It superseded the Cross."
Have we become more civilized since the 18th century, or could we yet drive each other to such madness today? This is a moving, compelling read.
I felt the need to read it just because I loved the Infernal Devices, and Will so much. I can't decide if I love it to pieces or if I want to throw it into a blazing inferno
I read this book several times never get tired of it. Love it.
Two guys who look alike, but with different personalities fall in love with the same girl. And to save the one she loves life, one of those two gives up his life for the sake of her happiness.
As always, Dickens presents a challenging read, but once the reader makes it through the first few chapters of dry explanation, the book unfolds beautifully into a complex story of innocence, heroism, desperation and the human condition. It took me a while to adjust to Dickens' diction, but I greatly enjoyed the novel. I love especially the symbolism of blood and wine, and the characters stole my heart. I cried for a while after finishing the book--that's how deeply this novel affects its readers. A great story, with great underlying messages. If you enjoy classics of rich literary meaning, I urge you to read this book.
A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens is a venerated classic that I'm sure will forever stand the test of time as one of the all-time great novels. But I have to wonder, how many have actually read it? I labored through to about the halfway point before deciding it wasn't worth torturing myself over anymore. "It was the best of times..." This is one of the best opening lines you'll ever read. It's so powerful—and famous—that you can't help but sense you're at the precipice of something extraordinary. After that, get comfortable. An oblivion of rambling narration and unmemorable characters awaits. Maybe A Tale of Two Cities suffers from too great an expectation? (Sorry, couldn't resist.) I'll grant that I probably wasn't in the right state of mind, or that I didn't approach this particular work of Dickens' from the right vantage point, so perhaps I'll try again when I'm older and wiser. Until then, pass.
I was led here by Will in 'the infernal devices' (mortal instruments prequel series) because he quoted many lines and I was drawn into reading more.