Fiction/Classic/Historical, first published serially in All the Year Round in 1859
Penguin Classics, trade pb, 529 p.
Charles Dickens on the Literature Network
After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the aging Dr Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil lanes of London, they are all drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror and soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.What does one say about a classic such as this? It did take me quite a long time to get through but that wasn’t because I wasn’t enjoying it. I was, but life interfered a bit, and I do have to admit that I needed to concentrate more on Dickens' dense prose and turns of phrase than I would on a contemporary novel. This meant that it was sometimes hard to read much at night in bed when I was already tired, and since that is where I do most of my reading, it was slow going at times. It was worth it though because Dickens is a master storyteller, and several times in this rather tragic story, he had me chuckling over some description or his way with words. Plus he certainly does create memorable characters and scenes.
As I mentioned before, I was a bit disappointed that the endnotes contained spoilers about the ending but it was still a very good read. I’ve not read much on the French Revolution so the historical aspect was also very interesting. I even learned a couple new words (see below). All in all it was a bit of work, but I’m glad to have finally read it and I look forward to reading more by Dickens in the future. The other two works by Dickens that I’ve read are A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations. Any suggestions for which one I should tackle next?
1. a shield or shieldlike surface on which a coat of arms is depicted.
2. an ornamental or protective plate around a keyhole, door handle, drawer pull, light switch, etc.
3. Nautical. a panel on the stern of a vessel bearing its name and port of registry.
4. blot on one's escutcheon, a stain on one's reputation; disgrace.
–verb (used without object), -sat·ed, -sat·ing.
1. to change repeatedly one's attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate.
2. to turn renegade.
My Rating: 4/5
(#5 for 2008, My Year of Reading Dangerously #1)